Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Big Flop - 17th Century Meets 21st Century.

One has been interested in the new, revamped series of Time Team, which appears to have move to the wonderful BBC.

While out on one of his field expeditions, it appears Tony Robinson – he who is famous for Black Adder and …. Black Adder – has been fortunate enough to dig up the scripts of a series of comedy plays from the 17th century. He has then managed to entice an array of television celebrities and Amanda Holden to take part in their re-enactment.

The series of plays, entitled The Big Top, has been commissioned by the BBC and is shown on Wednesday evenings.

Though it is an insight into our history and would have certainly entertained a nation that had nothing better to do than to watch weeping sores and the local witch being burnt alive, one feels the comedy does not cross over well into the 21st century. It is certainly not assisted by its ‘sexing up’, with Miss Holden sporting black hotpants, sheer hosiery and hair like C. S. Lewis’s Aslan with nits.

Furthermore, one appreciates that in comedy a straight man is important, however Robinson’s attempts to carry the weekly pieces as the character Anusmist, or some such fancy, does not succeed. One has never seen such a total lack of effort by an actor since that of Dexter Fletcher in Hotel Babylon.

Thankfully the performances have not been filmed in front of a live audience otherwise one suspects the description ‘live’ would be redundant and plenty more digging would be required by the archaeological team… along with mourning and multiple burials.

It is unclear how many of the plays were discovered but let us keep our digits crossed it was few rather than many.

Had it been a recent comedy offering it would most certainly have been entitled The Big Flop rather than The Big Top, but clearly as a historic piece it is acceptable as an example as to how much we have evolved over the centuries.

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