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The Habit Of Art (Salford)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Habit Of Art, is a new play by beloved writer Alan Bennett, and it leaves you feeling proud to be British. Boasting a flawless script, wonderful set, and an exceptional cast, the production delves into the culture of art and the mind-blowing creativity of two exceptional English artists- W H Auden and Benjamin Britten. Albeit, without a cup of tea...

The play within a play narrative involves an imagined meeting between the two men, mixing serious issues, such as their professional and social desires, amongst a farcical portrayal of the National Theatre’s rehearsal process. It is raunchy, sad, hilarious and, in some respect, controversial. It is anything but boring.

The National Theatre is to drama what the English National is to dance- the crème de la crème of its form. The cast mould well together, displaying comfort and ease within their roles.

In particular, Malcolm Sinclair’s (Britten) scenes with Desmond Barrit (Auden) must be applauded, the juxtaposition between the two characters is seamless and faultless thanks to director, Nicholas Hyther.

However, despite it calming in the second half, Barrit does need to be more aware of his constant rolling of the ‘r’s’ and clipping sounds at the end of every sentence, to avoid audience irritation.

If you have been involved in art, particularly theatre, then you will relate to this play. There is something so satisfying about being able to say, ‘Yes! Been there, done that’ and this production offers numerous occasions to engage in such pleasure.

It’s not one to bring the children (or the prudish) to, but if you are in the habit of needing strong entertainment, then look no further than this fascinating piece of art.

- Rebecca Cohen.


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