Upright is a new comedy/drama from comedian/musician Tim Minchin, and the first thing I noticed online is that there’s a review from the Financial Times (reviewing comedy shows? They must be desperate for clicks) branding it as being short on laughs. Well, it’s NOT a laugh-a-minute comedy. It’s more a bittersweet comedy/drama, so bear that in mind while you’re watching it.
It begins with failed muscian Lucky Flynn (Minchin), who’s estranged from his family – just as his mum is seriously ill – and as down on his luck as he can be due to severe money worries. He’s driving along in Australia when a tyre pops, and just after he’s had an ultimatum from a so-called friend whose predictive text is failing him (i.e. using the word ‘duck’ instead of something more family-unfriendly), he still takes his anxiety tablets even after one has fallen on the floor of his car – BLEAH!
But things haven’t reached rock bottom yet, and his car collides with a truck driven by 16-tear-old Meg (Milly Alcock), injuring her arm, meaning they have to get to the hospital, but that would mean him leaving behind his truck with the sole possession of worth in his life: an upright piano… unless he can persuade her to put it on the back of her ute… which naturally happens, and so far, so standard ‘odd couple’.
Along the way, she’s one of those people who believes “everything happens for a reason”, he hasn’t got any conversation that she’ll understand – as he tries to talk about ELO and he’s mistaken for being her Dad, due to the age difference.
In episode 2, random moments include when they stop for a pink lake. He asks “How can a lake be pink?!”, to which Meg replies, “What makes it pink? Flamingo shit, I reckon”. Plus, at a certain moment, you just KNEW ‘Heart and Soul‘ was going to play out. That made me burst out laughing!
Overall, this is a bizarre road trip for this mismatched couple, and on the basis of the first two episodes (and it airs in pairs each Thursday at 10pm), you’ll find that the two leads do have chemistry, and while it’s not essential viewing, it’s still a great way of passing 30 minutes each time and I’m looking forward to continuing their journey with them.
Upright begins on Thursday November 28th on Sky Atlantic at 10pm, but it’s not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Episodes 1 & 2: 7.5/10
Series Directors: Matthew Saville, Tim Minchin
Series Producers: Melissa Kelly, Jason Stephens, Chris Taylor
Creator: Chris Taylor
Series Writers: Leon Ford, Tim Minchin, Kate Mulvany, Chris Taylor
Series Music: Jackson Milas, Antony Partos, Tim Minchin
Lucky Flynn: Tim Minchin
Meg: Milly Alcock
Jen Flynn: Heather Mitchell
Toby Flynn: Daniel Lapaine
Suzie Flynn: Ella Scott Lynch
Nurse Gale: Fiona Harris
Drunk Paul: Matthew Whittet
Mildura Doctor: Valerie Berry
Store Worker: Wendi Ticao
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.