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parrot_knight [userpic]

Colin Baker as Colin Dexter's (Inspector) Morse

September 15th, 2010 (12:22 am)

I spent this evening (with some usual suspects) seeing Colin Baker essay Detective Chief Inspector Morse in Alma Cullen's Colin Dexter-authorised play The House of Ghosts at the New Theatre (which some of those on my flist will remember as the Apollo) in Oxford. Alma Cullen is an experienced television Morse hand and delivers a play (it's not an adaptation of a Dexter story) with beats familiar to television viewers: the Oxford setting, connections with university academics, former students returning to the university, all of whom are Morse's college contemporaries, and who are connected to the murder. As for Morse's latest romantic interest...

The staging was straightforward but effectively suggested theatre, chapel, college room and office. Be careful where you look, if you go, if you don't like torches being shone in your eyes, effective though it was.

Colin Baker's Morse (the term 'Inspector Morse' was absent from the programme and publicity, presumably it's a trademark of the ITV series) was at first less of a presence than one imagines John Thaw's would have been. One is not comparing like with like, of course. Colin Baker brings in some Thawesque mannerisms but as the play unfolds proves very good at depicting a Morse unhappily triangulated between competing loyalties, his devotion to solving puzzles, and his own tenuous sense of self-worth. Deliberately and curiously nostalgic - set in 1987, most of the actors playing fortysomethings seemed to be much older, reminiscent of the 1970 version of The Railway Children - I think most of the audience agreed that it was worthy of the Barrington Pheloung theme music at the end.


Posted by: thanatos_kalos (thanatos_kalos)
Posted at: September 15th, 2010 10:11 am (UTC)

that show is coming down here next week; if I can afford tix I might go. :)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 15th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)

It's worth seeing, and very televisual in the rapid 'cutting' from scene to scene, but necessarily theatrical too.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: September 15th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
Radcliffe Camera

I haven't actually seen the TV Morse, although I've read four of the novels. I can definitely imagine Colin Baker as Morse, though.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 15th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)

I think that he could have nuanced his performance a bit better, sometimes seeming a little flat among an array of convincing caricatures (I forgot to mention The Flumps and Les Mis's Gay Soper almost getting a ripple of applause for her turn as alcoholic actress Verity Carr drunkenly confessing to Morse and Lewis in the pub.)