The Theater: The Puzzler

THE OLD COUNTRY by Alan Bennett

The Old Country is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma—inside cellophane. The setting is a seedy, book-infested cottage in the woods. Hilary (Alec Guinness) and his wife Bron (Rachel Kempson) potter around, she arranging flowers and he devising puzzles.

If they did not know where they were, he asks, where might they be? Scotland? Almost anywhere, he decides, including where they are: Hilary, a former high official of the British Foreign Office, is a traitor, and they are in a Russian dacha.

Yet the spiritual setting of this spare new comedy by Alan Bennett,...

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