First Night

First Night


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Sometimes - although thankfully not too often - you see a film that is so bad in almost every department, that it's hard to know where to start. First Night is such a film.

Its structure aims for Shakespeare, but is little more than shaky, its dialogue is dire and there is enough ham and wood in the performances to make a perfectly good barbecue. That could well come in handy to spit roast the remains of Mozart, who is surely spinning hard enough to dig his way out of his grave after this. The only thing to escape with its reputation intact is Wolfgang Amadeus' music for Così Fan Tutte, which offers the focal point for this mess.

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Richard E Grant is the super-rich Adam, who has decided to realise his lifelong ambition to sing in Mozart's famous opera by assembling an ad hoc company at his leafy estate. On hand to help is Celia (Sarah Brightman), a conductor, for whom Adam's candle burns bright. As the opera starts to take shape, life begins to mirror art through a series of 'comic' complications that have the all the freshness of a mothballed Fifties bedroom farce.

Is the love of Adam's life a lesbian? Can the man in a long-term relationship really be gay? Should some of the opera's cast have a side bet on who can bed whom? And, whoops, there go his trousers. There is, of course, nothing wrong with farce when executed briskly but Christopher Menaul's staging is static and his scripting sluggish.

As one of the characters talks about "a real story about real people", you can't help but wish you were watching one. Instead, with the exception of Mozart's music - for the most part rather amateurishly dubbed, along with considerable amounts of the dialogue - everything here hits a false note.

Reviewed on: 17 Oct 2011
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First Night packshot
A wealthy industrialist commissions a private production of Cosi Fan Tutte with an amateur cast whose complicated relationships mirror the themes of the opera itself.
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Glasgow 2011

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