THE BRETTS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
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"The fine high style of Masterpiece Theatre at its frothiest" --The Wall Street Journal
"Delightfully dizzy clan of Brits" --Houston Chronicle
"Urbane and amusing" --Los Angeles Times
The Bretts have ruled the London stage since the 1880s. Patriarch Charles (Norman Rodway, Reilly: Ace of Spies) is a matinee idol and a womanizer. His wife, Lydia (Barbara Murray, The Pallisers), is a glamorous star of musical comedies. Their five children include actors and a radical playwright, and their dramatic household is further enlivened by loyal but gossipy servants.
But now it’s the late 1920s, and times are changing. As talking pictures loom and Hollywood calls, the family buys a West End theatre to manage. Hilarity, tragedy, and slapstick ensue as the battling Bretts struggle to maintain the life they have always known.
Seen on Masterpiece Theatre and co-created by Upstairs, Downstairs writer Rosemary Anne Sisson, this British series is brimming with wit and Roaring Twenties flair.
Top Customer Reviews
The only downside I found was a bit of overacting by the male lead Charles (Norman Rodway) who appears older than 55. On the other hand, an aspect I enjoyed was cases where special effects (i.e. fog), excessive make-up, obviously painted backdrops, and those overacting bits helped keep the entire series in the ambiance of the late 20's theatre. Scenes may be showing the actors in their plays or talkies, other times it is in their dining, bed, or living rooms, it all works to make this a Roaring 20's atmosphere. I could not help but think of another spectacular series of the period, "House of Elliott". Costuming is spot on.
You will not only enjoy the dramatic lives of star performers, but also the home-life, even bickering and rivalry between the all-acting kin. Lydia (Barbara Murray-Pallisers) is matriarch. Brett siblings: Martha (Belinda Lang-2.4 Children); her twin Edwin (David Yelland-David Copperfield); Thomas (George Winter-Merlin); Perdita (Sally Cookson); & married Nell Caldwell (Victoria Burton-Gems).Read more ›
Charles and Lydia Brett (Norman Rodway, Barbara Murray) were the stars of the 1890s stage, with his costume dramas and their shared romantic comedies. Now they live with three of their kids: party-girl actress Martha (Belinda Lang), not-so-successful actor Edwin (David Yelland) and blooming socialist playwright Thomas (George Winter).
The series opens rather weakly, when Charles and Lydia briefly break up over Charles hiring a sexy secretary, and his new swashbuckler almost bombs. But things stabilize as the main problems arise -- stages are being replaced with silver screens. Soon Edwin has become a hot Hollywood star, with the movie adaptation of his dad's latest play.
Charles is determined to keep the London stages from being overtaken, and refuses to have anything to do with the movies (though he's willing to vacation at Edwin's villa). But the biggest drama is BEHIND the scenes: secret pregnancies, drug addictions, scam artists, rape, murder, heart attacks, trips to decadent Berlin, lawsuits, illegitimate children, the IRA, fatal illnesses, shattered engagements, illicit affairs, and much more.
Basically, "The Bretts" is about packing as much drama as possible into a matter of episodes. And it's even more entertaining, since it's set in the sparkling era between world wars, with plenty of flappers, spangled clothing, communism, and glamorous homes in the South of France.Read more ›
The Bretts have ruled the London stage since the 1880s. Patriarch Charles (Rodway) is a matinee idol and a womanizer. His wife, Lydia (Murray) is a glamorous star of musical comedies. Their five children include actors and a radical playwright, and their dramatic household is further enlivened by loyal but gossipy servants.
Now it’s the late 1920s, and times are changing. As talking pictures loom and Hollywood calls, the family buys a West End theatre to manage. The Bretts is a glimpse into the lives of a theatrical family whose most dramatic moments often occur at home.
Jon Ted Wynne Review:
Watching THE BRETTS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION coincided with a recent trip to London where I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting a friend at the Garrick Club, London’s most exclusive Arts Club.
Referenced repeatedly in THE BRETTS, the club is a celebration of theatre artists. It is this atmosphere, this ode, this great homage to all British actors that is at the heart and centre of the brilliantly conceived series THE BRETTS.
Who are the Bretts?Read more ›