Hunky Dory

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South Wales, 1976. An outsider in her own school, drama teacher Vivienne (Driver) tries to tap the talent in her young charges by putting on a musical interpretation of Shakespeare's The Tempest. The gifted teens, sensitive Davey (Barnard) among them, have their eyes on other prizes though.


Harassed teacher Minnie Driver Driver coaxes apathetic Welsh teens through a musical version of The Tempest set on Mars. (It’s been done, love.) It’s the ’70s, so the ensemble — none of them Broadway material, with the exception of Aneurin Barnard, already an Olivier Award winner — quaver their way through Bowie’s Ziggy phase, a touch o’ Tommy and a spot of Nick Drake. The other teachers hate Driver’s Miss, the dreary youth are preoccupied with amours or family dysfunctions and someone burns down the gym, but it’ll be alright on the night, right? One might make an argument for rawness over the polished absurdity of Glee or High School Musical, but when every old cliché of the Putting On The Show Right Here genre is trotted out, the execution can’t be this poor.

There's lo-fi charm in the musical numbers and heartfelt turns from the young cast but the story drifts along without offering much that we haven't seen before.