Old Times article (2002) re MK's acting skills

Old Times article (2002) re MK's acting skills

Postby Lynnedean » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:27 am

This must surely have been posted before, but, if so, I can't find it, so I'm popping it in here ...

    From The Times, 16 November 2002

    The genius of gesture
    From hand-to-hand encounters on the Spanish Steps to a face that turns a Kitchen into a mastercass
    By Jonathan Meades

    Over the past month something unusual and heartening has occurred on television. Michael Kitchen’s playing of the title role in a show called Foyle’s War on ITV on Sunday nights is uplifting because it is an unalloyed display of high art.

    That it should occur in a compromised medium that shies from excellence and where it is pygmies who make all the noise renders it all the rarer. His performance is singular, serious, very quiet. He does something that only the greatest actors are capable of, that is to convince in character while employing consummate professional skills. He promotes the suspension of disbelief, yet thrills that part of us which yearns to be seduced by performance. When we witness a virtuoso musician we are simultaneously enthralled by the composition that is being played and by the artist’s compact with the instrument. Acting at this level is kindred.

    Kitchen’s instrument is his face. He has used it to create a gestural language of the utmost suppleness and complexity. I’m not sure that I get it all — there is evidently no key to it — but that does not inhibit my appreciation. The fact that one is now and again foxed by the meaning of this moue or that twitch doesn’t matter. Meaning takes second place to expression. Communicative usefulness is subjugated by the brio of the devices. His sheer control is awesome. His repertoire causes us to rethink the possibilities of facial musculature. He conjures tones that are beyond the capacity of even such masters of physiognomic colour as Lino Ventura and Alain Delon.

    Kitchen’s thrilling performance is conducted within the depressingly banal confines of yet another detective series. This one is set in the picturesque bits of Hastings (the net huts, the old town, Coburg Place etc) early during the Second World War. The scripts are predictably anachronistic — for instance, the word “starter” as a meal’s first course was unknown before the 1970s. The plotting contrives to be both preposterous and clichéd.

    Yet it doesn’t matter. For most starry actors such hackneyed shows are little more than vehicles for one-dimensional turns every bit as threadbare as the cosy consolations of the English murder.

    Witnessing Michael Kitchen in this show is, I suppose, about on a par with witnessing Alfred Brendel play S Club Seven’s greatest hits — now, there’s an idea for a telly executive. But better that than no Brendel at all.

    There are occasions when an interpretation can quite overcome the creation it supposedly serves.
"Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long." ~ Ogden Nash
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Re: Old Times article (2002) re MK's acting skills

Postby starlight » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:39 pm

Thanks for sharing this, Lynne. I've seen the Meades comment quoted in a piece by Stephen Lacey on Foyle's War. called The Blitz Detective.

Image

It appears in a collection of essays Contemporary British Television Crime Drama: Cops on the Box.
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Re: Old Times article (2002) re MK's acting skills

Postby Lynnedean » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:32 pm

Very interesting. Thanks, Starlight. :thumbsup:
"Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long." ~ Ogden Nash
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Re: Old Times article (2002) re MK's acting skills

Postby kitchenwonder » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:36 pm

I find both posts interesting. Of course, the glowing words for Kitchen are appreciated.

I am disheartened by the dislike the first one has for the screenplay/ concept: "Kitchen’s thrilling performance is conducted within the depressingly banal confines of yet another detective series." I don't think the scripts are depressing or banal. Or any of the other negatives that author paints in his review.

Thanks to both of you for posting. :thumbsup:
"Well...The Foyles, you know, always have been hard to resist." (Enemy Fire S3E2)
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"If Michael Kitchen played a corpse, you would still watch him more than anyone else." (Jaci Stephen, The Mail, November 3, 2002)
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Re: Old Times article (2002) re MK's acting skills

Postby kitchentease » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:40 am

There are occasions when an interpretation can quite overcome the creation it supposedly serves.
Spot on, still miss FW more than words can say!
But, what does the brain matter....compared to the heart?
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Re: Old Times article (2002) re MK's acting skills

Postby amiga » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:07 pm

Thanks, Lynne and Starlight. Glowing words about him always make me happy. At the same time, they frustrate me. Why has he never won an award for Foyle? I don't remember ever reading a bad review for him. I know he doesn't play the game, but surely a 13 year consistent performance should override that.

While I love Pern, I so want to see him in something of his own. I would like to think he's sitting there with a pile of scripts on his desk, but I don't think so. Seems he wants to act, hence The Collection, which left a lot to be desired. Just not sure the offers are there, for some reason.

Amiga
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Re: Old Times article (2002) re MK's acting skills

Postby Wolesley » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:43 am

Wonderful articles, thanks!
:foyle1: :foylekiss:

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Re: Old Times article (2002) re MK's acting skills

Postby Sunshine » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:17 pm

He should have trophies, but I guess this will have to do:

:ten:
Just looked over the chapter on "Horse Racing and Illegal Rambling."

I haven't got the requisite capacity for deceit.
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