Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Gangsters: The Bottom Five

As a final 'Gangsters' note, I just wanted to revisit the bit about the ‘abysmal’ acting. I can’t think of another show that has such a poor cast. I’m not sure if there was a dearth of black and Chinese and Asian actors around at the time, but the ones they have (with the exception of Sayeed Jeffrey) are terrible, and elaborate, overwritten dialogue plus unconvincing performances / mangled diction leads to a number of strange, stilted, uncomfortable scenes that do nothing apart from highlight that it’s all a big panto. Perhaps given the show’s experimental leanings this was deliberate, but either way it makes for a slightly awkward and jarring experience.

Anyway, in reverse order, here, in my opinion, are the five worst actors.

Maurice had a long career as an actor, latterly appearing in 'Howards Way'. He was always pretty wooden, but here he has to keep it all together as the star and he starts creaking as soon as he's asked to convey anything out of the ordinary. One of his signature bad acting traits is a soundless, mirthless laugh, and he uses it a lot here and it really gets on your nerves because because it's so poorly executed and incredibly fake.   

This is writer Philip Martin. He can obviously act (he played the villain in the original play very well), but his second series impersonation of W.C Fields is funny for approximately two minutes and then just seems staggeringly self-indulgent, especially when he can't quite keep up the pretence in key scenes.

Familiar to British audiences in both Chinese and Japanese roles, Lee always seems fast asleep. When he speaks, you can neither hear nor understand him, and his face doesn't form any kind of expression, so you're fucked if you're trying to follow the plot.

Aside from the fact that we share a first name, Mr. Satvendar does very little for me apart from to annoy. Shrill, slow to react, fond of rolling his eyes and almost forgetting his lines, Paul adds insult to injury by suffixing almost every sentence with a high-pitched hollow giggle and killing virtually every scene he's in stone dead. Awful.

This fellow is just terrible. He can't even walk around convincingly and his laugh (bit of a  recurring motif - I often find you can judge an actor by how they laugh and cry) is a thing of cringing terror. Luckily, his character is written as something of a joke (he has a ridiculous hat and keeps quoting from gangster films) and he gets knocked off pretty quick so it's not like he's given much to do - but what he does do is SHIT.

Who's your favourite terrible actor? And your least favourite? And what's the difference? 

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