EXEC PRODS Pauline Burt, Christopher Figg, James Gallimore, Keith Potter, Robert Whitehouse
PRODS Jonathan Finn, Dan Lupovitz
SCR Laurence Coriat
CAM Charlotte Bruus Christensen
PROD DES Jacqueline Abrahams
MUS Joby Talbot
PROD CO Big Pond Productions / Bad Wolf Films
If you enjoyed Danny Boyle’s quintessentially British Olympics opening ceremony this summer, you’ll savour many of the same slightly bonkers but stirring virtues in Marc Evans’ crowd-pleasing coming-of-age comedy, and especially in the end-of-term production of The Tempest that drama teacher Vivienne (a particularly inspired Minnie Driver) re-imagines as a full-blown rock musical.
We are in the summer of 1976. The students are apathetic and the staff is positively hostile, but Vivienne means to put on a show that “William Shakespeare and David Bowie would be proud of.” In the time-honoured tradition of backstage musicals, a lot goes wrong before it all comes right on the night: these kids are coping with broken homes, coming to terms with their own sexuality, failing exams and falling in love. But when they get up on stage and sing… Wow!
No one would claim that Hunky Dory breaks new ground in the well-trodden footsteps of films about inspirational teachers, but this is as much Dazed and Confused as Dead Poets Society; take it from someone who was in school in Britain in 76, Evans tells it like it was. And the young cast is extraordinary, especially rising star Aneurin Barnard, whose renditions of Bowie, The Who, The Beach Boys and ELO are genuine show-stoppers. Eclectic arrangements by composer Joby Talbot (The Divine Comedy) are another major contribution to this heartwarming movie—they may even bring a tear to your eye.