Main House, Theatre Royal
This double bill of two one act comedies, A Visit from Miss Protheroe and Green Forms, paints a wickedly funny picture of office life from the pre-internet era when filing and form-filling were a significant part of the working day.
A Visit From Miss Protheroe
Widowed and retired from Warburtons, where he was a mainstay of management systems, Mr Dodsworth is content to potter, chat to Millie, his budgie, and branch out into evening classes in his cordon bleu cookery. An unexpected visit from his one time colleague Miss Protheroe, determined to fill him in on what’s been happening in the old firm – and she doesn’t just mean Maureen’s baby – shakes his world. Yes, the winds of change are blowing through Warburtons.
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‘Manpower services, time and motion, computerization. They’re all different ways of spelling the same word – redundancy’
Colleagues Doreen and Doris are comfortably installed in an obscure department in a large corporation, passing time with talk of artificial hips and rubber plants, punctuated with occasional filing and form-filling, when a shadow falls over their settled lives – the shadow of Dorothy Binns from Newport Pagnell and the trail of change she leaves in her corporate wake.
Alan Bennett is one of the most distinctive voices in British theatre. Both wry and tender, his plays are impeccably observed. Hs work includes Talking Heads, Single Spies, Forty Years On, Habeas Corpus, The Madness of George III and The History Boys. The last two multi award-winning plays have both been made into successful films.
“Alan Bennett, with his combination of pitiless observation and gentle understatement, is perhaps the best loved of English writers alive today” Sunday Telegraph