What joy it was to see members of our own Drama Department tackling the perfection that is Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads: Georgina Hildick-Smith as the bitter and dowdyspinster Irene Ruddock in A Lady of Letters; Olivia Duffin as the fifth-rate soft-porn would-be-thesp Leslie; and the miraculous Rebecca Vines giving one of the best sermons ever as the sad and lonely (but sardonic, witty and truthful) vicar’s alcoholicwife Susan. Disturbinglyfunny and penetratingly poignant by turns, Bennett’s writing here combines popular appeal with Shakespearean-soliloquising self-revelation: each character unveilsmore and more about themselves as they speak, with a terrifying lack of self-knowledge; and we, the listeners, are drawn into their small worlds, and are forced to look at ourselves and our small worlds too. With not very pleasant results. We may laugh at these women – but we might also see more of ourselves in them than is comfortable. All three of our actor-teachers captured Bennett’s northern dryness and wit: their performances were skilful and deeply unsettlingin the accuracy with which they conveyed these lonely women. And it was so good for our scholars to see first-rate acting talentfrom the people who teach them.We laughed: but we also went away with a sense of the emptiness that can be at the heart of human existence. Bennet’s subject matter may be narrow, but his scope is alarmingly wide. And withrazor-sharpaccuracy.