Alan Bennett's Talking Heads is back on television, with new actors tackling the familiar monologues, plus a couple of new ones. In preparation, I asked all senior acting pupils to watch and critique them since the monologue form is very exposing for an actor. There's nowhere to hide since everything is magnified; every nuance, pause, gesture etc is 'read' by the audience and so it demands a highly skilled actor to pull off convincingly. So how did they do? Who totally inhabited their role, and who missed the mark? As always, opinions varied, as evaluating acting can be subjective but the consensus was clear - outstanding ones were Martin Freeman, Harriet Walter and Lesley Manville. I've still to see some of the monologues but agree on the trio above , especially Walter and Manville. Some disappointment expressed at Jodie Comer, Lucian Msamati and Sarah Lancashire - a few struggles with sub-text , speech rhythms and authenticity in places. However, I'm looking forward to seeing the 'full set'. Overall though, it was a great treat to see these monologues back on telly , despite the inevitable comparisons with the original. Who can top Patricia Routledge in 'Lady of Letters'? Probably no one, despite Imelda Staunton's best efforts. No wonder we discourage the use of these monologues for auditions and exams !
So, what are your thoughts? Who was a hit and who was a miss, and why ? Looking forward to reading your views.