|Tamzin Merchant as Rosa Bud (groan) and Freddie Fox as Edwin in The Mystery of Edwin Drood|
PBS aired The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the "tale of an opium-addicted choirmaster with an erotic obsession with his nephew's teenage fiancée", this past Sunday. I have been thoroughly enjoying Dickens Month on PBS Masterpiece and so watched this with high hopes but no expectations particularly, as I have never read the unfinished last novel of Dickens nor had I ever seen a film adaptation of this story. And I think that is likely why I loved this so much!
|Matthew Rhys, Tamzin Merchant and Freddie Fox in The Mystery of Edwin Drood|
You see, the problem with adapting The Mystery of Edwin Drood for the screen, is that you have to come up with an ending for it as well because poor Dickens had a stroke and died before he was able to finish the book. So how it ends is really the mystery!
Gwyneth Hughes (writer of Miss Austen Regrets) had to decide whether to use endings that had already been written for the story by others, or whether to come up with one herself. She opted for the latter, saying of Dickens "you feel the presence in the room but you can't allow yourself to be frightened by it. You've got to be inspired by it... try to imagine that Dickens is quite amused and not going 'silly cow what are you doing?'"
|Matthew Rhys as the opium addicted choirmaster John Jasper|
I have to say the acting was top notch but there are a few that stood out. Ron Cook as Durdles the stonemason was a hoot, constantly referring to himself in the third person- spot on as a Dickensian "character". As was David Dawson as Bazzard/Datchery. He was hilarious and riveting as the spy from London in this story.
|Alfie Davis as "Deputy" in The Mystery of Edwin Drood|
So go ahead and catch this online at Masterpiece on PBS before the middle of May. You won't regret it (unless you have read the novel!)