Theatre Royal, Windsor – until 31st October 2020
Reviewed by Liberty Noke
The Lady In The Van is the mostly true story of playwright Alan Bennett allowing Mary Shepherd to park the van that she lived in on his driveway, and the unlikely friendship that ensues. After being moved on from several other houses on the street Bennett allows Shepherd to park there for 3 months but she remains there for 15 years.
This adaptation of one of Alan Bennett’s most famous plays was performed as a radio show with 7 actors seated in chairs on the stage each holding a script and stepping up to the microphone to speak their lines. Martin Carroll played the Foley Artist who provided sounds to the show including opening and closing the large yellow van that set the scene on the stage.
Jenny Seagrove’s performance as the eccentric Mary Shepherd was fantastic. She made a character who had been described as ‘smelling of urine’ who quite easily could have been unpleasant seem very charming and likeable.
As the play went along the audience became more endeared to her as did Alan Bennett played by David Horovitch and Matthew Cottle. It was lovely to watch their relationship develop on stage. Having 2 actors play Bennett, one who acted as the narrator and a second who played Alan Bennett in each scene, allowed for the audience to hear his inner thoughts and see him argue with himself at times.
This production was very entertaining and had the whole audience chuckling with its witty lines and quirky characters.