On Tuesday, The Current Mrs Feeney and I visited the tomb (pictured above) of King John – he of Magna Carta infamy – in Worcester’s riverside cathedral. Standing next to the final resting place of one of England’s most notorious rulers, you could not help but reflect on how these medieval monarchs, so separate in life, are so accessible to everyone in death.
The tomb of Arthur, the eldest son of Henry VII, is also in Worcester. Arthur’s death, while he was still on his honeymoon with his new wife Catherine of Aragon, resulted in her subsequently being married to Arthur’s younger brother, the future Henry VIII. If Arthur had lived, English state and church history may have taken a very different direction.
A cathedral tour guide was explaining to a middle-aged American couple that Henry’s questionable conduct – divorcing Catherine, splitting from Rome, founding the Church of England, and beheading assorted wives and courtiers – could be put down to the fact that he was raised as a ‘golden prince.’
Consequently, she said, he was spoilt, selfish, petulant, and used to having everything his own way. “He sounds just like Trump,” said the American. He looked worried.
This could be the start of something
WE were in Worcester on our way home from Stratford-upon-Avon, where we had gone to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s hi-tech production of The Tempest.
At the interval, I was unsure if the CGI effects – the first time they have been used in a live theatre performance – were an enhancement or distraction. I was more enthusiastic after the second half, especially the masque scene.
I suspect in ten years time, live CGI will be commonplace in the theatre. I hope it doesn’t reduce the actors to supporting roles, as it has in cinema ‘blockbusters.’
Should violent death look this good?
THAT isn’t a criticism you could make of Nocturnal Animals, a film that I watched in a mid-morning (despite its title) screening on Thursday. There are very good performances by Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal.
It is directed by Tom Ford, whose other life as a hugely successful fashion designer is evident in the way every scene of the film is as beautifully composed as one of his fashion shoots.
I enjoyed the film a lot, but a nagging voice in my head kept wondering if some of the violent scenes should have looked so good. The voice was loudest in one scene, where two corpses are artfully arranged on a blood-red sofa that just happens to be in the middle of the Texas badlands.
Never say never
SPEAKING of red sofas, I was a guest on just such a sofa, in a live television show, on Friday. It may have only been on a local station, broadcasting just in the Swansea region, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Is it too late to copy Tom Ford and start a second career? Probably.
And so, back to the CGI
AND finally, it was back to the cinema, this time with The Current Mrs Feeney, to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It is a spin-off from the Harry Potter stories, which TCMrsF loved and I found distinctly underwhelming.
With its timely messages about the evil of social witch hunts and discrimination against people who are ‘different’ from us, the film certainly has its heart in the right place; but I suspect that people will go and see it for the (admittedly impressive) CGI effects.