The Clandestine Marriage review

Based on David Garrick's 18th-century play, this costume farce, boasting a cast better known for their TV roles, intends to be a saucy comedy but falls short in the humour department.

Natasha Little and Paul Nicholls star as lovers who've married secretly. She's from a wealthy family with no class, who hope to marry their daughters into nobility; he is a humble clerk. Picking the right time to mention their recent union is made even more tricky when a rich aristocrat (Hawthorne) turns up offering to marry Little to his fey son (Hollander).

Little and Nicholls are believably sweet, Hawthorne and Collins (as a snobbish aunt) are scene-stealingly good and Spall (as the father) is delightfully devious. The setting is lush, but the film's stage origins are all too obvious and the production as a whole wallows in the worst excesses of the costume drama tradition - all show and no substance.

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