The Admirable Crichton
BBC RADIO 4 Saturday 2nd May 2009
Russell Tovey starred in JM Barrie's classic satire about the changing fortunes of Crichton, the perfect butler.
In an aristocratic Mayfair household, Crichton is devoted to his master, Lord Loam, even though he can't abide Loam's view that all men are equal. He detests his master's monthly tea parties where the family and their friends socialise with the servants. Nature, he argues, dictates that society needs masters and servants and people should stick to their status – for a butler to socialise with either a Lord or a stable-boy is abhorrent to him. Lady Mary, Loam's newly engaged daughter, shares Crichton's approval of social ranking and Crichton loves her disdain.
When the family is shipwrecked on a deserted island during their yachting trip, it's Crichton's resourcefulness which saves the day. Over the next two years on the island, their small society finds happiness and a brand new social order. And far away from the constraints of England, love affairs start to complicate relationships in their little tribe, with all the women desperate to win the heart of their beloved "Gov".
Russell Tovey played the enigmatic Crichton; David Bannerman played JM Barrie; Beth Chalmers played Lady Mary; David Timson played Lord Loam; Martha Howe-Douglas played Lady Agatha; and Gunnar Cauthery played Ernest Woolley.
95% of reviews were positive:
There were many positive reviews stating that the wonderful Russell Tovey was making a good job of playing Chichton. The few negative reviews said that Russell's flat vowels would not be acceptable in the day when butlers worked in the posher homes of England. My question is were they trying for realism or escapism?
You can take the boy out of Essex, but...