Your Garage botysf16 Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc PME Fire TV Stick Sun Care Patriotic Picks Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer AllOrNothingS1 AllOrNothingS1 AllOrNothingS1  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Segway miniPro
Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sparkles like champagne, May 1, 2011
This review is from: THE BRETTS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (DVD)
Who says Masterpiece Theatre is boring? One of their most entertaining series has been "The Bretts," a sparkling soap opera set in the roaring 20s. It suffers from some random plot twists (and character departures), but is entertainingly soapy fun.

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.

And the tragedies and drama -- Martha partying to forget her lost loves, Edwin's suspended contract -- are tempered by comedy (the near-disastrous Cinderella play). And just when you think things are going to calm down, some dirty secret or problem arises, and the Bretts are back to slinging witty repartee at one another.

One of the biggest storylines is the elder Bretts resisting the movies, as their kids accept that this is the way of the future. You want Charles to succeed, yet know that ultimately he's going to fail -- or else accept that movies are here to stay, and that he better get involved.

But it's not perfect. The writers seem to have made it up as they went along, causing a previously unknown sister (the rather flat Perdita) to pop up in one episode, when she had never been mentioned before. Two supporting characters vanish with little explanation and are never referred to again, and one adorable character dies for... no reason, really. He just does.

Rodway and Murray are the stars here. Charles and Lydia are strong-willed actors both, which leads to some arguments, and yet Rodway and Murray bring across how much they love and depend on each other -- even due to past transgressions, such as an affair that produced a child.

The supporting actors vary in strength: Lang is languidly brilliant as the sardonic, talented Martha, but Yelland is stiff, and Winter's Thomas is just a naively twerpy Communist. The servant actors are excellent, though, and so are Charles' ancient-but-still feisty parents.

"The Bretts" has a lot of dangly threads and awkwardly dropped characters, but this sprawling soapy drama is loads of fun. Long live the stage!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]


Review Details

Item

Reviewer

EA Solinas
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: MD USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 242