I wasn’t sure if Mr Bean was confined to British humour, but the commentator thankfully validated that he also made people laugh outside of our rather eccentric isle. The music was exclusively British, but songs were chosen that everyone knew (or at least should know!) I didn’t like the modern technology elements as much as the early countryside/development part, but it was still enjoyable.
What I enjoyed most – quite typically considering my bookish nature – was the reference to literature both subtly and explicitly. I think the earliest inclusion was Blake’s Jerusalem, a poem (probably most often called a song) connected tightly to the minds of Britons during the Industrial Revolution. Here are the first two verses in which the contrast between “pleasant pastures” and “Satanic Mills” is made, something Boyle successfully replicated in the performance:
And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.
The atmosphere changed tone with the entrance of a 100-foot tall Voldermort among other literary villains – if I were a child I would have been terrified! However, Mary Poppins came to the rescue, and this hopefully saved the younger audience from nightmares.