“Juries are like almighty God, they move in mysterious way.”
Rumpole returns in a new series of memories. In this episode, Rumpole embarks on a case of a vicar accused of stealing six shirts and must advise George Frobisher from marrying a con artist.
Timothy West is an excellent over head narrator. He sparkles in the reading and you can tell that even though the shadow of the late, great Leo McKern, he truly embodies the role excellently. He’s not the same Rumpole but just as good, if not in some ways slightly better than Mr McKern’s performance.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Rumpole very similarly to how he plays Holmes, quite unable to express emotion to a certain extent. Cumberbatch’s performance is as the role needs to be though – slightly cold. He is very witty in his deliverance of the lines. My only objection to his performance is that at some points, Cumberbatch’s Rumpole impression does sound slightly like a walrus with a cold. Maybe, in future, Cumberbatch should use his own voice instead of a rather bad impression of Leo McKern. Apart from this slight note, I did throughly enjoy Cumberbatch’s performance.
Adrian Scarborough is excellent as the Vicar. His very meek performance comes across well and fits with the character of a Vicar who questions his belief in God. It also shows how versatile Scarborough is, as one of his recent roles in the sitcom Miranda contrasts vastly with the character he plays in this story.
All in all, I very much enjoyed this 45 minute Rumpole of the Bailey play. It was entertaining and witty, all the cast were excellent and the production standards were great. I look forward to the next episode of the four-part series.
- Rumpole and The Man Of God, Radio 4, preview (telegraph.co.uk)