Review: Hymn, by Alan Bennett, Music In Felixstowe, Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe, then on tour.

Brian Theodore Ralph with The Ward Quartet

Brian Theodore Ralph with The Ward Quartet - Credit: Archant

Hymn is a short, beautifully written, one act monologue written by Alan Bennett about his on-going love affair with churches and music. As you would expect with Bennett, it’s thoughtful, humorous and very funny. It’s also revealingly autobiographical. But, the real winner is that the words are cleverly and carefully wrapped around a live performance of Borodin’s Quartet No. 2.

This production of Hymn has been staged by Hattie’s Bennett’s Music in Felixstowe concert series with former Wolsey Theatre regular Brian Theodore Ralph immersing himself in the Alan Bennett role while The Ward Quartet, led by Nick Ward, provide the exquisite music.

It’s one of those beautiful occasions where words and music come together in complete harmony – the one never getting in the way of the other but both adding to the pleasure and understanding of the event.

Brian Ralph never allows himself to be tempted into doing an impersonation of Alan Bennett but instead captures the spirit of the man, thanks to his ability to latch onto the rhythm of Bennett’s delivery.

The Ward Quartet are a collection of four of the best musicians in the region and so the music is always going to be first-rate.


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Hymn is next performed at The Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh on October 14.

Andrew Clarke

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