Local Area NewsOct 2014
Glorious Georges - Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace has always attracted the more outgoing members of the monarchy and it will always be remembered as the place from where Diana, the "Peoples Princess", captured the heart of a nation. However, one other vivacious royal often gets overlooked and thanks to the Glorious Georges exhibition, we will now get a chance to meet her acquaintance. Queen Caroline was the erudite and cosmopolitan wife to King George II and many people were surprised at the match when he moved with her into the palace.
An enthusiast patron of the arts with a huge appetite for court intrigue was not going to be happy stuck out in Windsor. It was therefore easy for Caroline to persuade her husband - a military man who liked to be near his troops - to set up court on the edge of Hyde Park. This exhibition recreates the atmosphere and tone of these heady times with whole sections of the palace dedicated to music, art, gambling and dangerous liaisons.
Gone Girl - Cinemas Londonwide
Gone Girl is a taut thriller adapted from a best-selling book and directed by the uncompromising David Fincher of Fight Club fame. Ben Affleck plays a smooth charmer who comes under suspicion when his attractive and seemingly perfect wife disappears without a trace. Part detective story; part media satire, the plot explores how Affleck's every expression, utterance and association comes under intense scrutiny as the media attempt to portray his wife (Rosamund Pike) as an angelic victim.
Fincher uses his usual bag of multi-layered dramatic tricks to continually hoodwink the audience while revealing more clues. Combining voice-overs and multiple flashbacks, the director masterfully pulls a sprawling storyline into some sort of shape. Gone Girl is the sort of film where the reviewer has to be careful not to reveal too much, but it's safe to say that the rehabilitation of Ben Affleck's career is still on course. Rosamund Pike excels as the high maintenance daddy's girl for whom overachievement is just a starting point.
Speed-the-Plow - Playhouse Theatre
The phenomenon of seeing Hollywood A-listers treading the West End boards has come about because, these days, credibility can be converted into cash and vice versa. The Lindsay Lohan/David Mamet marriage of convenience is the latest example of a trend that goes something like this: Lohan realises that her reputation and career need a boost - she needs to be seen working hard at her craft inside the theatre, not falling hard out of taxis outside nightclubs. Mamet's plays are credible, widely admired but not widely watched. People will turn up even if LiLo crashes and burns because that's what LiLo does, right?
The delicious irony in all this is that Speed-the-Plow is a play about how good art gets made for all the wrong reasons. Mamet dissects the reality of how money, lust and ego corrupt the creative process and how people of seemingly unquestionable integrity can convince themselves that a piece of cinematic garbage can shine if the right amount of deception is brought to bear. Does Lindsay know something we don't?