National Theatre Live /// People

people_elm‘P.S.T.’ equals ‘people spoil things’. I can already see your anti-social half nod frantically in agreement with the auctioneer’s (Miles Jupp) proclamation in the play ‘People’ by Alan Bennett. The vision of crowds of people becomes especially painful when you are an elderly ex-model Dorothy (Frances de La Tour) sharing your old mansion only with your companion Iris (Linda Bassett) and all you need is peace and quiet necessary for your advanced age.

The so-important peace and quiet, however, are put under threat by your younger sister (Selina Cadell) who craves to give the house to the National Trust, have it restored and make all of its historical values available for public view and thus open for daily invasions of people the size those of the Romans’. It seems that nothing can stop the ambitious relative, but there’s always a solution. How about removing the house with all its belongings to, say, Wiltshire or Dorset or even providing it as a place for shooting porn films? It’s up to Dorothy to make up her mind though…

The creative tandem of Alan Bennett and Nicholas Hytner bring ‘People’ to the stage of the National Theatre and the unique project National Theatre Live spreads the London theatre vibes even further right to the screens of world cinemas. Executed with recognisable British humour, wit, sarcasm and elegance, ‘People’ shows the unhealthy desire to preserve anything representing good old England at any rate, borderlining with absurd at some points and thus even more artificial and strained.

The collision of contemporary ideals and beliefs with those from the past gives birth to funny misunderstandings, hilarious situations and incredible wow-moments inflating ‘People’ without any hint of an overkill. After all, there’s no such thing as too much wit, sharp humour and provocative fun, that on the stage of the National Theatre find their reflection not only in the scenes performed with great precision and talent, but also in the brilliant language of the play.

Being nothing short of a highly enjoyable piece of art, ‘People’ gives you a chance to laugh your head off as well as think about what really matters in past and modern values. In other words, a pure blast of a performance!

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