The lady in the Van is now showing at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
Dame Maggie Smith excels at playing the vulnerable yet fierce Mary Shepherd. Defiant, ill tempered and hiding a secret that’s haunted her for years.
Alex Jennings is impressive as Alan Bennett, often playing opposite himself as he sees himself as two people “the self who does the living” and the “self who does the writing” and together they discuss Miss Shepherd and argue over what to do about her and whether he should write about her.
Bennett is already a successful writer at this point but he’s lonely and when Miss Shepherd appears in his life they become something of an odd couple.
The street Bennett lives on tolerates Miss Shepherd, they treat her as part of the community however much they wish she would move elsewhere. Roger Allam, Francis de la Tour and Deborah Findlay play some of Bennett’s neighbours and flesh out the street perfectly.
At the Hay Festival in May 2015, Alan Bennett said “The story told by this film took place 40 and more years ago and Miss Shepherd is long since dead. She was difficult and eccentric but above all she was poor. And these days particularly the poor don’t get much of a look in. Poverty is a moral failing today as it was under the Tudors. If the film has a point, it’s about fairness and tolerance and however grudgingly helping the less fortunate, who are not well thought of these days. And now likely to be even less so.”
Something worth thinking about.
To book tickets to see The Lady in the Van click here.
A Shared Madness