I went to see Morris: a life with bells on last night, in an unusually busy cinema for a Monday. Yes, it’s a one joke film - Strictly Ballroom with Morris dancing - but it sustains it surprisingly well. Moreover it cost only £500 000 to make; a much better deal than the average “gentle British comedy”. The acting is good (Ian Hart, Derek Jacobi, Greg Wise, and Harriet Walter ought to be, though there is one moment when Walter is visibly trying quite hard not to giggle), and it looks rather good, too. It’s not great art, there’s a fair amount of trading in stereotypes, but it is genuinely funny, which goes a long way in a comedy. The Morris dancers in the audience seemed to enjoy it.
That said, the best quote probably came at lunchtime, when I was returning from buying my ticket.
Student on other side of the road: We’ll have to go and see it.
American student: But aren’t these traditions just all made up?
Student on the other side of the road: It’s older than Mormonism.
American student, now revealed to belong to the LDS: Well…
Now I wonder, can Mervyn Bunter Morris dance, or does he just pretend not to?