WEEK IN REVIEW

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The Independent Culture
THE PLAY

Plunder

overview

Silly asses, young gels, upper-class twits, a battleaxe, a bounder and lots of cut-glass accents rush around in this Ben Travers farce. Written in 1928, it centres around a bungled jewellery robbery on a country house weekend. Griff Rhys Jones, Sara Crowe and Kevin McNally star in a production directed by

Peter James.

Paul Taylor was not amused. "Not even Griff Rhys Jones's gentle genius for this genre can endear you to Plunder." "It has passed its sell-by date," agreed the Guardian.

"Lack[s] the right sense of fluster and sufficient farcical pace - plodding where it should canter," noted the Standard. "Not exactly oversophisticated. But who expects Travers to be Coward or Feydeau?" indulged the Times. "A show for Rhys Jones fans," conceded the FT. "A richly entertaining evening and pleasure is increased by the knowledge that prigs in the audience will be having a terrible time," smirked the Telegraph.

At the Savoy Theatre, London W1 to 1 Feb. (0171-836 8888)

This play could possibly be saved by good direction. That is precisely what's missing here.

THE TV DRAMA

Moll Flanders

A four-part dramatisation for ITV of The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, a bawdy romance by Daniel Defoe, adapted by the ubiquitous Andrew Davies, directed by David Attwood and promising 17 bedroom scenes. Starring Alex Kingston as the "17th century fox" of ITV's huge poster campaign.

Thomas Sutcliffe was deeply grateful that ITV was screening primetime drama. "Even if Moll had been played by Samantha Fox... I would have tried to be encouraging and, in truth, it was a lot better than that." "Terrific entertainment value, stylish and fast-moving ... I shall be watching their every move, using slow-motion replays where necessary," salivated the Mail. "Has pace but lacks rhythm, as if rushing through the boring bits," sniffed the Times. "Kingston gives a throbbing performance approved the Guardian. "If the Olympics had existed, she could have bonked for Britain," yelped the Mirror.

Parts 3 & 4 on ITV on Sunday & Monday at 9pm.

A suitably saucy romp.

THE FILM

Home for the Holidays

Jodie Foster's latest directorial outing is a film about family values put to the test over Thanksgiving. Her cast is ripe with acting talent from young mother Holly Hunter and her gay brother Robert Downey Jnr, Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning as their parents, to Geraldine Chaplin as a mad aunt.

Adam Mars-Jones sighed at the inevitable mellowing from snow to slush. "As neutral as water - but nowhere near as useful." "Foster works everyone too hard in an effort to lighten up," judged the Standard. "Perceptive moments are followed by rowdy excess. Best appreciated in small doses," havered the Times. "Pushes the gags too hard ... may look better on the small screen," winced Time Out. "Bad drama, or, more accurately, no drama," pronounced the Spectator. "Sixty four turkeys were used in filming the Christmas dinner, which makes 65 in all," shuddered the FT.

Cert 15. On general release.

Initially less saccharine than you expect but ultimately disappointing.

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