During the half term, as I have done every May for the past seventeen years, I travelled to the Hay Literary Festival in Hay on Wye. In 1977, bookshop owner Richard Booth conceived a publicity stunt in which he declared Hay-on-Wye become an ‘independent kingdom’ with himself as its monarch and a National Anthem written by Les Penning, and 11 years later, Hay on Wye became home to the world-famous festival. Throughout the year Hay is home to more than two-dozen second hand book shops, which flaunt signs such as “Kindles are banned in the Kingdom of Hay” and “Reading zone only”, and for 10 days of the year, bibliophiles and creatives flock to the town and transform it in to an accelerated hub of imaginative thinking, creativity and even more books. So many books.
It is very difficult to accurately depict the intimacy of close female relationships. No matter the setting – all girls boarding school, home with six sisters, post-apocalyptic gang of teenage rebels – the dynamic is so specific that it is almost impossible to capture. I know I have had, and currently do have, friendships with other girls so close that it would be easy to mistake them for something more, and media that captures such a bond is a rare and beautiful thing. Amazon Prime’s 2018 adaptation of Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ is an example of such a piece of media.
An elaborate melodrama that passes witty commentary upon Victorian high society, ‘An Ideal Husband’ by Oscar Wilde has been captivating audiences for over a hundred years. The play tells the story of Robert Chiltern, a politician climbing quickly up the ranks of the British government, supported unerringly by his loyal wife Gertrude, the epitome of moral virtue. The arrival of Mrs Cheveley threatens to bring scandal and disrepute onto the Chilterns, and it is only with the guidance of the delightful dandy Lord Goring that the play is harmoniously resolved. First performed in 1895, it has been revived for the Oscar Wilde season at the Vaudeville theatre.
Charles I’s execution took place on Tuesday 30th January 1649. As the King trudged from his confinement in St James Palace to the Palace of Whitehall he was met by a large jeering crowd of keen spectators who were ready to observe the pinnacle of 17th century entertainment.
A look at the official reviews, and some original thoughts as well from our resident cinema buff.