The best of entertainment from July 2019, as chosen by Red Bee’s entertainment experts.
BEST DOCUMENTARY: THE EDGE
A remarkable piece of storytelling about the rise and fall of the England cricket team under coach Andy Flower. It avoids all the clichés of narrative structure and presents something more powerful – an insider’s view of the mental pressures of playing sport at the highest level, with the emotional highs and devastating lows. Visceral, vivid and evocative.
BEST PLAY: NOISES OFF - LYRIC HAMMERSMITH
Back in the theatre where Michael Frayn’s production first broke onto the scene in 1982, this farce retains every inch of his hilarious cleverness. The show is incredibly demanding, technically, on its cast, especially in the second act, which is almost entirely mimed “backstage” while the “play” takes place on the other side of the scenery. In the halo of One Man, Two Guvnors and The Play that Goes Wrong, farce is staging a bit of a comeback, so check out one of the greatest examples of the twentieth century if you can. Split second timing is side-splitting.
BEST FESTIVAL: BRITISH SUMMER TIME – HYDE PARK
Experience everything that’s great about festivals, without the faff of tents and wellies, at the annual British Summer Time in Hyde Park. Aside from this year’s incredible headliners: Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, Florence + The Machine and Lykke Li, the main highlights were the legendary performances from Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder. Lionel’s rendition of classics Hello, Dancing on The Ceiling and Easy enthralled the 60,000 strong crowd - not bad for a 70-year-old. While Stevie Wonder closed the night with the funk classic Superstition, his catalogue of golden era tunes is nothing short of impressive. They really don’t make ‘em like that anymore.
BEST TV DRAMA: GOMORRAH SEASON 4
This hard-hitting, Italian crime drama follows different mafia clans vying for control of the drug trade in Naples. Season four is arguably the best yet as it centres on crime boss Gennaro's fruitless attempt to go straight, and his descent back into the dark world that he hoped to leave behind. As cracks appear in the uneasy alliance between the clans, moves are played out like a bloody game of chess. Violent and uncompromising, Gomorrah certainly takes no prisoners but the show's brutal authenticity is its strength. Each episode is beautifully directed with a superb soundtrack that builds up the tension perfectly. Right up there with Chernobyl as one of the best dramas of 2019.
BEST BOOK: THE SILENT PATIENT BY ALEX MICHAELIDES
Given we’re in the middle of a heatwave, it feels apposite to give a mention to some of our holiday reading list highlights. The Silent Patient is a very readable mystery thriller, telling the tale of Theo, a forensic psychotherapist attempting to get his patient, Alicia, to reveal the truth behind the night she shot her husband five times. The problem is, ever since the shooting, Alicia has refused to speak. With its partly diary-entry-based structure there’s an air of Gone Girl in the narrative, which is no bad thing. An exciting poolside page-turner, and one worthy of recommending to the person on the next lounger. If you’re that sort of person.
Stay tuned for more in August