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Allan Corduner

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  • TV Picks: 'Dancing on the Edge,' 'Clash,' 'Birthday Boys,' 'Nashville'

    TV Picks: 'Dancing on the Edge,' 'Clash,' 'Birthday Boys,' 'Nashville'
    "Dancing on the Edge" (Starz, Saturdays). Stephen Poliakoff ("The Lost Prince") wrote and directed this early-1930s period piece set at the intersection of jazz and aristocracy. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Louis Lester, a black British jazz genius whose career starts to get traction when he crosses paths with hustling music journalist Stanley Mitchell (Matthew Goode) and gets himself a pair of singers (Angel Coulby and Wunmi Mosaku). A kind of "Upstairs/Backstage" drama, with a mystery attached, the five-part miniseries (plus a long epilogue -- appendix might be the better word -- in the form of interviews) takes its time with the material. Scenes have room to breathe and conversation is not every word to the point. (The series addresses issues of race as well as the usual ones of class.) The pace is mostly languorous, despite the jazz theme, and even when the going gets going, steps are only slightly quickened. It's not perfect -- the music (all original, and written by Adrian Johnson) is mostly wrong for the year, and the public scenes are underpopulated, possibly from the price of hiring so many speaking parts. (The excellent cast also includes John Goodman, Jacqueline Bisset, Janet Montgomery, Anthony Head, Allan Corduner and Jenna-Louise Coleman, whom you may know as Clara Oswald, companion to Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor). The solution to the mystery is made obvious pretty early, though Poliakoff sows enough doubt to keep you from quite making up your mind. But the faults are small and noticeable, really, only because so much else feels right. It is all very pretty and seductive and draws you in and draws you along, just as the characters are seduced and drawn along, by music or money or sex or love.
  • Review: Starz's 'Dancing on the Edge' hums along to a jazz beat

    There is something nicely unexpected about "Dancing on the Edge," writer-director Stephen Poliakoff's seductive drama of jazz and England in the early 1930s. The series, which begins Saturday on Starz (it has already aired on the BBC), forms a kind of...