0.5 out of 10

Release Date: 7th September 2015

Director: Tony Britten (ChickLit)

Cast: Mark Arends, Doon Mackichan, Sophia Di Martino, Ania Sowinski with Nicky Henson and Christian McKay

Writer: Tony Britten



One thing worse than watching a low-budget horror film by teens and twenty-somethings that don’t have the first clue on how to making a piece of entertainment, is sitting through elitist, amateur dramatics masquerading as high-art. This painfully, stilted, boring and pompous telling of the life story of  17th century composer John Wilbye is as tortuous as I’ve ever experienced. I really thought it was a spoof from a Hale & Pace revue show but alas and alack its only accidentally funny, so poe-faced are the results.

As a docu-drama it fails to educate, as a drama it fails to engage or entertain and it’s just as wooden as the coffin I’m going to nail it in. Experienced actors blend with amateurs, yet they are made indistinguishable by a mysterous need for everybody to deliver their lines as if they are reading them from an autocue. It’s too stagey and brittle to convince on any level. I saw a naked boob at one point which was good though (that’s why it gets half a point).

John Wilbye, who is said to have written the best British madrigals lived in the employ / patronage of The Kitsons. This film shows him as he composes his music and seduces Lady Kitson and several other women. Set in a series of National Trust / English Heritage homes, somehow it still fails the authenticity test as every costume looks made especially for the film and all the sets look polished to death. The 17th century never looked so sparkling. Pity poor Christian McKay (RUSH) and Nicky Henson (GOZO) who have to had to endure this pompous plop. One day we’d like to hear how they got tricked into appearing in this boring vanity flick. What’s worse is that a parallel, modern day story runs parallel as a young singer is late for her recording. The sextet of John Wilbye fans bleat out Wilbye’s greatest hits at full pelt distracting the viewer from what poe-faced dialogue there is in the 17th century timeline. It’s a bad idea and makes a bad film, nigh on unwatchable…

The closest film  to which this resembles I can think of is Peter Greenaway’s Draughtsman’s Contract which is held in high regard by many a film fan. Think of this as a very pale facsimile without any of the intrigue, death or allure. It’s like the Madgrigal Composer’s Monotony…  Shit this pure should produce roses… Not this time.

0.5 out of 10 – Bore On Sweet Night. The worst biopic I’ll ever watch (hopefully).


  • Doon Mackichan: Plebs (TV), Toast of London (TV), The Comic Strip Presents…(TV), Smack The Pony (TV), Brass Eye (TV), Stressed Eric (voice)(TV), Our Mutual Friend (TV), The Borrowers (1997)
  • Sophia Di Martino: The Darkest Universe, Black Pond, Casualty (TV)
  • Anya Sowinski: Eddie The Eagle
  • Nicky Henson: We Still Die The Old Way, Narcopolis, We Still Kill The Old Way, Truth or Dare, Eastenders (TV), Me Without You, Parting Shots, Shine On Harvey  Moon (TV), Anyone For Sex?, There’s a Girl In My Soup, The Death Wheelers, All Coppers Are…, Witchfinder General, The Frost Report (TV)
  • Christian McKay: ChickLit, Florence Foster Jenkins,  The Theory of Everything, Northern Soul, Rush (2013), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Mr Nice, Me and Orson Welles

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