Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Some years ago, I had a flatmate who had decided she was a bit bohemian. A bit arty. A Free Spirit. 

The form these aspirations took were mainly the gathering of pine cones and leaves and other delightful detritus, which she then proceeded to scatter merrily across the coffee table, leaving to become dried out and dessicated; adding to the collection without ever getting rid of any of it. 

Reader, it was a right old pile of dirty-looking crap. 

Some friends came to visit, and seeing the table, offered to clean it up for me. I glumly explained that it was there intentionally, albeit not on my part. 

Ah, they said, sympathetically. 'Forest Murmurs'.

This (and I am getting to the point any second now), was an Alan Bennett reference, from a Talking Heads monologue. It's a small detail, about a church flower arrangement that consists of pine cones and ferns scattered 'artistically' on the altar. And somehow this detail was just this perfect reference that exactly summed up the situation.

I mention this not to be wilfully obscure, but to point out my deep admiration and envy for Alan Bennett and his turn of phrase, his ability to capture so much in a small word or phrase. It helps, I suppose, that I'm from a similar neck of the woods, and on many occasions wonder how he manages to write things that are exactly how my family talk. 

Which brings me to Enjoy, which I saw t'other night. 

I really liked it. 

It's set around an ageing married couple in 1980s Leeds and it's about the dangers of nostalgia and the horrors of family. And it's funny, and rude, and Orton-esque.

Towards the end, there was one of those moments you get, when theatre works, where everyone is still and hushed and you can hear a pin drop because there's just this sense of uncertainty, of what will happen next.

It was memorable and moving and all the acting was excellent, even the poor bit part people who really had very little to do. (I don't think you could get away with writing so many bit parts these days, btw. Far too expensive.)

As you can probably tell, I thought it was excellent, and much better than a very lacklustre History Boys I saw towards the end of its run last year (maybe the year before, memory not what it was.) 

Shall I finish on some kind of pun around the title of the play and it's appropriate nature for my experience of the production?

No. I won't.


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