Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Casual Vacancy

Michael Gambon .... Howard Mollison Julia McKenzie .... Shirley Mollison Abigail Lawrie .... Krystal Weedon

I gave up reading the book about a third of the way through. With 25-ish characters, I had a hard time keeping everyone straight. Knowing that I needed more of a visual approach, I switched over to the video. Granted, keeping the characters straight was easier, but still, the overall story was not that entertaining.

Pagford is a village in turmoil since the push to move the lower classes out and a high-class spa in. The village council is divided, but when Barry Fairbrother dies and his seat on the council becomes available through a casual vacancy chaos ensues. To complicate matters further, the town explodes when videos and gossipy blog postings run rampant exposing what the members of the council would like to keep hidden.

Multiple stories abound with the town’s people fighting amongst themselves, children battling their parents and at the same time, central character Krystal is trying to save her mother. Add in strong women trying to man-up their husbands and a second stage has been set with nothing is as it seems in this idyllic village.

Abigail Lawrie is a fantastic actress and to be honest she is the only reason that I continued with the second and third episode. She carries the whole series with her honesty and vulnerability. Julia McKenzie is a deliciously evil mother-in-law with her snide comments and pixie smile. Then there is Michael Gambon, how could you not love his pretentious character; he is what drives most people to do the most awful things.

Based on a 500+ page book, I am sure that much was left out of the series, but what was included showed a very sharp picture of how things are never what they appear. Not a miniseries that I would recommend, but if you do chance watching, do it for Abigail Lawrie alone. She is the one shinning things in this adaptation.

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