Quarantine has got us all trying to find all the home-hobbies possible. I’ve dabbled in painting, drawing, baking, cycling, running, reality TV and spending hours watching every youtube clip of Dance Moms there is. However, the one I thought would be easiest to commit to is the one I’ve been most unloyal to: podcasts.
Prior to its first airing in December, few knew about the escape and capture of the 32-year-old daughter of the ruler of Dubai that this documentary details, sparking controversy about a city that is rapidly developing to the social and economic heights of London, New York and Paris. Princess Latifa bin Mohammed Al Maktoum had been planning her escape to India by boat for over seven years before being returned, echoing the mystery of her older sister Shamsa, who disappeared from Cambridge in 2000 after fleeing the family’s mansion. Both suggest systematic imprisonment and surveillance, which in turn reveal a more unsettling side to their seemingly likeable and good-natured father Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Netflix’s new Halloween TV show, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, was yet another attempt to capitalize on the massive success of the classic 1940s Archie comics. Following in the footsteps of the (objectively terrible) Riverdale, Sabrina is also based on the ‘90s American sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, with a few more R–rated twists (including blood sacrifice, Faustian bargains, and teenage rebellion against one’s parental figures and educational institution) which were not included in either the comics or the daytime television show.
Over the summer, I finally gained access to Netflix through a family friend, and the first show I watched was Anne With An E. I was excited to watch something based on L. M. Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables, a series I very much enjoyed when I was little. Eight years or more have passed since I read the books, and it was quite nice to reaquaint myself with the characters, whom the show does excellent justice to. As far as my memory serves me, it also stays fairly true to the events of the books on an episode to episode basis, although takes liberties with overarching plotlines. Fear not, my fellow sticklers for accurate book-to-screen adaptation, for in this instance it works in the show’s favour as it allows for deeper exploration of characters and themes.
“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Those fateful words, uttered by Oscar Wilde’s Algernon Moncrieff, came to characterise the various – generally not-all-too favourable – reviews published of the first instalment of Oscar Wilde season at the Vaudeville, An Ideal Husband. Among these reviews was a scathing assessment published by WHS’ very own Millie McMillan, declaring the performance ‘certainly not the peak of this year’s London theatre’, and commenting on the general disapproval the performance with which the performance met when confronted with the English A Level cohort. Despite this, the second instalment of the season – namely The Importance of Being Earnest – was, in my personal opinion, a resounding success, both at the Vaudeville and during the amateur production at Eton College which I had the great pleasure of attending.