Allelujah – Bennett on the Big Screen
Written by Zoe Crombie
Adaptations have been a mainstay for cinema since the very beginning, with many early silent movies having origins on the page or the stage. Though Shakespeare is the first to come to mind for most, with adaptations ranging from Oliver Parker’s straightforward Othello to Baz Lurhmann’s chaotic Romeo + Juliet, other playwrights have been celebrated cinematically, in this case the beloved British staple Alan Bennett. Known for his tragically comedic elevation of the mundane into performance-worthy material, many of his works have been translated to film, the latest in this distinguished line being ‘Allelujah, a recent play that tackles timely political subject matter.
Featuring an impressive ensemble cast of iconic British performers, including Jennifer Saunders, Judi Dench, and Derek Jacobi, ‘Allelujah is centred around the maintenance and finances of a fictional geriatric hospital in West Yorkshire known to locals as ‘the Beth’. Following the quiet conflict and chaos of the institution, worsened by government decisions, family members with questionable motives, and dark actions coming from within, the film is an inditement of how our most important institutions are neglected and abused. This is made all the more pertinent by Bennett’s addressing of COVID, a subject rarely touched yet by Hollywood filmmakers.
If you’re already a fan of Bennett, this is a must see, but the plea for our essential health services renders ‘Allelujah an especially relevant movie for anyone in Britain today.
Allelujah is showing now until the 27th April.
Book tickets here