Year:  1995 

Movie / TV:   An Awfully Big Adventure

Director:  Mike Newell 

Others in the Cast:  Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Georgina Cates, Alun Armstrong, Peter Firth, Prunella Scales, Rita Tushingham, Alan Cox, Nicola Pagett, Carol Drinkwater, Clive Merrison, Gerard McSorley, Ruth McCabe, James Frain

Plot summary: A vicious, nicotine-stained homosexual (Hugh Grant) runs the troupe with his lap-dog lover (Peter Firth) and inspires loyalty through intimidation and divide-and-conquer ploys. Meanwhile, the leading man (Alan Rickman), a dashing figure on a motorcycle, starts bedding Stella (Georgina Cates), a stage- struck apprentice, and falls apart when a dark secret is revealed. - Summary from SFGate

The lead actor, Richard St. Ives, breaks his leg just before the opening of Peter Pan. P.L. O'Hara, an excellent actor with a bit of fame in the repertory circuit, is called in to play the pivotal role of Captain Hook. - Another summary here

Peth’s role:  St Ives, the original leading man of the cast, who falls and breaks his leg. 

Reviews:  This is theater in all its tawdry, gaudy glory - a shabbily spangled Neverland in which no one ever grows up...much to their detriment. Newell and his cast serve it up with relish and precision, but the accents are so thick and the observations so "inside" that a mainstream audience may feel shut out. - Eleanor Ringel in Film Scouts

Faded divas and has-been heartthrobs tread the creaking boards of a shabby Liverpool theater with hauteur worthy of their London betters in director Mike Newell's "An Awfully Big Adventure." This bitter backstage tragicomedy reunites Newell and Hugh Grant of "Four Weddings and a Funeral," but it focuses on 16-year-old Stella (Georgina Cates), a star-struck apprentice dazzled by this newfound never-never land. - Washington Post 

The cast is top-notch, with only Hugh Grant struggling to find his character. There are a number of familiar faces on hand for those who enjoy British TV, including Prunella Scales (Fawlty Towers), Edward Petherbridge (Lord Peter Wimsey, version two), and Nicola Paggett (Anna Karenina). Despite the solid performances, however, the uneven tone and porous script keep the viewer at arm's length. Several attempts at comedy are off-putting, primarily because they occur at inappropriate moments. James Berardinelli in Reelviews

Mike Newell's last film, Four Weddings and a Funeral, celebrated love and loyalty among a tight circle of friends. Viewers hoping for the same warm feeling from his new film, An Awfully Big Adventure, are in for a shock. This dark, bitter story centers around a theatrical repertory company in Liverpool shortly after World War II. The young heroine, Stella (played by a talented newcomer, Georgina Cates), joins the troupe because she is seeking a surrogate family. Both of her parents abandoned her, and she's hoping that the theater will give her a sense of belonging. Instead she finds a petty, destructive band of vipers.  - Movieline

User reviews from IMDB

Young stage-struck Stella (Georgina Cates) has bright dyed red hair and lives with her aunt and uncle (Rita Tushingham and Alun Armstrong, both very good) in run-down Liverpool. She joins a theatre group where she isn't required to do very much and develops a crush on vain director Meredith (Hugh Grant, better than usual) and a half-contempt for the other members of the company (including a wicked parody of the professional ham from Edward Petherbridge). 

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