I’ve just reviewed a touring production of Jerome K. Jerome’ Three Men In A Boat by the Original Theatre Company. Sadly this isn’t a great production, but trying to articulate why made me notice just how adaptable Three Men In A Boat is. It seems more welcoming to the adaptor than many other novels, and easier to watch without the background hum of “how does this compare to the original”.
I’ve mentioned my favourite versions in the review – Tom Stoppard’s TV film and Rodney Bewes’ one-man show – and I’d like to hear about adaptations of Jerome’s work which really stood out for other people. I’d also love any theories on why Three Men in a Boat is so suitable for adapting- is it because the book is written as a series of sketches? Because it taps into so many cultural strands? Because it’s actually a bit of a mess structurally, so you don’t feel a carefully constructed artefact is being travestied? What does everyone think?