Matthew Kelly and David Yelland star in THE HABIT OF ART at the Belgrade Theatre
Following a slew of four and five star reviews for performances in York, Brighton, Salisbury and Oxford, Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art comes to the Belgrade Theatre this November in a new production from Original Theatre Company.
Starring Matthew Kelly and David Yelland, this hugely acclaimed drama centres around an imagined meeting between the poet W H Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten during auditions for Britten's opera Death in Venice, hinting at a possible collaboration.
Written as a play-within-a-play, The Habit of Art sees Auden's and Britten's story unfolding as actors Fitz, Henry, Tim and Donald perform their own show, Caliban's Day. Exploring themes of friendship, rivalry, heartache and the emotional cost of creativity, it is filled with all the usual wit, warmth and wry humour that have made Alan Bennett such a treasured figure in British theatre.
After premiering at the National Theatre in 2009, the play now returns for its first ever revival under the direction of Philip Franks, with a cast including Veronica Roberts as stage manager Kay, Robert Mountford as playwright Neil, John Wark as Donald, Alexandra Guelff as assistant stage manager George, and Benjamin Chandler as Tim.
Matthew Kelly said: "What's wonderful about Bennett's play is not only have you got the finest composer of our time and the finest poet of our time, but you also, in my opinion, have the greatest playwright of our time... who's kind, accessible, very erudite and... gives a voice to the unregarded who don't usually have a voice."
David Yelland said: "It's about the creative process, about friendship - wonderful Bennett themes really. One of the things I love about his plays is not only that they are blissfully funny but are written by a man who, I feel, cares. Not necessarily in a hot-headed political way... but without wishing to be pretentious he has a lot of humanity."
Philip Franks said: "It allows you to take a serious subject and make it extremely funny because Alan Bennett is witty to the marrow of his bones. He can't not be funny. But he's also a very humane, compassionate and serious writer and you get all of those in this play, and it's a very moving play, I think."
The Habit of Art shows at the Belgrade Theatre from Tuesday 6 until Saturday 10 November. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk where prices are even cheaper.