Firing Blanks at Hay
Some panels and events at all festivals are, of course, great, while others don’t even get off the ground. Hay on Wye (Arthur Miller once asked: Is that something you eat?) is no exception.
Murder – A Beginner’s Guide, with Kathy Lette and John Mortimer was one of the events that didn’t work for me. Lette wrote How to Murder Your Husband. Mortimer created Rumpole.
The two of them were obviously friends and may have done similar gigs together in the past. But Lette was patronising towards Mortimer, begging him in little-girl fashion to repeat this or that story and constantly telling the rest of us how much she adored him. Similarly, she tried to ingratiate herself with the women in the audience, referring to them collectively as ‘girls’.
Wrapped in a sliver of red and white cotton on a particularly cold afternoon she was brimming with sound bites and carefully prepared one-liners and succeeded in lifting the temperature not a jot.
Mortimer, for his part, was hampered by his microphone being too far away from his wheelchair, making it difficult for us to hear what he said. But apparently he was only telling the stories he usually tells, so we may not have missed much.
I had a very nice snooze.
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