30 November 2014 | Prismark10
Staging the play
Unnatural Pursuits was a two part television series made by the BBC and written by the playwright Simon Gray. It is based on mounting his play The Common Pursuit (itself turned into a television film) in the USA.
Unnatural Pursuits is a musical comic fantasy as it features occasional singing in the mould of Pennies from Heaven.
Alan Bates plays the hard drinking and smoking playwright testing his new play in the USA and bemused by the people he encounters as well as figuring out the ending of his play.
Richard Wilson plays a Harold Pinteresque type writer who seems to be hovering in a disapproving and at times, a threatening manner. Bates drinking means that he sometimes hallucinates allowing the makers of the drama to use the then novel morphing technology that became fashionable in Terminator 2.
The American setting allows Bates to have fun but having seen the film The Common Pursuit which had a scene stealing turn from Tim Roth, I know which is the better drama and Unnatural Pursuits does not quite cut it in comparison.