Thursday, 28 August 2008

The Last Word

This post's title isn't a way of saying I'm not going to blog anymore - au contraire, this in fact marks my long-overdue return to blogging after several months of silence! It really refers to a mini-series of thirty-minute dramas that recently aired on BBC One called The Last Word Monologues, thus named because they each feature a character on the verge of dying. I've only watched the first one, but it was so excellent that I thought I'd blog before I watch the other two.

Subtitled Before I call you in, this monologue had Sheila Hancock playing a woman with an untreatable illness recording her last message to her husband before her death. There were lots of snide reviews and comments in the press about Hancock's "stagey" performance, or the "unnatural" script, but I just found it incredibly poignant and beautiful. This is largely due to Hancock's masterfully restrained performance - she's always been known for her ability to do raw emotion effectively, and this is a perfect vehicle for her talents - but credit must go to the writer and director, Hugo Blick, too, as the interchange of anecdotes and reflection is very well-judged. The best bit, for me, is when the woman urges her husband to remarry within a year; this is when Hancock is at her best, gazing straight into the camera with tears in her eyes, blazing with sheer emotion.

Quick, get it on iPlayer before it goes!