So, wanting to buy something from their bookstall, I picked up the DVD entitled ‘Yorkshire Pudding’. It claims to be short vignettes, intended for discussion, perhaps in small groups. Some of the items listed were evidently from some of Adrian Plass's books, but I was interested to see them dramatised.
The DVD sat in our to-be-watched drawer for a long time, as it never seemed to be the right time to see it. Then, last night, we began watching the film 'Closer' (starring Julia Roberts and Jude Law, and a couple of other actors we had not heard of) which we had bought inexpensively at a charity event. Rated 15, supposedly about modern relationships, we expected it to be a bit risque. We did not expect it to be laced with innuendoes, ‘strong’ language of the worst kind, and blatant betrayals and immorality. 18 would have been a more appropriate rating. When one character demanded intimate details of what his wife had done with her lover, we stopped watching ‘Closer’. We're throwing away the DVD and I won't even give it a proper review.
I had a bad taste, metaphorically speaking, in my mouth by this stage. We wanted to see half an hour or so of something wholesome in contrast. It was too late to start watching another film, so I pulled out ‘Yorkshire Pudding’. A little ironically the first sketch involved someone talking about a woman tempted into betraying her husband… but all ended happily and entirely satisfactorily, in stark contrast to what we had seen earlier.
There are seventeen vignette interludes on this DVD, all involving Adrian Plass, mostly as himself, with typical self-deprecating humour. There are sketches about boundaries, about decision-making, about guidance, mostly tinged with humour and also with a strong message.
Bridget Plass comes into a few of the sketches too, in a variety of parts. I loved her role as an Anglican minister, discussing an upcoming joint service with the local free church minister (Adrian), getting increasingly heated as they exaggerate their differences and fight about words. The ending falls a little flat, perhaps, but the bulk of it is very well done.
We were determined only to watch five or six of these sketches, but ended up seeing ‘just one more…’ until we had seen them all. We watched the outtakes too. Many of the vignettes were based on (or taken from) sketches in various of Adrian’s books, although I’m not someone who can pinpoint the sources.
On the back, there’s an explanation of the title - it’s not just that the scenes were all set in Yorkshire. The vignettes are intended as a side dish, so to speak, to accompany a longer talk or Bible study. However, we felt they worked well as something to sit and watch straight through, particularly in contrast to what we had started watching earlier.
The scenery is pleasant, green and hilly, and the scripting and acting mostly excellent. Our one gripe was with the way the camera kept zooming in to give close-ups, and then zooming right out again to give a wider view. We found it quite irritating - but it appears to have been deliberate, as it happens in almost every sketch.
The content is Christian, but not churchy; indeed, much of the humour comes from satirising some of the strange ways Christians sometimes behave in church settings. The sketch about bad Bible reading made us laugh out loud, and reminded me somewhat of Mr Bean in church.
Recommended to anyone who wants something a little offbeat for conversation starters, perhaps with youth groups or small house groups.
Review by Sue F copyright 2018 Sue's DVD Reviews