Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Cast: Simon Kane, John Finnemore.
Looking back at the way the English language has evolved, advanced to a point where it was almost beautifully poetic, even when it was intended to deride and ridicule the pompous, arrogant or ridiculously self-important, it seems a shame that in the current age we seem to have fallen back on a much cruder tongue, to a point where even the insults are flat and rely on slugged barbs rather than wit, wisdom and the smile of a verbal attack well made.
For what can a be a truly edifying experience of language, we seem to seek solace in the world of Shakespeare and through to the end of the much maligned and self-serving Victorian era, when even being rude had its own praise and admiration, where to commend a virtue was absolute and not reduced to the phrase of “that’s sick.”
In the world of manners, language is all and in John Finnamore’s Double Acts episode of The Goliath Window, language separates two men to whom life should have had them more acquainted, and in which, presided over by the pastor of St. Anne’s Church in the village of Mayton Chennett, a sailor and the pastor meet to discuss the new stained glass window and its subject matter, the battle of David and Goliath.
It is a verbal jousting to which 19th Century England would have applauded and seen fit to recognise as the beginnings of great endeavour, the switch of what the listener believes the story to be about but in turn is surprised by its own prejudice, one that carries forward to this day, whilst our sense of worded delivery may have changes, the sense of language and its meaning altered, it still boils down to what is funny and whilst humour used as a tool to hurt, to maim an ordinary person with insensible references is intolerable, to recognise that the only thing that divides us is language, is a stroke of genius.
The point of John Finnemore’s episode of luxury wordplay is not the premise of the half hour, it is a jab at those to whom cry with injurious thought that they don’t read or attend plays, films or even think of poetry from outside of their timeline because they believe it cannot speak to them, that they don’t understand the plain way of talking or the simple conversation.
John Finnemore plays to this with great charm and whilst the episode of The Goliath Window might not be the most enjoyable of the series, it is one of true industry and pleasure.
Ian D. Hall