Draw On Sweet Night **
Dir: Tony Britten. With: Mark Arends, Doon Mackichan, Sophia Di Martino, Christian McKay. 86 mins. Cert: 12A
Tony Britten combined music and mummery to leavening effect in Peace and Conflict, his 2013 film on his composer namesake Benjamin. His latest makes starchy work of a notionally sexier subject – Elizabethan madrigalist John Wilbye’s saucy relations with his patrons – by having rep actors roam heritage sites, declaiming stylised period dialogue; bland cutaways to a modern chorister’s lovelife strain to illustrate the loin-stirring capabilities of Wilbye’s music. Casting the reliably Amazonian Doon Mackichan as a 17th century Mrs. Robinson suggests some spoofery is afoot, but everything’s played straight-faced; instead of gags, we get lutes. For all its high-minded ambition, the passion’s leaked out of this particular project.
Draw On Sweet Night is now playing in selected cinemas.