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Interesting but patchy...
on 9 March 2007
These 50-odd minute plays provide a wide range of material for Rik Mayall to get his teeth into, the the results are (perhaps predictably) rather mixed.
'Micky Love' is in a class of it's own here, and is easily the best of all six plays, matching an incredible script with the vivid title character, an over the hill northern light entertainer heading for a fall. Disaster piles on disaster as an overheard conversation leads ultimately to the downfall of a TV quiz show king - this is both by turns hilarious and gripping drama.
'Briefest Encounter' is tells the story of two strangers meeting at a party then going home together for a disasterous 'date'. The most blatantly comedic play in the series, this might have been excellent pared down to a 30 minute short, but this situation is so over-extended that the characters end up turning into complete insanity by the half-way point, and the piece drifts off into the realms of the ridiculous.
'Dancing Queen' is a slight romantic tale as a groom has his wedding day disrupted by his best man's over-enthusiastic celebrations and ends up becoming attached to the stripper hired for his batchelors night. A little obvious perhaps, but a nicely played and gorgeously shot piece.
'The Big One' tells the tale of an incorrigable liar who ends up in fear of his life after impersonating a dead man - a reasonably diverting twisty plot-line but the play seems to stumble a little between knowing whether it's a comedy film or a gangster thriller.
'Dirty Old Town' has a suicidal tramp mistaken for a movie scrpt-writer with fairly predictable results. Not bad, just a rather obvious 'trading places' scenario that sorely lacks a punchline.
Finally 'Claire De Lune' has a taxi driver getting involved with a woman on the run, a pleasant aimiable story.
All in all most of these plays lean towards drama over comedy, but the results lack the cutting bite of Rik's work with 'The Comic Strip Presents...', being more obviously aimed at early evening ITV mainstream audience. A mixed bunch but well worth a look for 'Micky Love' if nothing else...