Sunday, November 18, 2007

An Uncommon Reader

Another book I picked up from The Book Depository was Alan Bennet’s The Uncommon Reader. I was going to ask for this for a Christmas present but the rave reviews it has been getting over the blogosphere meant I couldn’t wait another 6 weeks to read it. I took it on the train on Friday, after being chastised by my Military Man for not finishing Mrs Beeton first, and finished it by half way through the trip home. I don’t think there is much point giving a lengthy plot summary here since the story is reasonably well known. In essence, the Queen stumbles across a visiting library van in the palace grounds, borrows a book (to be polite), gets bitten by the reading bug and then, much to the concern of those around her, neglects her royal duties because they interfere with her desire to read. The Uncommon Reader is a novella; brief and to the point, but oh so utterly charming.

Continuing with the Alan Bennet theme we went to see Talking Heads last night. This followed a very busy day….a dress rehearsal for my ballet concert started at 8am and didn’t finish until 2pm, then a rush to the North Shore for a cocktail party to celebrate my old school’s centenary, followed by an apologetic early departure to speed into town for Talking Heads. This version of Talking Heads comprised two monologues: Her Big Chance and Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet. Sigrid Thornton (of SeaChange and The Man From Snowy River) starred in Her Big Chance which is about a woman, Lesley, who clings to the memory of being a glorified extra in a Polanski film while becoming deeply involved in the adult porn industry. English actress Brenda Blethyn starred in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet - which was just brilliant! She played a spinster who has an unusual relationship with her chiropodist, Mr Dunderdale. Her comic timing was fantastic; such a privilege to be in the audience.

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