Talking in the Library

Talking in the Library follows four characters frequenting their public library, each with their own stories to tell. There is Derek, the rule-loving library manager who yearns for the past; Mari, a chatty, innocent cleaner with a hidden literary addiction; Bethany, a struggling women’s studies student; and Jay, a young man caught between the macho nature of his construction career and his love of poetry.

Each of their stories were engaging and very relatable, and by the end of the play they were rounded enough to become more than just characters in a play and people we have all known.

The play was structured around a series of monologues, giving the piece an Alan Bennett vibe, which seamlessly dissolved into dialogue. As is often the case with monologue, it was character that held up the play. Their stories weren’t huge, sweeping dramas, but instead small, personal journeys that were emotional and affecting in their ordinariness.

Each of their stories were engaging and very relatable, and by the end of the play they were rounded enough to become more than just characters in a play and people we have all known. However, out of the four, it was Mari that shined. Her loneliness and sweet, girlish way of looking at the world made her little personal victories against her negligent husband Ron all the more keenly felt. It was perhaps because Mari had been the feature of another play before Talking in the Library that she stood out amongst the rest of the characters, but Sue Goble’s portrayal gave her a cheekiness that made her instantly loveable. Because of Mari’s strength, the other characters did at times feel a little thin, although the capability of the cast prevented them from ever being boring. The script was full of touching observations and warm humour with an abundance of clever parallels to famous literary pieces, making it a real treat for theatre and literary fans to unpick.

After a slightly shaky start, Talking in the Library picked up in confidence and played out with humour and sensitivity, and left the audience with four memorable stories. If you like your theatre quiet and thoughtful, Talking in the Library will deliver.

Reviews by Lois Zoppi

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Bethany's degree in Womens' Studies isn't what she expected. She won't be changing the world anytime soon. Jay's mates don't know he's a poet and that's the way he wants it to stay. Poetry's not for real men, is it? Mari's just a cleaner but, in the library, nobody can hear you scream. A funny and poignant look at literature, literacy and life. Developed by award-winning playwright Jackie Carreira, from her acclaimed short play "Mari", which premiered at Arundel Fringe in 2011. The performance at 17.00 on the 19th is suitable for under 18's.

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