bring the drama
Alice and Jack
You won’t learn this in first aid class. There’s Ben Mitchell on the floor of the Queen Vic, choking on his own blood while dad Phil goes into hysterics. Taking a knife and a pen tube, Sonia calmly cuts Ben’s chest to create an airway.
The first test of comedian Bill Bailey’s reality competition for eight amateur actors, Bring The Drama (BBC1), saw contestants recreate one of EastEnders’ classic scenes, where Sonia Fowler saves Ben’s life after a shooting.
God only knows if this could work in real life. Bill didn’t seem to think it was a good idea. “Don’t try this at home,” he warned, as if hundreds of BBC2 viewers were already rummaging through the cupboard for a pen and scissors.
The set piece certainly generated a lot of excitement. Natalie Cassidy, the brilliant actress who actually plays Sonia on the show, was a guest judge and warned against falling into melodrama.
That’s an interesting observation. EastEnders is an ongoing melodrama, after all, but it works because the cast make it seem like normal life. There is no need for tragic gestures or handshakes: the stories are huge, so the performance can focus on small details.
The first test of Bill Bailey’s reality competition for eight amateur actors saw the contestants recreate a classic scene from EastEnders, where Sonia Fowler saves Ben’s life after a shooting.
The scene certainly generated a lot of emotion in Bring The Drama, but there was no need for tragic gestures or handshakes: the actors had to focus on the small details.
There’s no shortage of drama in Alice & Jack on Channel 4, starring Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson as a pair of lovers whose affair is like a poisonous addiction.
The oldest of the students, Janice, a 67-year-old healthcare assistant, caught on quickly. Playing Sonia, she let the slightest hint of doubt cross her face, before pursing her lips in determination and sinking the pen. I’m still not convinced of the wisdom of bar surgery, but I believed Janice was really doing it. .
However, we don’t get to this moment until the last 15 minutes of the show. Most of the episode involved too much formulaic preparation, with heavily edited auditions that were meant to keep us on edge.
Who will earn the casting director’s praise? Whose dreams will be crushed by a mouthful of criticism? Who will be the first to tell us that they are doing this (sob!) for his dead grandmother? Who cares? Did we just meet these people?
Judge Kelly Valentine Hendry was careful to emphasize that if a performance gets her excited, she’s likely to drop her pen. It’s apparently the drama school equivalent of a Paul Hollywood handshake, but as applause, it lacks drama. Maybe she wants to work on that.
There’s no shortage of drama in the six-part romance Alice & Jack (Chapter 4), starring Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson as a pair of lovers whose affair is like a poisonous addiction.
Jack is a good guy, a kind scientist with a new wife (Aisling Bea) and a baby, but he lacks the courage to tell the rich, lonely Alice to get lost when she comes back into his life, showing up unannounced at his door. Workplace. 18 months after they broke up.
She says she wishes him and his family nothing but happiness…then tells him she can’t face life without him.
His weakness is what attracts her. From the moment they meet, through a dating app, she taunts and bullies him. It’s brutal: she sleeps with him and then kicks him out, waits for his text messages and then deletes them.
This is classic abusive behavior from the start. She asks him what he does, makes fun of it, relents and calls him adorable, then asks him how she thinks she’s going to die. If her dress was adorned with red flags and her shirt said “Run from me now,” the message couldn’t be clearer.
If this were a drama about a cruel, manipulative man playing with a gullible girl, we’d be disgusted, but somehow, with the sexes reversed, it’s supposed to be quirky and attractive. I’ll continue with this (continues tonight), but so far, it’s hard to feel sympathy for any of them.