by Kenneth Anderson.
(Previously televised last Thursday)
An almost automatic choice for Christmas time, The Holly and the Ivy will, one supposes, be played for years to come as an accompaniment to the season of turkey, presents, and over-rich pudding. For me, its most brilliant accomplishment is not in the Christmas-time accoutrements, but in its profound sense of family life. The parson and his two daughters seem to be so wonderfully realised that the play itself, so carefully set in a minor key, must really be called a major achievement. And no word above is used lightly.
I could write for hours about The Holly and the Ivy, but at the end of all I shouldn't have bettered, or equalled, its own author's note on it. Here, in part, it is:
"The Holly and the Ivy is, above all, a play of mood. It was suggested by the sight of a snow-covered tree outside a window on a lowering December afternoon and by the thought of those faded, melancholy Georgian vicarages, scattered all over Norfolk, in every village and country town, where the cross-currents of family feeling have an especial poignancy at Christmas time".
What Mr. Browne has in fact done is to take Christmas as a season which heightens, and deepens, emotions; and because all his people are real people, with their comedies and little sadnesses and larger hopes, The Holly and the Ivy is one of those profoundly satisfying things. (Lionel Hale)
Rev. Martin Gregory:
Jenny, his elder daughter:
Margaret, his younger daughter:
Mick, his son:
Aunt Lydia, his sister-in-law:
Aunt Bridget, his sister:
Richard Wyndham, cousin of his late wife:
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