29 Acacia Avenue (a.k.a.
"29 Acacia Avenue" is a domestic comedy for lower middle-class Brits. But it's also the story of good-natured but anxious parents trying to cope with the emotional lives of grown-up children still living at home. The father and inevitable comic lead, Mr. Robinson (Harker), is a lugubrious bowler-hatted commuter who hates for his next-door neighbor's dog to dig up his garden. He and his wife are compelled to keep up with the neighbors' vacation plans, although they'd really prefer a traditional week at a classy hotel in London to a Mediterranean cruise. "I'm not so keen on these foreign parts," Mr. Robinson admits.
Can young Peter and Joan be trusted to behave while their parents are away? Naive Peter (Hanley) gets entangled with a seductive older woman, while Joan and fiancé Michael fret at the frustrations of being engaged -- "It's like driving a car with the accelerator and the brake on at once". Even Shirley the maid (Jenkins) wonders just how far she should go with her boyfriend Fred. "Have you ever known ecstasy, my girl?" he asks her, temptingly. In 1945, all this contemplation of pre-marital sex might have seemed daring, but to modern eyes, it's tame -- except for the element of the parents' being in charge of the home in which the adult children try to sort out their priorities.((The other comic component is class. The Robinsons are lower middle-class folk on their way up; their children have more means than their parents: Joan (Evans) has obviously had plenty of elocution lessons. But even they feel occasional unease when they get themselves attached to confidently upper-middle-class partners. Fine wines, butlers, and family silver are outside their experience.
The humour is gentle, yet "29 Acacia Avenue" offers glimpses into English social attitudes of the 1940s, even though the action takes place in a London suburb where World War II apparently never impinged.
Muriel Box; Sydney Box
Gordon Harker, Betty Balfour, Jimmy Hanley, Carla Lehmann, Jill Evans, Henry Kendall, Megs
old-fashioned courtship arrangements made while living with
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