Writer: Lucy Worsley
Reviewer: Abbie Rippon
More used to reviewing theatre, dance, stand-up gigs and concerts, it is refreshing to sit in a theatre to review a talk, or discussion, one might say. One might argue that sitting in the Quays theatre at the Lowry, listening to a lecture on Murder, is not the ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon. But what a surprisingly pleasant experience it is. Dr Lucy Worsley is right; the British do find a great deal of entertainment in murder.
Chief Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces, Lucy Wolsley’s hobby is murder! She admits to her keen audience that she enjoys a good murder and is not alone in this enjoyment. For the last two hundred years the British obsession with the subject has grown into a form of middle-class entertainment, from following real murder cases through early broadsheet newspapers to reading classic murder mysteries of Agatha Christie – murder has always been a hot topic.
Worsley’s lecture is peppered with examples of numerous murders throughout history which shocked the nation, helping to pave the way for the rise of murder as a form of entertainment. She includes a slide show with the odd comic photograph of herself from her work on the BBC series A Very British Murder. Despite the topic being rather dark, the talk is light, comic at times, and Wolsley is clearly highly enthusiastic about the subject. As twisted as it may sound, murder is revealed as a fascinating subject matter, the audience are intrigued by how weapons of choice have changed over the years, how the public’s ideal image of a murderer has altered through the ages and how theatre, literature and even souvenir industries have made profit on the subject.
Through her lecture and the Q &A session which follows, Worsley is revealed as an amiable, enthusiastic and passionate expert in her field. She comes across more like a friend you are enjoying a good conversation with, rather than an intimidating intellectual. The relaxed atmosphere of her lecture and boundless enthusiasm for the subject makes this more than an ideal Sunday afternoon activity.
Reviewed on Sunday 19th April 2015