If you are a fan of the Harry Potter author’s 2012 grown-up novel, be prepared for something a little different in the adaptation airing April 29-30 on HBO: They’ve made some changes from the book. However, if you are a fan of seeing some top actors in near top form and watching a new talent take flight, then, as my video review above says, you should tune in to The Casual Vacancy.
Having already aired on the BBC this year, the Jonny Campbell-directed and Sarah Phelps-adapted miniseries depicts power struggles in small-town UK. But, of course, it is so much more — with a dark underbelly of deceit, betrayal, ambition, class warfare and all the other soapy elements required for good Brit TV. It’s not the most original tale ever told, but it gets the job done.
More important, there are strong turns by Sir Michael Gambon and Rory Kinnear that truly lift the material up. The Hogwarts alum and Bond regular are opposite ends of almost every spectrum in The Casual Vacancy but very much on the same good page performance-wise. In many ways, one would expect nothing less of two seasoned pros, but what was a real revelation for me was the acting debut of Abigail Lawrie. Playing the tough but vulnerable teenage daughter of a meth head, Lawrie is the soul of this ensemble and a new talent worth paying serous attention to.
Are you going to watch The Casual Vacancy? Check out my review and tell us what you think.