Well written, well designed, well acted, and well directed, this solidly produced BBC mini-series merits praise all around.
Mr. Dickens' novel is not easily truncated for television, even in six installments, but the scenarists here have done such an admirable job of distilling the essential story points and characterizations, that viewers are afforded a well rounded treatment.
At first, David Yelland seems an odd choice for the title role, given that his physiognomy does not especially match with the youngster who plays the child David in the early chapters. Mr. Yelland is further hampered by a peculiar (and anachronistic) fringed bang hairdo, that looks like nothing so much as a Beatle wig. Despite these handicaps, however, he more than justifies his selection by his excellent performance.
Not only does he manage the emotional depth required in the stories later chapters, upon the betrayal of Steerforth etc,. but manages a comedy scene (a disastrous dinner party with wife Dora) with expert understated finesse.
Indeed, space precludes individual acting citations, since the players are down to the smallest bit, all outstanding in characterization, appearance and deportment. This is truly outstanding ensemble acting.
Particular mention must be accorded Patricia Routledge, in her hilarious turn as Mrs. Micawber, Arthur Lowe as Mr. Micawber, Patience Collier as Betsy Trotwood, Anthony Andrews, (both chilling and attractive)as Steerforth, and perhaps most memorably, Jacqueline Pearce, (of Hammer horror fame) as Rosa Dartle and Sheila Keith as Mrs. Steerforth.
Indeed, the scenes between Misses Pearce and Keith, rife with bitter and hidden anguish, are shot with a tension and blood freezing quality, you'll not soon forget! (all the better to offset the sentimentality elsewhere).
Production design in both settings and costumes is apt, and the production team are to be commended on the way they cleverly fused outdoor footage with studio sets in seamless fashion.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this