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Posts Tagged ‘dark humour’

ID Plays Ltd. present this performance of Donald F. East’s play.  Set in the 1970s, Clive and Moira Richards are an unhappily married couple; Moira is having an affair with Clive’s younger business partner Philip, and Clive is fed up of Moira’s deception, and her constant snippiness and dissatisfaction.  Philip wants to sell his and Clive’s business, and is prepared to go to almost any lengths to do so, while Clive is equally determined to stop the sale happening.  When a woman claiming to be Clive’s first wife Jane arrives on the scene, the stage is set for murderous plots, swapped allegiances, and neither the characters nor the audience are quite sure who is deceiving who.

The play had a cast of just four – Paul Lavers and Carly Nickson as Clive and Moira, Peter Amory as Philip and Bridget Lambert as Jane.  With all of the action being set in the Richards’ living room, this made for a claustrophobic and tense atmosphere.  All of the cast were excellent, with Lavers and Nickson really showing the cracks that have appeared in their marriage, while Amory is immediately unlikeable as Philip (although it’s not hard to see how he could have charmed Moira).  Lambert was terrific in what was the least developed role.

This play is not particularly gory or scary – some unpleasant things do take place off-stage, but on-stage is reserved mainly for the characters plotting.  None of the characters are actually very likeable, and all of them have no apparent concern for any of the others.  This actually worked well, because it meant that you never knew what any character might do next.  There were many twists and turns, and double-crosses, so that the audience were kept guessing throughout.

Overall, this was a lot of fun for any fans of murder mysteries.  I bought my ticket on a whim, and was very pleased that I had done so.  I will definitely be looking out for further productions by ID Plays Ltd.

(For more information about this production, or ID Plays Ltd., please click here.)

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This mini-series (four episodes) was based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s experiences as a doctor, which he wrote about in his book ‘A Country Doctor’s Notebook’, and was part of the Sky Arts Playhouse Presents series.

Daniel Radcliffe plays a young, newly graduated doctor from Moscow in 1917, who is sent to a remote village where there is very little to do (even the nearest shop is half a day’s travel away).  It snows constantly, and the only companions he has are his two nurses, his assistant doctor, and his patients, who invariably don’t want the help that he offers.  John Hamm plays the same doctor 17 years later, and the two interact with each other (although the young doctor is the only one who can see the older version of himself).

The first  two episodes were filled with dark humour (and some gory moments), but things took an altogether more sinister turn in the third and fourth episodes, when it becomes apparent that the older doctor is addicted to morphine, and faces legal trouble for falsifying prescriptions.  The older doctor wants to stop his younger self from repeating the same mistakes.

I won’t give away the ending, but it was oddly unexpected and inevitable, both at the same time.  I understand that there aren’t any more episodes planned, but the ending means that there could be more, so I live in hope!

As for the cast – Hamm was excellent as the older, world-weary doctor, and the excellent supporting cast included Rosie Cavaliero as Pelageya, a nurse and sometime sexual partner of the young doctor; Adam Godley as his assistant, and who provided some of the more humorous lines; and Vicky Pepperdine as another nurse.  Daniel Radcliffe was fine as the younger doctor, and was not as unbelievable as you might think, playing a younger version of  John Hamm!

Overall, well worth a watch – plenty of laughs and a few ‘cover your eyes’ moments.  I’d like to see a second series please!

Year of release: 2012

Director: Alex Hardcastle

Producers: Kenton Allen, Dan Cheesebrough, John Hamm, Matthew Justice, Lucy Lumsdem, Saskia Schuster, Yvonne Sellins, Clelia Mountford

Writers: Mikhail Bulgakov (book ‘A Country Doctor’s Notebook’), Mark Chappell, Alan Connor, Shaun Pye

Main cast: Daniel Radcliffe, John Hamm, Rosie Cavaliero, Adam Godley, Vicki Pepperdine

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