5 August 2002 | taita
Huge Cast, Hugely Entertaining
This the TV adaptation of JB Priestly's play of the same name first published in 1938. Three couples are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversaries. Not only do they all share the same anniversary they all got married at the same church at the same time by the same preacher. But a revelation that comes forth during the festivities throws them all in a turmoil. The play revolves around the repercussions of this revelation, and what can be done to solve the problem. The story is further enhanced with the possibility that certain characters are quite pleased with the new situation and are not especially enthusiastic about rectifying it.
This comedy is one of those delightful Who's Who of British Theatre productions that doesn't put a foot wrong. Written in 1938 by one of Britains best playwrights, JB Priestly, it is set in Northern England, 1908, where the theme of the story would indeed have made the participants social pariahs and bywords. Three couples are celebrating their combined 25th wedding anniversaries when they receive news of such calamity, such misfortune, such...well I shan't spoil the surprise, just try and watch it if you can. The story centres around solving what seems at first to be unsolvable.
One of the lesser but certainly more memorable members of the cast is Liz Smith, the stalwart of the working class character, as Mrs Northrop the cook with a weakness for keyholes. "I wouldn't 've missed this if it meant 'aving ear ache for a week." "It's better than a turn at t'mpire" A couple on this screen and in real life are Prunella Scales and Timothy West. He is a dull, pompous, penny pinching 'stingy' man to her shy, sweet, endearing but ultimately courageous woman. You can almost see him deflate before your eyes. Peter Vaughn pairs up with Patricia Routledge as the host and hostess and have an extra problem turn up later in the proceedings. Bernard Cribbins and Rosemary Leach make up the final 'happy' couple. Patsy Rowlands and Joss Ackland are an outside influence that create their own havoc amidst the turmoil that takes over the evening.
It is a large cast but then that equates with the huge entertainment it provides
Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys words over weapons.