An adaptation of her comedy memoir, The Tent, The Bucket and Me, Emma Kennedy’s latest project is a wonderfully vibrant revisit to a seemingly strange childhood. The Kennedys is a microcosm of 1970s Britain, packed full of cultural references that would no doubt delight anybody who was alive forty years ago, but alas I was not. Perhaps, then, it is the stereotypes that I can best associate with; the new-age lasagnas, the cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks, the disco dancing, but this does not entail that The Kennedys as a piece comedy is lazy in its observations.
Kennedy’s ten-year-old self is reimagined in the form of young actress Lucy Hutchinson, who acts as a voice piece for the adults around her. Emma’s mother, Brenda (Katherine Parkinson) is a giddy, excitable lady with a likeable naivety and admirable ambition for the completion of relatively simple challenges that she often hopelessly fails at (such as booking of a driving test a few mere days in advance, despite never having learned to drive). She is an endless source of embarrassment for her daughter, as is Emma’s father, Tony (Dan Skinner), who so often succumbs to Brenda’s wild schemes, thus leading to some very tricky situations.
The Kennedys is one of those television sitcoms that has a recognisable face at every corner, overflowing with comedy talent which is enabled to shine through due to the fantastic script. Tim (Harry Peacock) and Jenny (Emma Pierson) live next door and the two couples naturally divide into two pairs of friends, the women and the men. The relatively young group on Jessop Square are incredibly hard-working and well-meaning people, making their quirky relationships a joy to watch, and the way in which they are written is honest and reflective; these characters and their relationships are certainly not tropes.
Visually, it has to be noted that The Kennedys is a very attractive production and the ‘1970s’ look has certainly been achieved, as well as additional humorous visuals being slotted in, such as David Palmer, another Jessop Square resident, being delegated to sitting on the poof at Brenda’s dinner party, meaning he sits at least a foot lower than all the other guests. These flourishes are what make it clear that this sitcom has been years in the making. The attitude behind every line and every scene is one of warmth, a fond memory of how things used to be, and this can be appreciated by anyone, regardless of age.
The Kennedys is silly and sharp-witted; the music is fantastic, the characters well-rounded and the entire production heart-warming, original and uplifting- surely a programme not to be missed.