Saturday, 13 December 2008

Why can't we revive popular drama on TV?

To see the revival of Alan Ayckbourn's very seventies Christmas black comedy, Absurd Person Singular, at the Bath Theatre Royal. The three act play depicts events in the kitchens surrounding Christmas Eve cocktail parties at three different couples' homes, as the fortunes of the cast change from year to year. All have a strangely dated feel - the play was written in 1972 - and all depict the excrutiating nature of such events, with nobody either wanting to host the parties or be there. That one party revolves around the repeated suicide attempts of the unwitting hostess while her guests proceed to clean her kitchen and repair the plumbing says it all.

But the script sparkles, and the cast, especially Foyles War stalwart Honeysuckle Weeks, are all top notch. There was a time when we could look forward to several such productions on BBC and ITV over the Christmas period. While Victoriana is being revived - and who could complain about the recent Little Dorrit adaptation - and there are some great new comedies and detective dramas, there is too little popular contemporary stage drama like this on TV. Yet they are definite crowd pleasers. If Saturday night variety can be revived, why not this sort of drama too?

1 comment:

Zokko said...

I too miss old style plays - 'The Wednesday Play', 'Play For Today', and 'Play Of The Month' - on television. The great thing was that they weren't opened out, they were presented just as they would be on stage. Too many modern dramas copy American movies, even the trailers look influenced by those of the cinema, and it is not the same,