Theatre I spent last night in the company of Liverpool University Drama Society's production of Alan Bennett's Habeas Corpus. Obviously a product of the younger man (written in 1973), not the older gentler person parodied on Radio 4's Dead Ringers ('I was sharing a crumpet with Thora Hurd...') Corpus is an old fashioned British sex comedy in which older men chase after younger women, older women chase after younger men and they all chase after each other.

This was a bare bones production carried along by some really great performances from a really strong ensemble cast playing characters sometimes thirty years older. Staggeringly they never resorted to parody or cliche creating some often touching moments in which Bennett's script shone through (for example in a moment when the mother of the object of a father and son's affections described her daughter's conception at in a doctor's surgery during the blitz; the cast crowded about her, some close than others her words and voice the focus, and the actress held the moment to such a degree that some of the audience (including me) sat on the edge of their seats as well). I've said it before and I'm going to re-iterate -- amateur shows done with talent and passion can be a lot more interesting and entertaining than the so-called professionals.

It brought to mind the time I was at the Albert Dock with my friend Chris. It was a wet, boring afternoon when we were at a loose end, and we had spent the daaay doing Beavis and Butthead impressions to passs the taame. We were passing by the Tate Gallery and who should turn around and look at us but Alan Bennett. He shook his head and carried on walking ...

I was on my way home on the bus after having my hair cut at the little place on School Lane in Liverpool (and the Alan Bennett impression stops here). I'd put my book and away and was making my way towards the door when I spotted one of the actresses from the production I'd seen the night before.
"Excuse me." I said twice.
She turned to look at me.
"We're you in Habeas Corpus last night?"
"Yes!" She said, quiet excited.
"I was there last night. It was very good."
She beamed at me, and waved as I got off the bus. For once I actually got to review something to the person's face.

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