Top positive review
36 people found this helpful
Good mix of polished intrigue and pathos
on 26 February 2013
This has all the trademarks of a Poliakoff drama: immaculate, beautiful upper crust people in artistically posed scenes, long meaningful looks, and an obsession with photographs. Yet despite the often slow pace, the dialogues are much sharper than I expected and it also has quite a tight, intriguing and at times tense plot. This is what probably made me enjoy it more than any previous work by Poliakoff, together with its focus on an interesting and little-covered aspect of 1930s Britain, in which we see the mercurial rise and sad fall of a talented band of black musicians. After catching the eye of Stanley, an ambitious young music journalist, they gain bookings at the once grand now gradually decaying Imperial Hotel and even attract the attention of the Prince of Wales and his brother before tragedy and scandal destroy their budding popularity. The prejudice the players face is probably quite realistic for the period, and borne with great dignity by the suave and super-controlled pianist Louis. And of course, there is the alternating rhythm and pathos of the music played with such verve beneath the distinctive rainbow arch of The Imperial.