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— What were you in life?
— In life, as you put it, I was a schoolmaster.
The Beth, an old fashioned cradle-to-grave hospital serving a town on the edge of the Pennines, is threatened with closure as part of an NHS efficiency drive. As Dr Valentine and Sister Gilchrist attend to the patients, a documentary crew, eager to capture its fight for survival, follows the daily struggle to find beds on the Dusty Springfield Geriatric Ward. Meanwhile, the old people’s choir, in readiness for next week’s concert, is in full swing, augmented by the arrival of Mrs Maudsley, aka Pudsey Nightingale.
Alan Bennett’s Allelujah! opened at the Bridge Theatre, London, in July 2018.
With an introduction by Alan Bennett.
We are reminded anew of the singular mix of generosity and perversity that make Mr. Bennett one of the most original and invaluable of playwrights.
Patients' singalongs and Bennett's stinging wit light up a state-of-the-nation play set on a geriatric ward, a richly discursive play.
Part play, part revue: a sitcom really, but with serious intent
A play about our imperiled National Health Service that somehow leaves you bobbing on a wave of happiness. It's remarkable how Bennett's humour and faith in the decency of ordinary people manage to make this an ultimately high-spirited occasion.
Alan Bennett's hospital drama is just what the doctor ordered.
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