It was a busy, busy month full of literariness but not much blogging. Let me fill the gaps.
First weekend and I discovered Noel Coward’s Private Lives at the Lyceum in Edinburgh. (Actually I’ve been going to the theatre pretty regularly over the past few months but have never written about it. Perhaps I should try my hand at being a theatre critic?) Anyway this play, about two vain and insufferable people, divorced from each other, who reconnect while on honeymoon with their new spouses, is pretty improbable but absolutely hilarious and definitely not politically correct. You wouldn’t get away with writing the spiralling domestic violence of the second act for laughs these days. But I loved it and am really looking forward to seeing it again when I get my hands on the Anna Chancellor/Toby Stephens DVD, a version which has just come to the end of its London West End run. I am also contemplating acquiring the BBC collection of Coward’s plays – can anyone recommend them?
Second weekend I attended the Folio Festival and the Folio Prize award ceremony ceremony in London. I did manage to write about that. I didn’t manage to get a ticket to the West End production of Private Lives, but I did bag myself a seat at Simon Callow’s one man show, Being Shakespeare. This wasn’t quite what I was expecting – which was to see Callow transform into William Shakespeare himself. Instead Callow narrated Shakespeare’s life story, showing episodes that influenced the plays and occasionally slipping into Shakespearian character. Good but not as mesmerising as expected.
Around this time I had an unprecedented run of 3 5-star reads in a row. I reviewed them here and here. Then I started juggling longlist reads from the Bailey’s Prize for Fiction, the IFFP and the BTBA. Also preparing for next week’s Glasgow AyeWrite festival. The books are good but it’s proving hard to match the magic from the beginning of the month ….
…. which might explain why I’ve watched three films in the last week. (More than I’ve seen in the last year.)
I thoroughly enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel and suspect I will add it to my personal collection when the DVD is released. It is a wonderful, if tongue-in-cheek companion to the works of Stefan Zweig and Tilda Swinton’s cameo is fantastic. Which is more than can be said for her main part in We Need to Talk about Kevin. The problem with that film is that it was too arty and the editing gave away far too much, far too soon about the horror to come. I wouldn’t have watched it to the end if a) I hadn’t read the book previously and b) wasn’t working my way through a mountain of ironing ….
The final film proved to be a real treat. BBC Four are showing 4 Italian films based on the novels of Carlo Lucarelli. I enjoyed his De Luca trilogy a couple of years ago and I’m going to enjoy the films even more. Why? Check out the actor playing De Luca ….. Bye for now. I have a date with iplayer.