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By Alan Bennett
AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD
A QUESTION OF ATTRIBUTION
The measure of a good play is if you can’t stop talking about it afterwards. And we couldn’t - but in a good way.
I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of Alan Bennett, but this double bill of An Englishman Abroad and A Question of Attribution is simply quite superb as well as being thought provoking.
The first play depicts the life of Guy Burgess and the second that of Anthony Blunt, two members of the
notorious ‘Cambridge Five’ spy ring, who operated at the
heart of the British Establishment in the 1930s
# Quite simply Tony Feltham inhabits the role of Burgess. His mesmerising stage presence brought home the fact that reality didn’t measure up to his ideology.
Actress Coral Browne, played with consummate confidence by Jan Bursby, visits the spy in Moscow and finds that he is desperate for her to measure him up for a suit to be made in England.
There are cameo performances from Colin Pile as his Russian boyfriend Tolya, with David Pile as the tailor and Russ Guillaume as a shop assistant.
In the second play Richard Neal absolutely nails it as Anthony Blunt, the art historian and surveyor of the Queen’s pictures. The interchange with HM - Ann McColgan-Clark’s voice is just the right timbre - is fascinating as the riddle of the enigmatic painting is revealed.
Once again good support performances by Paul Dodman, James Bourner, Rob Cording-Cook and Tony Parkinson.
Tony Feltham and Richard Neal - both of whom had a huge amount of lines to remember - were impressive in their roles, a fact certainly appreciated by the audience on the last night.
Their next production is Murder on the Nile from 18th to 20th October.
Marily Barber, Stour and Avon Magazine
Photographs: Sam Moulton
Wimborne Drama Productions