Home   Lifestyle   Article

Subscribe Now

Brian Blessed directs Lord Peter Wimsey investigation at Sonning



More news, no ads

LEARN MORE


Busman’s Honeymoon, directed by Brian Blessed at The Mill at Sonning,
until June 25. Review by DEREK ANSELL

Like all her novels and plays, Dorothy L Sayers’ Busman’s Honeymoon has rich characterisation and a classic mystery narrative.

Co-written for the stage with Muriel St Clare Byrne, it begins just after the marriage of Lord Peter Wimsey to Harriet as they begin domestic life in their new home.

Busman's Honeymoon, picture Andreas Lambis
Busman's Honeymoon, picture Andreas Lambis

Of course, it does not go smoothly, just like that.

When the man who sold Wimsey the house is found dead in the basement it is time for the private detective to look into the murder.

Wimsey is arguably Sayers’ greatest creation and James Sheldon gave a first-class performance the upper-class sleuth, gradually establishing him as a patient, calm, methodical detective with a gift for getting along with everybody he meets.

Busman's Honeymoon, picture Andreas Lambis
Busman's Honeymoon, picture Andreas Lambis
Busman's Honeymoon, picture Andreas Lambis
Busman's Honeymoon, picture Andreas Lambis
Busman's Honeymoon, picture Andreas Lambis
Busman's Honeymoon, picture Andreas Lambis

His director Brian Blessed did him no favours. The sudden eruptions and increased volume pronouncements were quite out of character for Wimsey. Kate Tydman was effective as his wife Harriet, matching him in wit and wisdom calmly. George Tiller was equally effective as Bunter, the efficient, faithful 'Gentleman’s gentleman'.

Chris Porter did well as the loud, brusque Mr MacBride, perhaps a little too loud at times, as indeed was Joanna Brookes as the maid Mrs Ruddell. She had her comic moments though, accusing people of using ‘insinuendos.’ Ian Stuart Robinson, Christian Ballantine and Noel White played other parts skilfully, sometimes raising their voices louder than necessary. Helen Bank played a neat cameo as a nervous, twitchy and very well named Miss Twitterton.

I do wonder though if Noel White as Superintendent Kirk would really have pushed his constable down and held him, face down on the table in an arm lock. Duncan Wilkins played a reserved, quiet vicar impressively and Luke Barton was believable as a police constable, even if he did make his first entrance looking startled and actually saying the line ‘Now then, what’s all this then?’

Overall this was an enjoyable, well-acted production that might just have benefitted further from more sensitive direction.

As an actor Brian Blessed usually delivers his lines in a very loud voice. Do several of the actors in his production really have to do the same though?



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More