Title: Plays #2

Author: Alan Bennett

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 356

Rating: 4/5

As is my new tradition when it comes to writing reviews of play collections, I’ve reviewed each of the plays individually, as well as the collection as a whole. So here’s what I made of each play.

Kafka’s Dick: This play was awesome, but it probably helped that I’d already read a little bit of Kafka. It has a lot of nods to his ouvre and his style, taking the form of a surreal play with some metamorphoses along the way.

It’s a fantastic play in its own right, but it’s also a pretty touching tribute to Kafka and his work, and one that I’d love to see performed, especially because there are a few scenes in which the actors break the fourth wall. But then, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Bennett. He’s great.

The Insurance Man: This is the second of Bennett’s Kafka plays, but I thought that Kafka’s Dick was by far the superior, and not just because of its title. I found that one to be more playful, whereas this is a more serious look at Kafka’s work and life. But there’s room for both of them, though.

The Old Country: Another cracking Alan Bennett play, this time following three different couples and the interactions between them. The actual plot of this one wasn’t particularly interesting, at least to me, but I did like the characterisation and there were some cracking lines of dialogue. You can’t go wrong with some Alan Bennett, and this play is another good one.

An Englishman Abroad: A short but sweet Bennett play.

A Question of Attribution: This was a fun play which to me was mostly notable because it had the Queen as a character, like a return to The Uncommon Reader.

Overall, I thought this collection was fantastic, and I particularly enjoyed the Kafka plays and Kafka’s Dick in particular. It was also cool that there was information on who appeared in each of the original runs, as well as some extra context from Bennett.

Learn more about Plays #2.