BCG Features

Press Clippings

Four Weddings And A Funeral cast reunite for Red Nose Day

The cast of Four Weddings And A Funeral are reuniting to make a new short film to be shown on Red Nose Day 2019.

British Comedy Guide, 6th December 2018

Review: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

When Harry met Daniel met Tom: Rosemary Waugh reviews the 50th anniversary production of Tom Stoppard's riff on Hamlet.

Rosemary Waugh, Exeunt Magazine, 13th March 2017

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, review

It's 50 years since the West End debut of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and the Old Vic has tried to sprinkle a bit of magic over its latest revival, bringing in Harry Potter himself to tackle one of the leads.

Connor Campbell, The Upcoming, 9th March 2017

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead review

But the over-and-above treat we don't deserve is David Haig as The Player.

Libby Purves, theatreCat, 8th March 2017

Review: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

As with most of Stoppard's work, some advance understanding of the play, or in this case, of Hamlet, is helpful. Otherwise you may find yourself as confused as confused as Rosencrantz and Guildernstern as to what is actually happening.

Greg Stewart, Theatre Weekly, 7th March 2017

David Haig joins Daniel Radcliffe in Rosencrantz play

David Haig is to join Daniel Radcliffe in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Old Vic.

Matthew Hemley, The Stage, 6th January 2017

Very early on in Upstart Crow, a collaborative Ben Elton-William Shakespeare vehicle for the hopelessly thick and untalented David Mitchell, a member of the studio audience reacted to Liza Tarbuck just saying something in an accent, with her titty-dumplings to the fore with the kind of prolonged loud screeching fit that you or I could only hope to achieve while dousing our genitals in hydrochloric acid. My heart sank. But soon it actually began to get funny, sometimes very. The audience member had obviously been led out by an intern with the promise of a cup of tea and perhaps, actually it's to be hoped, a reassuring whisper of "you're not clever enough for this, dear". By the end, this mashup of Will's artistic frustrations in an England seething with stupidity, and as relevant to today as to 1584, had become a delight, to the extent the audience was anticipating the gags. Of a fiendishly cunning plot to frustrate young love, in which it had become necessary to procure a play-dead potion, Mitchell's brimming "I can't see how it can possibly go wrong" had much of the hubristic glee in seeing it coming of a Mainwaring, a Hancock.

Inevitable parallels - there was much God's bodikins! and gut-porridge stuff - will be drawn with Blackadder, although perhaps someone could tell me why that's in any conceivable way a bad thing. But Mr Elton has (almost) wholly redeemed himself for crimes against David Haig in the relentlessly smile-free elf'n'safety trudge that was 2013's The Wright Way, and it's nice to see he's got his brain back. And I do like Spencer Jones as Kempe, played as Ricky Gervais as David Brent - way too knowingly see-what-I-did-there, but that's how Ben rolls.

Euan Ferguson, The Guardian, 15th May 2016

The Wright Way, a sitcom about a punctilious health and safety officer, should itself carry some sort of health warning. It left me with a raging headache; I left it about halfway through. Critics, like the captain on a sinking ship, should really stay to the very end, but I am a middle-aged man with a sense of his own mortality, and this was 15 minutes I would never get back.

The show is written by Ben Elton so, as you would expect, there are some good lines, neat turns of phrase and a solid narrative structure. However, it is a long way from his best work, with far too great a dependence upon the supposed hilarity inherent in brand names. Horlicks, anyone?

But even if he'd scripted a masterpiece of Blackadder proportions, it would still have been scuppered by the performances, which are uniformly terrible. It is as though the entire cast has come straight from an evening class in sitcom acting for beginners and can't wait to try out their comedy voices. Nobody, but nobody, behaves like a human being.

Worst offender is the show's star David Haig, who has chosen to give his character Gerald a hideous nasal twang all too reminiscent of Chris Barrie's in The Brittas Empire, a sitcom I also found unwatchable. Gerald is a boring person, but the show has fallen into the trap of actually making him dull company for the viewer.

It is often said that a successful sitcom is one populated by characters you want to spend some time with. Gerald, meanwhile, is a character I would like to spend some time with in a locked room, armed with a baseball bat.

The horror of the acting is compounded by a laughter track evidently laid down in a lunatic asylum. Mildly amusing lines are met with an ear-shattering explosion of guffaws, while slightly clever sight gags receive the kind of rapturous ovation that Pavarotti spent a lifetime chasing.

So, to sum up, I didn't like The Wright Way. But had the cast played the characters instead of the comedy, uninterrupted by such a hysterical soundtrack, I suspect it could have been quite watchable. We will never know.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 26th April 2013