Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Vincent Price and the horror of the English blood beast

This radio play by Matthew Broughton stemmed from an unusual idea - to look at the turbulent relationship between the (arguably declining) American horror star and Michael Reeves, the young, British "up-and-coming" director of the brutal but compelling 1968 film Witchfinder General. Intended to be lighthearted, the play was vaguely entertaining, but didn't quite come off.

The major problem in my opinion was the casting of Nickolas Grace as Vincent Price. Mr Grace seems to have played "camp" parts on a number of previous occasions and certainly brought this quality to his portrayal of Vincent Price. Unfortunately he sounded nothing like him; his American accent was unconvincing and there were few nuances in his vocalising. The other actors were much more believable, particularly Kenneth Cranham, as good as ever as producer Tony Tenser, although he wasn't asked to do much more than narrate. While it's hard to believe that Vincent Price was quite as camp in real life as the script suggests, this was an amusing play. As I post this, it's still available on the BBC iPlayer for a couple more days.

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