An Evening With

By Alan Bennett

2003 National Tour

October 3 – November 8, 2003 – 5 week tour to 14 venues in VIC, ACT, NSW
Moonee Ponds, Horsham, Colac, Echuca, Tuggeranong, Wagga Wagga, Portland, Wonthaggi, Traralgon, Warburton, Melbourne, Shepparton, Woy Woy & Parramatta. 

A production by Christine Harris & HIT Productions

These plays reveal Alan Bennett at the very height of his powers. He is a writer blessed not only with a great comic gift and penetrating social vision, but with a wonderful humanity as well.”
The Daily Telegraph (UK)

HIT Productions is delighted to be presenting An Evening With Colette Mann in Her Big Chance and Deborah Kennedy in Bed Among the Lentils from Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads. This brilliant production will be touring VIC, NSW and the ACT for 5 weeks from October 3 to November 8 2003, reaching a total of 15 regional, metropolitan and capital city venues. An Evening With is produced by award-winning business woman and actress Christine Harris. Christine is also the founder and CEO of HIT Productions, the company that brought you Hotel Sorrento, Goodbye Mrs Blore, Girl Talk, Love Child, Daylight SavingTalking HeadsSpeaking in Tongues and Last of the Red Hot Lovers. By the end of 2003 HIT will have toured for approximately 130 weeks since the company’s first tour in mid 1999, consolidating HIT Productions as a leading theatrical touring force in Australia.

From the pen of the highly acclaimed English playwright Alan Bennett, An Evening With is made up of Her Big Chance and Bed Among the Lentils, two of Alan Bennett’s monologues from the Talking Heads series. Since Talking Heads was telecast by the BBC, winning unanimous praise and the Hawthornden Prize, it has had numerous professional and amateur productions – testimony to its popularity and critical acclaim. The 1992 production at the Comedy Theatre in London of Talking Heads starring Patricia Routledge and Alan Bennett won the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Entertainment of the Year and Alan Bennett won the Award for the Most Outstanding Performance of the Year in a Musical or Entertainment. The monologues have been performed in various mixes and matches around the world. They were performed in the UK most recently at the Chichester Festival, the West End and for an extensive UK tour. This follows on from numerous previous UK productions. Productions abroad have been in North America, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Tokyo, Ireland, Monaco, Czech Republic, Zimbabwe and for short seasons in Perth in 1997 and at Marian Street Theatre, Sydney in 2000.

Her Big Chance and Bed Among the Lentils both offer excellent studies of resilient victims who reside in the margins of suburbia. These two monologues shine with Alan Bennett’s unique take on human foibles; they are inspiring, darkly funny, wise and deeply moving. In Her Big Chance, Lesley is an optimistic and ambitious actress who still yearns to have a serious film career, but fails to recognise that her career has been on the wrong track and that she has been used by ruthless directors. In Bed Among the Lentils, Susan is the acidly witty but excruciatingly bored wife of a Yorkshire vicar, who doesn’t realise that it’s not just the woman in the store but the whole parish that knows she’s an alcoholic. Susan escapes her dreary life by having an affair with a younger man. When the affair ends, Susan is confined to the living hell of both the church and Alcoholics Anonymous. 

An Evening With boasts two of Australia’s most popular actors. The role of Lesley is played by Colette Mann (Prisoner, The Vagina Monologues). Joining Colette in the role of Susan is Deborah Kennedy (Soulmates, The Sum of Us). Heading the Creative Team is Director Leith Taylor (Black Swan Theatre Co, State Theatre Company of WA) who joins HIT Productions for the first time. Design Consultant Judith Cobband and Lighting Designer Rachel Burke, who between them have worked on all of HIT’s previous touring productions, complete the Creative Team. 


Deborah Kennedy makes this fine play truly unforgettable, unmissable… I don’t believe we’ve seen a finer or more persuasive individual performance on the Melbourne stage this year. See her. Be awed.
Chris Boyd, Herald Sun, VIC, 10/03

Mann’s performance as Lesley is a wonderful mixture of charm and self-delusion, where she creates a character who seems cheerfully headed for disaster. Kennedy gives a superb performance as Susan. Every cutting, satiric, funny line is shadowed with the tragedy of a woman trapped in a living hell, unable, in the end, even to take enjoyment in her own wit.
Helen Thomson, The Age, VIC, 10/03


Susan: Deborah Kennedy

Lesley: Colette Mann


Playwright: Alan Bennett

Director: Leith Taylor 

Designer: Judith Cobb 

Lighting Designer: Rachel Burke