LONDON, Day 6 and last (Post-Gazette Critic’s Choice Theater Tour): The End of Empire. -- As I've said, this week’s theater might be gathered under the title End of Empire, and today’s show was conclusive: Alan Bennett’s modestly, slyly named “People” is that in spades. Frances de la Tour (left in the picture above) is the oldest of three sisters who has to decide what to do with the family’s glorious but decaying 16th century mansion in southern Yorkshire. Sell to the National Trust? Sell to a consortium of international zillionaires? Continue to molder? It’s a comedy, sometimes rather too baldly so for my taste, but it’s full of insights into class and money and gender and plenty more, as I’ll figure out when I sit down to think about it.
When I do, I’ll score “The Audience,” “Quartermaine’s Terms,” “Peter and Alice” and even “The Judas Kiss” in the End of Empire column. You could also count “Dear World” (world capitalism) and “The Captain from Kopenick” (monarchical Europe). Only “Great Expectations” (tonight’s show – Victorian melodrama) and “The Curious Incident…” don’t fit. Right now, however, it’s time to pack up the souvenirs and get ready to head out to the airport at the ungodly hour of 6 am. Next stop, Pittsburgh.