TV Review: Jonathan Creek, Series 5

Series 5 of Jonathan Creek is an ignominious end to a show that started out so well

“Why do I know I’m going to regret this”

It started with the 2013 Easter special but the refresh of Jonathan Creek that characterises Series 5 is a spectacular misfire. Jonathan leaving the world of magic is understandable but making him a mid-level advertising executive is just baffling. And that’s before you add in the wife who appears from nowhere, Sarah Alexander’s Polly, and  a move to the countryside to a rural village.

It’s a reset that makes little sense – there is ZERO chemistry between Jonathan and Polly and little evidence to convince of their relationship especially as he now directs his patronising non-explanations at her – and ultimately adds little value. The village setting adds a Midsomer Murders/Marple-ish vibe to the mystery solving which detracts from its USP and also means that there has to be increasingly convoluted ways in which to fold Jonathan back into the world of impossible crimes that he’s ostensibly left behind.

All told, there’s too little sense of fun about the whole enterprise, writer David Renwick’s inspiration perchance finally running dry unlike his continued misogynistic tendencies. An ignominious end to a series that started out so well. Continue reading “TV Review: Jonathan Creek, Series 5”

Short Film Review #28

A curious little thing this. Written and directed by Alnoor Dewshi, 77 Beds features Ben Whishaw as Ismael, a young man having problems sleeping who decides to count things to try and get to the land of nod. But instead of sheep, he counts the number of beds he has slept in, and so follows a kind of patchwork personal history, snippets of his life, his friends, his family, appear in brief recollections of significant events and the beds that accompanied them. It’s intriguing but never really develops into something compelling, though it is always good to see Ben Whishaw, his angular youth a powerful central presence. 

Continue reading “Short Film Review #28”

Review: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, New Wimbledon Theatre

‘New Zealand “Neighbours” would’ be just two blokes in a field saying “where is everyone?”’

I’ve pretty much decided to eschew pantomimes this year, not for any particular dislike of the form but rather in a month where I’m trying to fit in something of a social life alongside the theatre, something has to give. But when I was offered the chance to be someone else’s plus one for once for the New Wimbledon panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, I couldn’t resist just the one trip to festive frolics. The big name here this year is Priscilla Presley, making her stage debut at the age of 67, who takes on the role of the wicked queen Morgiana, determined to hold onto her title as the fairest in the land. 

After an impressive entrance, Presley’s opening scene left me holding my breath a little as the rhyming verse seemed to strangle any sense of personality and came across as a little stiff. But she soon warmed up beautifully and really got into the mood – vamping around the stage to tunes like ‘One Way or Another’ and ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’, playing up to the audience’s boos and ripping her way hilariously through a script full of references that must have flown over her head – some pronunciations were amusingly awry and her quizzically hesitant delivery of ‘…Olly Murs?’ made a mildly amusing joke into a classic, but it is great to see such a star throwing themselves whole-heartedly into the task at hand.  Continue reading “Review: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, New Wimbledon Theatre”