IF at first you succeed, do it again. That’s why three more of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads are popping into the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, for a short run this week after a triple bill went down so well last year.

The abiding popularity of Bennett’s monologues – so fondly remembered from the 1987 television performances – is not the only reason behind the Players giving further oxygen to these venerable period pieces: the York company wants to promote new directors and add new names to performing roster.

This time, all three pieces place a woman centre stage, which has drawn Helen Sally Wilson and Kathryn Addison to the Players, joining Jeanette Hunter, a stalwart of the Rowntree pantomime who shows another side to her considerable performing skills here.

Helen Sally Wilson opens the show, definitely the most difficult slot – and it is now too late, but maybe the order could have been changed for each night – as she plays lonely, busybody, obsessive letter writer Irene. She thinks the worst of everyone as she pours scorn and bile on the outside world. Helen said afterwards she rather liked Irene: the true sign of an empathetic actor, who grew into Thursday’s performance under Angela Stone’s direction.

In A Cream Cracker Under The Settee, Jeanette Hunter is absolutely terrific as Doris, who dreads giving up the freedom of living on her own for the 24-hour surveillance of a care home. Pride comes before a fall but the inevitable fall will come, and Hunter finds such heart and soul in her portrayal of an indomitable spirit unable to turn back the full tide of time, guided by Nik Briggs’ outstanding direction.

Bed Among The Lentils, forever known as “the Maggie Smith one”, casts Kathryn Addison as vicar’s wife Susan, a thinker, a drinker, a non-believer, who is free with the spirits and has long needed to be more free spirited. Bennett, no great lover of church repression, lets her loose in one of his great works, humorous, humane, provocative, all captured so well by Addison and director Imogen Wood.

Rowntree Players in Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tonight and tomorrow, 7.30pm. Box office: 01904 501 935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk