— What were you in life?
— In life, as you put it, I was a schoolmaster.
The Beth, an old fashioned cradle-to-grave hospital serving a town on the edge of the Pennines, is threatened with closure as part of an NHS efficiency drive. As Dr Valentine and Sister Gilchrist attend to the patients, a documentary crew, eager to capture its fight for survival, follows the daily struggle to find beds on the Dusty Springfield Geriatric Ward. Meanwhile, the old people’s choir, in readiness for next week’s concert, is in full swing, augmented by the arrival of Mrs Maudsley, aka Pudsey Nightingale.
Alan Bennett’s Allelujah! opened at the Bridge Theatre, London, in July 2018.