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REVIEW by Pippa Boyce, 15/03/2001 (with minor additions by Rikkie Garcia)

BEGINNER'S LUCK

written, directed and produced by James Callis & Nick Cohen

Starring (amongst others) Julie Delpy, Stephen Berkoff and James Callis

 

The story opens with a bloke called Mark (played by James who also narrates the film) becoming inspired to follow his dreams (well, that's got to be better than the 9 to 5 grind, hasn't it?) and setting up a theatre company. Easy! With no money, no experience and only the vision of a fantastic magical island to keep him going, he sets about gathering a cast and booking a theatre. Admittedly, it's just the downstairs of a strip club, and the cast have never acted before in their lives, but everyone has to start somewhere. The group of friends and (wannabe) actors, now called The Vagabond Theatre Company, take their show, Shakespeare's The Tempest, on the road (London is followed by Edinburgh with the goal of eventually performing in Paris) in search of the critical acclaim and success that must surely be their destiny. Strangely enough, they discover it isn't that simple and it is curryhouses rather than fame that seem to await them.

Retelling any more of the action would give away too much, but it has all the necessary elements of a twenty-something road movie: friends and fights, anarchy and magic, along with a good smattering of witty lines and the ubiquitous battered VW van. James Callis devotees and connoisseurs will not be disappointed, as he is constantly on the screen, and the rest of the cast are also excellent.  Filmed in approved Brit-movie style with silent-movie boards separating the scenes and themes and a varied and complementary soundtrack, we can only hope that one of the agents snaps it up soon. No doubt we shall hear in due course...

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