News: Effie Gray to be re-released in the UK

Sovereign is proud to announce the return of Effie Gray, the true story of a scandal that shocked Victorian England, on 19th April in Virtual Cinemas and on VOD, and out 31st May as a special collector’s edition DVD and Blu-ray.

Nineteen-year-old Effie Gray marries esteemed art critic John Ruskin, a cold and distant man who, seemingly repelled by his young bride, refuses to consummate their marriage. Neglected and shunned, and her health suffering from the strain of the crumbling relationship, Effie defies Victorian society by striking up a friendship with one of Ruskin’s acolytes, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painter John Everett Millais. It’s friendship that blossoms into something else, that sends shockwaves through polite society. Continue reading “News: Effie Gray to be re-released in the UK”

Review: Before The Party, Almeida Theatre

“You’re not in West Africa now, you’re in Luffingham”

There’s a triumphant quality to almost every aspect of Before the Party. Anna Fleischle’s beautifully observed design builds in a proscenium arch to the Almeida – the apposite prism through which to view this slice of post-war British life written by Rodney Ackland in 1949 from a short story by Somerset Maugham. And the cheeky addition of animated video work from Mark Thomas suggests a deceptive sitcomesque lightness as the curtain rises on the aspirational upper-middle-class Skinner family as they fuss and squabble whilst preparing for a round of social engagements. But beneath this brittle comic surface lie tragic depths and Matthew Dunster teases them out with pinpoint precision in a superb production and aided by one of the best ensembles in London.

The war may be over and though rationing remains in full force, the rigidity of English society still persists with decorum to be observed at all times. When the Skinners’ eldest daughter Laura – a career-best performance from Katherine Parkinson – returns from Africa a widow and burdened with secrets aplenty, the uneasy equilibrium of the household is threatened as they try to maintain the façade of respectability. Parkinson excavates near-Chekhovian profundity in Laura, an aching sadness underpinned by a morality lacking elsewhere in the family and she captures this blend of fragility and strength with infinite grace and poise – her silences almost unbearable to watch. Continue reading “Review: Before The Party, Almeida Theatre”