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Bennett's Hymn and Cocktail Sticks transfer to W/E

Hymn and Cocktail Sticks

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE NATIONAL Theatre’s critically-acclaimed double bill, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, is transferring to the West End – to the Duchess Theatre – where it runs from April 2 (previews from March 22) to June 15, 2013.

Alex Jennings will repeat his acclaimed performance in both pieces.

Previously Posted: Two Recollections by Alan Bennett, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, will be performed alongside People in the Lyttelton Theatre.

Alex Jennings plays Bennett in both pieces, which are directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Hymn, a memoir of music in childhood, with words by Alan Bennett and music by George Fenton, will run from November 22, 2012.

Alan Bennett writes: ‘In 2001 the Medici Quartet commissioned the composer George Fenton to write a piece commemorating their thirtieth anniversary. George Fenton appeared in my play Forty Years On and has written music for many of my plays since, and he asked me to collaborate on the commission. Hymn was the result.

‘First performed at the Harogate Festival in August 2001, it’s a series of memoirs with music. Besides purely instrumental p.assages for the quartet, many of the speeches are under-scored, incorporating some of the hymns and music I remember from my childhood and youth.’

The music will be performed by members of Southbank Sinfonia, with sound by Mike Walker.

Running Time: Approximately 30 minutes.

Hymn is coupled with Cocktail Sticks, an oratorio without music that revisits some of the themes and conversations of Alan Bennett’s memoir A Life Like Other People’s. A son talks to his dead father as his mother yearns for a different life. It’s funny, tender and sad.

Cocktail Sticks, which runs from December 5, 2012 will be designed by Bob Crowley, with lighting by Tom Snell.

Running Time: Approximately 60 minutes.

NT Associate Alex Jennings’ many appearances at the National Theatre include Collaborators, The Habit of Art, Present Laughter, The Alchemist, Stuff Happens, His Girl Friday, The Relapse and The Winter’s Tale (for which two roles he won the 2001 Evening Standard Award for Best Actor), Albert Speer, and My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical).