It's the beginning of the major award season and
to start the ball rolling and continue the celebrations of the summer
in London, we have the 56th BFI London Film Festival, which will
run from 10-21 October 2012. BFI's new Head of Exhibition and Festival
Director is Clare Stewart, who has brought together a diverse programme
of international films and events from both established and upcoming
talent over a 12 day celebration of cinema. The Festival will screen
a total of 225 fiction and documentary features, including 12 World
Premieres, 12 International Premieres and 35 European Premieres.
There will also be screenings of 111 live action and animated shorts
and a great line-up of directors, cast and crew are expected to
take part in career interviews, master classes, and other special
This year sees the introduction of several changes to the Festival's
format. In addition to the Leicester Square cinemas and the BFI
Southbank there will be four additional new venues - Hackney Picturehouse,
Renoir, Everyman Screen on the Green and Rich Mix, to join existing
London venues the ICA,Curzon Mayfair, Ritzy Brixton and Ciné Lumière.
The Festival opens with the European Premiere Gala of Tim Burton's
3D animation FRANKENWEENIE, whilst Mike Newell's
visually stunning adaptation of GREAT EXPECTATIONS,
starring Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes, will close the
Festival. Other Galas include CROSSFIRE HURRICANE,
a documentary celebrating 50 years of rock legends, The Rolling
Stones; Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, QUARTET,
featuring an outstanding British cast including Dame Maggie Smith,
Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins and Michael Gambon; and Ben Affleck
directs and stars in the political thriller ARGO.
This year, for the first time, the BFI are introducing competitive
sections including The Best Film Award, Best First Feature,
Films to look out for: Michael Winterbottom's EVERYDAY,
Sally Potter's Ginger and Rosa, Deepa Mehta's
Midnight's Children, Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths
together with UK premieres of Michel Franco's After Lucia
and David Ayer's End Of. Others worth seeing: Sally
El Hosaini's My Brother the Devil , Scott Graham's
Shell, Shola Lynch's Free Angela and All
Closing the Awards section is the prize for Best British Newcomer.
This year's nominees are:
1. Rowan Athale - director/screenwriter Wasteland
2. Sally El Hosaini - director/screenwriter My Brother the
3. Fady Elsayed - actor My Brother the Devil
4. Scott Graham - director/screenwriter Shell
5. Eloise Laurence - actor Broken
6. Rufus Norris - director Broken
7. Chloe Pirrie actor Shell
8. Tom Shkolnik - director/screenwriter The Comedian
While all this looks very interesting, more difficult to follow
is the division into "focused categories" which the BFI have decided
upon - Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and
As usual one of the highlights is Treasures, which brings recently
restored cinematic treasures from archives around the world to the
Festival. This year's Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the
restoration of Alfred Hitchcock's THE MANXMAN at
the Empire Leicester Square with a live accompaniment by Stephen
Lots more of interest and much excitement around the Masterclasses,
Celebrity guests and Interviews. For further details and to book
contact: Telephone Bookings: 0207 928 3232 between 09.30 - 20.30.
(no booking or postal fee), In person: BFI Southbank Office:
11.30 - 20.30
It is great to finally have a film dealing with mature adults rather
than late teenagers as most of the current popular ones seem to.
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star as a couple (pictured below)
whose marriage has become tired and unrewarding, especially for
Kay (Streep) the woman in the partnership. She doesn't just sit
and wait for better times but actively seeks help. SHARON
MICHAELS reviews HOPE SPRINGS (cert 12A
With nothing much to look forward to after 31 years of marriage,
children grown up and now being treated as a comfortable old sofa,
Kay, brilliantly played by Meryl Streep decides to take matters
into her own hands. With a marriage lacking all intimacy and excitement,
Kay has little to lose when she decides to use her savings and seek
the help of intensive marriage therapy provided by Dr Feld (Steve
Not realising that separate bedrooms are no longer
acceptable to Kay, Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones), reluctant and grumbling,
joins Kay on a week of self-discovery and counselling.
Steve Carell plays his character well, especially in his dealings
with Arnold who considers him a very expensive charlatan in business
only to mend something that is not broken. With persuasion and concern,
Dr Feld teases out the problems in this couple's faded marriage,
setting out 'homework' to be undertaken by the pair. Dr Feld's practice
is widely known in the little town of Great Hope Springs as the
parties attempt to follow instructions, though unfortunately for
them, also under the eyes of the townsfolk. Carell delivers his
part with understanding and sensitivity.
Whilst the story is rather predictable, this film is hugely enjoyable,
sympathetic, insightful and funny. The sterling efforts of Carell,
together with the glorious acting of Streep, who, once again shows
that she is an outstanding film actress, and Lee Jones, who we are
more used to seeing in action roles, takes it to a class of its
own. Lee Jones shows that he can deliver a character with sensitivity.
This film is accurately described as drama, romance and comedy
and one can see why. Seeing that the old sofa needs recovering and
being willing to get down to doing it, can lead to all sorts of
adventures. Director David Frankel shows how it works out with his
talents as a director (and appreciation of upholstery!). Frankel
(director of Devil Wears Prada and Marley and Me) deserves great
credit for taking on so challenging a subject which is not often
MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED (cert.PG 1hr.
33 mins.) is on locally during October and would make a good half-term
visit for children and their parents or grandparents. MICHELLE
We first saw Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe
and Gloria the hippo back in 2005 when they became shipwrecked in
Madagascar. We have seen them battle through the tough times and
meet many new friends along the way. They made their way to Africa
in the second installment but it is this third film in the franchise,
Europe's Most Wanted, which finally sees them return home to the
New York Zoo.
The movie continues on from where the previous left off but quickly
spins into a new story all of its own. Their journey this time takes
them through Europe with a failing travelling circus while they
escape the grasp of the Captain of the Monaco Animal Control. As
the story evolves, relationships build, such as that between a tricycle-riding
bear named Sonya and Julien the lemur king and the comedy instantly
begins and doesn't stop until the credits roll. A focus remains
on the values of friendships, not leaving one another behind and
sticking together through thick and thin.
This is the first installment of the successful franchise
to be in 3D and some fantastic aspects have been created. The landscapes,
particularly those in Africa at the start of the movie, are beautiful
and set the distances between characters and the trees well. Scenes
that feature fireworks, explosions, car chases and people catapulted
through the air in 3D make it come alive from the screen. The finest
piece of 3D imagery comes as the circus animals put on their show.
Between animals flying through the air on a trapeze, others walking
the tightrope, dogs on fiery roller-skates and a bear on a bicycle,
combined with bright lights and lively neon colours (and Katy Perry's
Fireworks) this sequence of events in particular is the movie's
finest scene and most breath-taking piece of 3D imagery seen in
an animated movie for some time.
One aspect that makes this franchise so successful with each and
every new instalment is the reoccurrence of the four main characters
and their actors. Ben Stiller remains the main protagonist, Alex
the lion, who comes to the conclusion he no longer needs the attention
he has gained while at the zoo and makes friends elsewhere. Chris
Rock returns as the hilarious Marty, who when dressed in a polka-dot
outfit with a multi-coloured wig singing and dancing will make adults
as well as children chuckle (and sing along for a while after).
The romance between David Schwimmer's character, Melman and Gloria
voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith doesn't really blossom, but their film
character personalities do entertain well. There is also the Lemur
King, penguins, monkeys and some other cuddly creatures to make
you giggle. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is an incredibly
fast paced movie which will keep viewers entertained no matter their
Am I good a Socialist? How would I act if my sense of what is right
conflicts with the needs of my family? Would I help a young criminal?
All these questions and more confront Michel (Jean-Pierre Darroussin)
and his wife, Marie-Claire (Ariane Ascaride) in THE SNOWS
OF KILIMANJARO (cert.15 1hr. 47mins.).
The couple (pictured left) have always stuck to their socialist
principles and worked together to build a life founded on truth
and justice for all. Michel is a Union representative who has been
made redundant when he opted to take an equal part in a lottery
to decide who leaves. When the couple, along with Marie-Claire's
sister and husband, are robbed, Michel is faced with a dilemma once
he discovers the youngster who committed the crime. Director and
joint writer, Robert Guediguian, examines a man sticking to old
fashioned socialist ideals and questions his motives and the way
The couple have a loving marriage and support each
other in their quest for an honest life. The audience can also see
the other side when their adult children question their convictions
and accuse them of preferring others to their own grandkids. Well
worth seeing, this French film is intelligent and acted with much
charm by the two main characters.
Has director Joe Wright made his film of ANNA KARENINA
(cert.12A 2hrs. 10mins.) in an exaggerated theatrical style in order
to be different? Does this stylised version of Tolstoy's novel add
to the story? Does it work for its audience? The simple answers
are that Wright seems to have wanted to make a film that differed
from the usual straight-forward presentation of other films and
TV series of Anna Karenina and he has certainly succeeded in this.
As for adding to the tale, well, not really and the choreographed
movements (for example of the clerks at work who stamp their papers
in unison) distracts somewhat from the dramatic events. And you
will have to judge for yourself whether it works for an audience.
The script by Tom Stoppard is intelligent and individual scenes
are often moving and played with full dramatic effect. But too often
the introduction of the scene-setting real stage from which the
action is supposed to emanate distracts from the involvement of
our emotions. Jude Law is particularly good in a strong, unshowy
performance as the almost emotionless Karenin. The less important
roles are also played well and Matthew Mcfadyen as Anna's amorous
brother caught in an affair by his wife and Domhnall Gleeson as
the thwarted-in-love Levin are impressive. Keira Knightly, who has
to carry the main role, manages to show not only a woman desperately
in love with the handsome Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) but
also the cruelty in her character. The artificiality of the filming
does get in the way but when not there the rest comes across as
well-written and well-performed.
BAGGAGE (Arts Theatre until 6 October)
is a play in desperate need of editing, writes SHARON MICHAELS.
The premise is okay - the perils of internet dating and the structuring
has a Neil LaBute tinge. But the execution is too slow, the play
too long and the numerous scenes too short - the latter a curse
on those who see most of their drama on television or in film.
Unfortunately the scene changes are rather cumbersome and the
result is a play that drags along, its plot strung out and populated
by characters who are either a cliché or too unexceptional for the
stage. These are problems that could be ironed out by an experienced
producer or an unfettered director. But writers John Muirhead and
Mike Charlesworth produced this themselves - never a good sign on
a first effort.
Richard Mylan (Adam) and Nicola
Stapleton (Sandy) in Baggage at the Arts Theatre, London
Considering this is a first effort the cast is impressive.
Suzanne Shaw, as vampy fashion industry something Geraldine, lessens
the blow of the production with her understanding of comic timing.
She really is a versatile actress.
Nicola Stapleton and Richard Mylan have a harder task as internet-crossed
lovers Sandy and Adam. Their characters, while pleasant and quite
'real' in their dialogue and interaction - something for which the
writers deserve praise - are underwritten. 'Normal' doesn't play
on stage. Even the everyman character has to be written bigger just
to avoid being swamped by the space. The actors fill their roles,
but those roles aren't big enough to fill the stage.
For Charlie De'Ath the opposite problem - his boorish womaniser
is cliched and outdated, a relic of Men Behaving Badly or the Loaded
generation. It's a pity, as his character could go on an interesting
emotional journey, but De'Ath is relegated to spouting quick one-liners
more suited to a 1990s Channel Four comedy.
Baggage could be a decent touring production, with cuts. As it
stands, there's just too much baggage.
GEORGE SAVVIDES reviews: AN INCIDENT AT
THE BORDER (Trafalgar Studios until 15 September):
Kieran Lynn's likable comedy was first seen at the Finborough Theatre
in Earl's Court before transferring to this equally small but attractive
studio. The action takes place in a park by a lake and Sophia Simensky's
pleasing design makes great use of the space. There is grass surrounded
by water and a bench in front of a bush.
A couple are here for a romantic day out, Arthur (Tom Bennet) is
feeding the ducks while his attractive girlfriend Olivia (Florence
Hall) is sitting on the bench reading the paper. She reads aloud
to an indifferent Arthur that their country has turned into a new
Republic and almost miraculously a border guard (Marc Pickering)
suddenly appears from behind the bush and promptly divides the space
with a tape announcing that this is the new border. The couple find
themselves on different sides and Reiver, the guard is determined
to keep Arthur away from his girlfriend- "He is prohibited to cross
the country without permission" he adamantly claims. Olivia is obviously
flabbergasted and tries to convince him otherwise and insists that
her boyfriend "is the opposite of dangerous".
It is a silly but fun premise in the style of Eastern European
absurdist drama where reality spirals out of control and becomes
a living nightmare. Lynn has a good ear for dialogue and has created
fully fleshed characters but can't hide the fact that his one idea
play feels more like an over extended sketch. All three actors deliver
committed performances but are in desperate need of a subplot. Bennet
is excellent as the good natured and always smiling Arthur who keeps
on telling them that "I wish I was a duck" rather than face the
reality of the situation. Pickering is suitably eccentric as the
bureaucratic guard who blindly obeys orders without a second thought
while Hall is very effective in the more difficult part of Olivia,
the only person on stage desperate to keep a sense of reality amongst
the absurd circumstances. Overall it is an enjoyable production
and director Bruce Guthrie keeps the bizarre state of affairs flowing
till the very end.
Tamsin Greig stars as Hilary, a woman approaching 50 who faces
many problems in JUMPY (Duke of York's (until 3
November). She has an unexciting marriage to Mark (Ewan Stewart)
and a very difficult teenage daughter, Tilly (Bel Powley). Facing
the prospect of losing her job because of Government cuts, she walks
into her home and goes straight to the bottle for a couple of glasses
of wine each day.
One should not dismiss her troubles as just menopausal as the
issues she faces are very real and not just due to hormones. Agreed
she is dealing with a mid-life crisis but the reasons for her melt-down
are concrete. April De Angelis's comedy has many lines that are
extremely amusing and there is much laughter in the theatre, particularly
from parents who are having or have gone through a 15 year-old's
"You're ruining my life," phase.
Hilary, who was once an active feminist with participation
at the Greenham Common rallies, now questions modern feminism, "What
happened to it? What is left?" Although the writer does not dwell
on sexual politics and feminism, we are shown other aspects of Hilary's
life. In particular, her run-ins with her daughter who has to deal
with her own problems around her personal sexuality, as well as
trying to keep up a front with her mother. Hilary and her friend
Frances (Doon Mackichan), a woman working desperately hard to remain
sexually active, discuss the loss of Hilary's attractiveness as
her daughter develops both physically and emotionally. Doon Mackichan
gives a bravado comic turn when, as Frances, she executes a burlesque
dance in provocative clothes.
The play is well-written and there are good parts for all the characters,
even the more minor ones such as Tilly's friend (Seline Hizli),
who becomes a teenage mother and Tilly's boyfriends, young Josh
(James Musgrave) and Cam (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), who is attracted to
the older woman, Hilary. Simple sets depict Hilary's living-room
and bedroom and later scenes, which are all quite brief, beside
the sea. I would have liked to hear more political (small 'p') discussion,
but this play is a must see for Greig's versatile portrayal of a
woman on the verge of losing her self-esteem, her marriage and her
daughter's respect. In a flash she brings laughter to our lips followed
swiftly by feelings of sympathy and some sadness at her predicament.
There are two shows currently on at the Trafalgar Studios, (Box
office: 0844 871 7632) both running for under two hours. GEORGE
SAVVIDES reviews CELEBRITY NIGHT AT THE CAFE RED
(until 6 October):
Lily Bevan's likable but uneven comedy takes place on a Saturday
Night at the new Milton Keynes Cafe Red. This French chain restaurant
is fully booked. We only see three tables on the small stage, but
these beautifully fill Giuseppe and Emma Belli's attractive set.
The clientele is eager to taste the adventurous cuisine of Celebrity
Chef Roly Ryan (Mike Wozniak) who is visiting this branch for one
night only as part of a competition with other Cafe Reds - "the
cooking Olympics" Roly boasts.
Ben (James Rastall) is on a date with the French Sabine (Sarah
Lambie), who hardly speaks any English while the quietly shy Harry
(Leo Staar) is celebrating his sixth month anniversary with the
more extrovert and forthcoming Hillary (Lily Bevan). It is also
Lizzie's (Lorna Beckett) birthday who arrives with her best friends
Lucy (Jeany Spark) and Brianca (Victoria Lloyd). Brianca is very
happy to be there and is eager to lay eyes on Roly with whom she
had a one night stand the week before...
Writer Lily Bevan not only plays Hillary but also directs. She
inspires her actors to have fun - perhaps more than the audience
- but unfortunately her direction lacks focus especially when the
action shifts from one table to another. Luckily there is the strong
presence of Fred Machin and Alyi Metcalf as the Maitre D' and waitress,
who provide brief but fun entertainment with their mime and singing
interludes between the scenes. But that is not enough to raise this
production above mediocrity!
Running concurrently is ZELDA (until 4 October),
directed by Robert E. Goss, which features Kelly Burke, as the wife
of F. Scott Fitzgerald. In a solo performance lasting 70 minutes,
Burke presents a lively, constantly mood-changing presentation of
the Alabama heiress who won the heart of the great American writer.
She talks directly to the audience which sits on three sides of
the small stage area of Trafalgar Studios 2.
Burke has written the show herself with quotes from
Zelda Fitzgerald's writings. We find out that Zelda is in a psychiatric
hospital against her will and that she has been diagnosed a schizophrenic.
Zelda looks back to her first meeting with Scott, their courtship
and marriage and remembers other incidents from her past. She is
keen to write but the authorities try to stop her especially when
Scott finds out that she is writing a novel about the couple's time
spent at the French Riviera. Scott is in the process of writing
Tender is the Night drawing on the same material and Zelda quotes
from her novel, Save Me the Waltz (eventually published in an unedited
form) and Scott's. Zelda frequently refers to herself as 'she' and
the couple as 'they.' She recalls drawing pictures of Gatsby for
9 hours to assist her husband, and tells us of her affairs.
One of the best parts is seeing Burke show us Zelda's sudden passion
for ballet at the age of 27 and her training to achieve success.
We see her descend into a manic state. Burke performs with energy
and we are able to appreciate the creativity that has gone into
preparing the material and presenting it in an artistic and mesmerising
Another great writer - this time Irish - is shown in two life-changing
episodes from his life. After virtually walking through his part
in the new film, Hysteria, Rupert Everett is superb as Oscar Wilde
in THE JUDAS KISS (Hampstead Theatre until 13 October),
a revival of the 1998 play written by David Hare and now directed
by Neil Armfield. He is neither camp nor over-flamboyant but is
genuinely moving in the two episodes of Wilde's life depicted on
Freddie Fox and Rupert Everett
in The Judas Kiss at Hampstead theatre, London.
In the first act we see Oscar Wilde, following the failure of
his libel suit against the Marquess of Queensberry, coming to the
Cadogan hotel in 1895. He refuses to leave and go into exile to
save himself from a prison sentence. We watch as Everett as the
middle-aged Wilde takes his time in ordering and eating a luxurious
meal. In his inter-action with his young lover, Lord Alfred Douglas,
known as Bosie, (Freddie Fox) Wilde treats his peculiar views as
equally important to those of his long-term friend, Robbie Ross
(Cal MacAninch), who desperately wants Wilde to leave quickly and
travel to safety in France. Oscar, "I've always had a low opinion
of action," stays in England.
In the second act, a broken Wilde, having served
his two years in prison, is back with Bosie who has invited Oscar
to join him in Naples. Bosie has no money to support the now broke
Wilde but tries to carry on a gay life-style. Some of the audience
seemed very excited at the sight of the handsome naked fisherman
(Tom Colley), who is most at ease sitting and talking to Oscar.
It is only now that Wilde is able to comprehend the true nature
of his boy love - his complete selfishness and self-absorption.
Staying with Bosie loses Oscar the support of his wife. Everett's
Wilde looks older and ill now.
Alongside Everett, Fox's Bosie proves a good-looking, somewhat
hysterical partner who is used to having what he wants when he wants
it. He is a little too screechy at times. The small parts are all
played as real people not just caricatures and the set design manages
to depict the two different settings admirably: the large double
bed in Act I replaced by a single bed in Act 2. In order to have
his mother's money, Bosie leaves Oscar alone.
The play is more than worthy of a West End transfer.
HEDDA GABLER is now playing at the Old Vic (until
It is difficult to achieve the right balance between showing
Hedda as a woman restricted to a narrow life and trying to expand
her horizons and the wickedness she displays particularly in her
dealings with Thea. Sheridan Smith manages to portray the complete
woman. The variety of her little smiles to her husband as he waxes
lyrical about his boring research, to the aunt when she deliberately
mistakes her new hat for one belonging to the maid are a lesson
in subtle acting.
Sheridan Smith and Daniel
Lapaine in Hedda Gabler at the Old Vic
Hedda finds it hard to welcome Thea Elvsted (Fenella
Woolgar), who she tormented at school, as a visitor to her new home
and deliberately sets out to encourage Eilert Loevborg (Daniel Lapaine)
to misbehave socially and eventually lead him to suicide. Director
Anna Mackmin has directed her cast well and the design of the stage
showing a house in 1890 looks fine. The only trouble is that the
constant opening and closing of the doors from the living room through
to the inner room and the doors at either side to other rooms becomes
Woolgar shows her secret love for Eilert in a sensitive performance,
while Daniel D'Silva as Judge Brack is villainous without being
too obviously so. I enjoyed the subtlety of Adrian Scarborough's
George Tesman; he is able to show his great love for his wife alongside
his complete ignorance of her and any understanding of her true
character. As usual Anne Reid gives a good little performance in
her characterisation of George's Aunt Juliana. Smith stands beautifully
upright and her Hedda encourages Eilert to die "beautifully". When
he doesn't perform to her satisfaction, she feels compelled to act.
The ending is a bit more dramatic than usual and we actually see
While there are some peculiarities in Brian Friel's translation,
such as an extra speech by Tesman about his wonderful slippers,
the production is well performed and Sheridan Smith is amazingly
Also worth seeing: BULLY BOY (St James Theatre
until 27 October), in which Anthony Andrews stars as Oscar the Officer
in charge of the investigation and Joshua Miles as Eddie, a member
of the Bully Boys gang. Eddie has been deemed responsible for the
death of a young Arab boy. The actors, in a number of short scenes,
show a variety of emotions alone and involving each other. The play,
well-written by Sandi Toksvig, is directed by Patrick Sandford in
a dramatic fashion so that the quiet, contemplative scenes are followed
by those full of action, and the 90 minutes running time speeds
by. The two actors respond well to each other and the play has a
certain vitality although little jollity.
The new St James Theatre should be proud of its first show. It
is good, too, to have a bar with bar food in addition to a restaurant,
on the premises. The whole place is accessible by lift although
the steps inside the main auditorium are steep.
Another short show can be seen at the Print Room Theatre, London.
THOM PAIN (Based on Nothing) By Will Eno (until
13 October). Lasting just 60 minutes, Will Eno's play is directed
by Simon Evans with John Light as Thom Pain. Thom talks directly
to the audience about his life - childhood through to adulthood.
It often seems as though Thom is improvising as he goes along, but,
in fact, it is all carefully scripted and there is even a copy of
the play on sale at the theatre. There is a little incident about
10 minutes into the show, when a man in the middle of the second
row rises from his seat and leaves quietly and Thom comments on
this - all in the script!
He tells little anecdotes, deviating in the middle of a story and
throwing in non-sequitors, "I have a shirt like that" to a member
of the audience. The monologue is well-written and performed on
a simply set stage area. Most of it is amusing but there are also
dramatic events described in detail. The actor's stand-up comedian
routine is amusing, "I strike people as a person who just left,"
but he is not as good as other "real" stand-up performers. As usual
the lovely little Print Room uses its stage space imaginatively.
WHAT YOU WILL (Apollo Theatre, London until
6 October) is another short show (90 minutes), although this time
on a West End stage. Roger Rees presents excerpts from Shakespeare
in a very friendly manner. He tells amusing or dramatic old theatrical
anecdotes and stories about past actors, including David Garrick
and Ralph Richardson who performed Shakespeare.
On a stage littered with props (he actually only uses a dagger) he shows us a living Shakespeare, commenting on his own life and his rise from the ranks of the RSC, alongside Ben Kingsley, to starring status - I remember him best as a magnetic Nicholas Nickleby in the excellent production of the same name. Rees throws in comments from other actors and reads out very funny schoolboy howlers, "Shakespeare wrote in Islamic pentameters." This is an enjoyable, easy to follow production.