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Hunky Dory


Stars: Minnie Driver, Aneurin Barrnard, Haydn Gwynne, Robert Pugh., Danielle Branch, Steve Speirs, Julia Perez

Director: Marc Evans

Decades ago, there was an old British 'school musical' called It's Great to be Young. You may have seen it on TV. Well, this is It's Great to be Young with swearing. And there's nothing very great about being young for most of the pupils at a Swansea comprehensive in 1976.

Just as in the earlier film, however, they have an inspirational music teacher in the form of Vivienne (Driver), a hard-drinking, hard-cursing, hard-smoking but driven professional, currently engaged on putting on a pop musical based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. And very good it is, too, judging by what we see, far and above anything you witnessed in your school days.

But there are problems. The star, Davy (Barnard), is besotted with his leading lady (Branch), but she has eyes elsewhere. Tomos (Tim Harries) is wrestling with his sexuality. And Kenny (Darren Evans), from a family of skinheads, is, despite a glorious voice, in and out of the production before being accused of burning down the school hall.

At least, despite the machinations of the School Snoop (Gwynne), the headmaster (Pugh) is on Viv's side, especially after accepting the role of Prospero.

Nicely shot on location, the film's a bit long and shapeless, but I still liked it. And kudos to Driver and her dialogue coach for a convincing Welsh accent - no easy thing to achieve. Hers is a warm and winning performance.

David Quinlan

Wales 2011. UK Distributor: Entertainment-One. Colour by deluxe.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 28 Feb 2012