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Single Spies: An Englishman Abroad/A Question of Attribution

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  50 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews

A critically acclaimed double bill of Alan Bennett plays, adapted for BBC Radio. An Englishman Abroad - It is 1958, and in a squalid flat in Moscow, double-agent Guy Burgess is hiding from the world. When he is visited by actress Coral Browne, he is overjoyed to see someone from his former life in England. Starved for information, Burgess interrogates her about English soc

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Audio CD, Abridged, 0 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by AudioGO (first published August 1st 1991)
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Petra Eggs
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Two plays on real-life spies. One lush like over-ripe fruit, the other dry as a vodka martini.

(Review of 2nd play added Feb 2012)

Burgess was everything repulsive about a man you could think of wrapped up into one confident, self-satisfied upper-class prig who found himself in reduced circumstances due to a bad political decision on his part. Bennett makes the most of the real-life meeting* between the actress Coral Browne and Burgess and turns what was a hearty feast in the first place into one
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Becky Walker
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: alan-bennett
The first of Bennett's plays that I ever saw, about 4 years ago (2008, I reckon) at The Lowry in Salford with Nigel Havers and Diana Quick, and they are still my favourites. The character development in An Englishman Abroad pleases me every time, as does the moment in A Question of Attribution when it becomes apparent that Blunt and HRH are not really discussing art at all. Not to mention Bennett's usual brilliant one liners. Perfect.
Dridge
Aug 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
I found myself caring so little while reading this play that I can't even rouse myself up to explain the why. Where was the conflict in this play? Or the plot?
Nate
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This play really shows its age, because I only know that the Cambridge Spy Ring passed information and were British higher-ups, and very little of this made sense. The first play was better than the second. I think this also isn't a particularly readable play, requiring you to look at the paintings which I couldn't do while reading
Steven
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays, british
A Question of Attribution delights with its undertones, subtleties and threats. Anthony Blunt is talking about art history with the Queen and the inspector and yet he is being questioned for treason at the same time.

An Englishman Abroad does not have the same menace and elegant language but is quintessentially English in its treatment of Guy Burgess and the British reaction to one of their own spying.
Jason
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
An Englishman Abroad - 4 stars. Fast, sharp, insightful dialogue. A fine drama, a little affecting, but a clever short piece about spy Guy Burgess.

A Question of Attribution: 4 1/2 stars. Virtually perfect, down to the deadpan Buckingham Palace footman (Colin). Very funny, very clever. Great, entertaining play about reality and appearances.
Harriet_Lang
Such an interesting insight into these 2 spies, both notorious for their involvement in the Cambridge Spy Ring, really interesting to have a view of them as individuals rather than just one of a crowd.
Hermien
Jul 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I enjoyed these entertaining short plays, but I have read quite a few books about the Cambridge spies so had an interest in the subject.
Vic
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Favourite line:
Burgess (addressing HMQ): Because something is not what it is said to be, Ma'am, does not mean it is a fake. It may just have been wrongly attributed.
Jennifer
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theater
It's always nice to find a pleasant surprise in an audiobook. Example: Dan Stevens does a reading....Yes, Matthew from Downton Abbey. Alan Bennett is good for a quirky read.
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Feb 22, 2016
Tweedledum
Edward Fox as Anthony Blunt at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Just pitch perfect. Sent me searching for a paper copy of Bennets plays.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alan Bennett is an English author and Tony Award-winning playwright. Bennett's first stage play, Forty Years On, was produced in 1968. Many television, stage and radio plays followed, along with screenplays, short stories, novellas, a large body of non-fictional prose and broadcasting, and many appearances as
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