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Doris Rutter
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Doreen Bidmead
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Mr. Lomax
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16 December 1978 (UK)  »

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Six Plays by Alan Bennett: Doris and Doreen  »

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The title of this teleplay was changed to 'Green Forms' when published in 1981 in Alan Bennett's Office Suite (and in all subsequent republications). See more »

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Bennett's snapshot of office life
12 May 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Doreen (Patricia Routledge) and Doris (Prunella Scales) work together in an office in some kind of company - never really specified - which is facing cuts in some of its branches. Their office lacks a light bulb, a lampshade, and some Venetian blind slats, and not much work is done while the ladies gossip.

We're in typical Bennett territory here; strong female characters, the minutiae of everyday life. Although Pete Postlethwaite and Joan Sanderson do feature in this play, their appearances are short, and the plot mainly hangs on Doris and Doreen and how they slowly realise that there is something afoot in personnel which will have an impact on their cosy workplace.

Bennett has an eye for the mundane - green forms, what someone's husband used to do, whether the washbasin plug was stolen by another department - and manages to make a situation where not very much happens appear very enjoyable. Routledge and Scales are both regular collaborators with Bennett, and it is interesting to compare their roles here with others from the same writer.

When this play appeared in print it was re-titled 'Green Forms', somehow putting the focus away from the ladies and on to the paperwork. I like the title 'Doris and Doreen' better. I like the way these ladies rub together and deal with the dragon in their midst. A fun play, well written and very true to life.


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