Review for Victoria Wood: Screenplays
When I saw this disk, I thought that maybe Victoria Wood had written some films that I was unaware of. Watching these 'films' all one hour television dramas, I was struck by how much they reminded me of Alan Bennett's work. Though mainly known for being a sketch, sitcom and stand-up writer, it is startling to find these very mature pieces of work.
Talent and Nearly a Happy Ending stars Wood and Julie Walters as two friends one glamorous Julie (played by Walters) and one dowdy Maureen (Wood). In Talent it is almost a behind the scenes look at a talent show and in these days of X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, this show couldn't be more relevant, with the longing for the easy steps to fame. This particular play is wonderfully written and acted, though you can almost feel that Wood wishes that someone else was playing her part for her. Walters however shines as the star she would later become. Nearly A Happy Ending follows the characters again, though this one is a little more bland and whereas the music made sense in Talent, the singing in this was a little bizarre and out of place. However, as a character piece it's still pretty good with some funny moments. Happy Since I Met You does not star Wood instead having Tracey Ullman play alongside Julie Walters, Duncan Preston and Jim Bowen. Yes, you read that correct. Jim 'Bullseye' Bowen. This is almost reason enough to watch the show at all and it is surprising that he never got more acting work as he is pretty good as is everyone within this piece. However, though it is wonderfully acted and the writing is amazing, the lack of Wood's onscreen presence does have an effect on the piece and it doesn't feel as funny as the rest.
Watching these plays, it is surprising that no one has commissioned Wood to write a film. Her gift of dialogue, characters and humour is wonderful and would certainly suit the Calendar Girls, Billy Elliot themes that we seem to do so well in films. These three are a great look at how Victoria Wood developed, not just as a writer, but also as an actress as well and though some commentaries or interviews would have been great, these pieces do stand up to the test of time and will be enjoyed by kitchen sink drama and Victoria Wood fans alike.