Regency House Party (2004) Review
(More customer reviews)I caught about 15 minutes of the second or third episode a few months ago and just knew I'd never keep up with viewing the show (and I really wanted to watch it from its begining) so I've been planning on buying the DVD ever since. I'm so glad I finally did!
The 'players' in this history re-inacting "reality dating show" drama are people from modern England who agreed to play 'themselves as they might have been during the Regency'. They were given a summary of 'themselves' to go by. For example, in reality, the Countess is an actual countess who works in a coffee shop - at the House Party, she is a countess who is trying to cover up the fact that she has no money. The 'players' (I can't think of them as "contestants") play this 'game' in a sort of blurring of fantasy and reality - to the point, I believe, where they were reacting quite naturally as a Regency-era person and less like a modern-minded person.
The transition from modern-England to Regency-England was rough for many of the 'players' and they supported each other through the trials. Many hearts were touched and broken or bruised throughout the process and it was quite facinating to watch, even without the added bonus of doing so in Regency costume.
Fans of Regency (or Edwardian or Victorian) England or just history buffs should enjoy this show for what it is. I, being a huge fan of Jane Austen (particularly "Pride and Prejudice"), was used to the methods of speech and manner and had a grand ol' time.
My mother, who is more of a reality show fan than a history or lit enthusiast, lost interest not even halfway through the first episode. If you have no interest or even basic knowledge of the time period, I'm not sure you'd enjoy it, even if you love reality/reality dating shows. Fights between 'players' are not shown on camera (though they are discussed in some depth) and the romantic... liasons... between the 'players' are merely implied, which would also account for disinterest from those accustomed to American reality tv.
The only thing I could have asked from PBS was an update on the 'players', particularly those who made 'matches' toward the end of the show. Did the couples stay together? Do any of them keep in touch? A reunion show would be a bonus. Heck, if a "Regency Party 2" were produced, I'd buy it immediately!
The only problem I think anyone could have is a sometimes-poor audio, caused by the difficulties of shooting in a historic house rather than a studio. A remote to adjust the volume should probably be in-hand at all times, along with the 'rewind' button on your DVD player remote. Anyone who has watched period movies (such as Jane Austen adaptations) is probably familiar with this and should have no problems with knowing how to follow the dialogue.
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Does the rigid and confined world of the early nineteenth century have something to teach the young of today who are looking for love? Following the success of Manor House and Colonial House, Regency House Party gives 10 men and women - all genuinely looking for love - the chance to go back to the England of the early 1800s and live in the age of romance. The ten singles all spend nine weeks living together as they would have 200 years ago.