The event fell into two parts. The first was an illustrated talk by Schama about his recollections of the Festival and its place in history (alongside the Great Exhibition, a century before and the Millennium Dome, a half century after). The second was a brief Q&A session, including questions from the audience.
Rambling. That would be my one-word review. Simon Schama is great, he can bring a script to life and he can bring an original twist to almost any historical subject, but this was little more than an off-the-cuff, commentary on a slide show. Hidden in that show were some gems (I’d never seen picture of inside the Great Exhibition before) but this was a disappointing experience. Perhaps I’m wrong, I don’t go to many literary events, but I’d expected a prepared, articulate examination of the historical context of the Festival of Britain, with Schama’s unique insights; that’s not what we got. Still, it felt like a privilege to be in the same room as a man I’ve long-admired on box-sets of DVDs. I’ll watch them with an added respect for their editors and directors.
Rambling. That would be my one-word review.
2 slideshow images (click image to view)