A reviews round-up for Alan Bennett’s The Clothes They Stood Up In at the Nottingham Playhouse.
Adrian Scarborough (The Madness of George III, Leopoldstadt, Gavin and Stacey) adapts and stars in Bennett’s hilarious short story, full of Bennett’s trademark observational wit.
Co-starring Olivier Award winning actress Sophie Thompson (Detectorists, Sex Education, Present Laughter, Gosford Park, Eastenders, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), the play sees a night at the opera end with a shock for mild-mannered couple Maurice and Rosemary Ransome when they open their front door to discover their flat completely empty. From light bulbs to carpets to toilet paper, even their chicken casserole has been stolen.
The cast also stars Natasha Magigi as Lady / Dusty / Christine Thoseby / Cleo, Ned Costello as Constable / Croucher / Martin / Hanson and Charlie de Melo as Mr Anwar / Sarge / Nurse.
The creative team includes Director Adam Penford, Designer Robert Jones, Lighting Designer Aideen Malone, Composer and Sound Designer Jon Nicholls, Hair, Wigs and Make-Up Campbell Young Associates, Hair, Wigs and Make-Up Associate Helen Keane, Props Supervisor Ryan O’Conner, Casting Director Jane Anderson CDG and Voice and Dialect Coach Marianne Samuels.
The Clothes They Stood Up In runs at the Nottingham Playhouse until 1 October 2022.
There is no current news on whether The Clothes They Stood Up In will transfer to the West End.
More reviews to follow.
"Alan Bennett with delightful barbs"
"The humour is delicious, as you would expect, but there’s a streak of raw pain too. This finely wrought adaptation of Alan Bennett’s fable about a middle-aged couple whose Pooterish existence is suddenly upended provides more proof that it’s a mistake to think of our finest living writer being as reassuring as a nice cup of tea."
"Scarborough and co-star Sophie Thompson are excellent as the befuddled pair"
"There was a moment in the second half when I wondered if Scarborough hadn’t stretched the slender narrative too far. But the story actually does hold you until the end..."
"A loving take on Alan Bennett's novella about middle-class manners"
"This Nottingham Playhouse production is a hoot - even if it doesn't quite capture Bennett's wry beadiness"
"The author has given the project his blessing, and you can see why it would be thought to work a treat: a fair bit of droll, easily transferred, dialogue, a decent amount of incident, and a couple we can have a good old laugh at."
"Thompson could bestow less effort on her performance – her mode of boggle-eyed dottiness and plaintive peculiarity can grate. Scarborough, though, does just fine as the beetling old fusspot, with his sly penchant for “dirty” photographs. We left that world behind years ago, but perhaps at this strange hour of retrospect, it’s allowable."
"Adrian Scarborough adapts the Alan Bennett novella"
"The script is almost joyful, perhaps because it feels so familiar. Passages feature mundane every-day conversation, about trips to the high street and daytime television, but are relayed with killer timing. In its tender moments, it is revealing and poignant."
"To learn of a couple who own 12 trifle bowls when they openly admit to never hosting demonstrates that The Clothes They Stood Up In is both humorous and, in part, painfully sad."
"Skilled adaptation with plentiful laughs"
"Funny and thoughtful lesson in liberation from material possessions"
"Dealing with loss and change, and how we cope with starting again, sadly this play could hardly be more topical in the wake of the Covid crisis, the recent death of the Queen and a change of prime minister."
"Funny pair, quirky play... should be a perfect fit"
"Verdict: Second-hand Bennett"
"Still, even second-hand Bennett has its pleasures. For meek, repressed Rosemary, stooped and drooping before her time, the robbery proves liberating and revelatory, feelings somewhat hammered home by Thompson, suddenly all cheerful, jaw-dropping, eyes-popping wonder."
"Slightly effortful entertainment."
"Alan Bennett grapples with everyday horrors"
"Scarborough being perfect as this fussy, inadequate little martinet. Sophie Thompson overdoes things a little as the implausibly patient Rosemary, but her exaggeration matches the absurdity of the plot."
"This run in Nottingham may not be the end of the production."