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This review is from: Fantabulosa! - The Kenneth Williams Story [DVD]  (DVD)
The trials and tribulations of Kenneth Williams: has there ever been an existence so finely suited to a dramatization? Has there ever been a span of life screaming so loudly to be explored and dissected?
Confused, unfulfilled, excessively complicated and psychotically frustrated - both physically and artistically.
An actors dream I would imagine; along the lines of King Lear or Joan of Arc...
Obviously, there's more to playing Williams than pulling faces and saying "stop messin' about" in a silly voice and Sheen is well alive to this. His representation in 'Fantabulosa' is intimate, amusing and warm. There's not many actors physically suited to playing Williams, never mind getting inside his ever expanding psyche, but Sheen manages both. Impressively and colourfully.
Whether he's displaying cheerful disdain to an adoring public or subtly exploring the dark corners of a desperately awkward and eventually solitary sexuality, Sheen is superb at every asking. There is no hint of accidental rightness anywhere; either in Sheen's performance or in the body of 'Fantabulosa' itself.
The awards speak for themselves.
The script is a tantalizing mix of license, anecdote and extract from Williams own word - primarily his famous diaries. Sheen's voice-over is tremendous, possibly the highlight of the film: delicate, accomplished inflection replacing the bawdiness and ribaldry of elsewhere.
The only minor criticism is, of course, 'Fantabulosa's length. Major characters are whipped past (his association with Joe Orton, for example, is worthy of a film in itself), in order to keep the whole shebang moving, but as it's as much the Sheen Show as it is the Williams Story, even this is not damagingly detrimental. It is slightly vulgar that so much of such an entertainingly full life should be omitted to the appeasement of time (Williams is furious, wherever he is), but maybe that's just reviewer greed.
Leave 'em wanting more....as they say.
'Fantabulosa' is something we often do brilliantly in this country - being done brilliantly again. Moving drama with humour and guile; gripping from the off, and not letting go 'til the final haunting sequence.
Superbly mounted, staged, filmed, scored, cast and directed.
You don't really need to be told to buy this, do you?