A few years late but The Improbability of Love by Hannah Mary Rothschild is a good yarn set in the centre of London’s art world. The book opens at the art sale of the century — The Improbability of Love, a long lost masterpiece by Antoine Watteau, the celebrated 18th-century French artist — as the who’s who of the international art scene arrives, each more determined than the next to leave with the coveted prize.
We are taken back to how the painting was found by unlucky-in-love Annie McDee who had bought it in a junk shop for a guy who stands her up. Meanwhile, Evie, her hopelessly unreliable drunken mother, reappears in her life and immediately hooks onto the painting’s potential. Soon Annie finds herself immersed in the London art world, primarily owing to her job as the personal chef to famous art dealers, the Winklemans. The painting narrates its sometimes illustrious, sometimes shameful past right up to the present day with exiled Russian oligarchs, ludicrously rich Sheiks, auctioneers down in their luck and the unscrupulous Winklemans, all conniving to get their hands on Annie’s painting.
Funny and an unflattering picture of today’s art world, this 2016 book will not date any time soon.
Theatre was my first love. It all started with the One-Act and 3-Act AmDram festivals in our local theatre to get out of the house to smoke cigarettes on school nights. It wasn’t long before I had graduated onto the Class As in the Abbey, Peacock, Project, Tivoli and even more fringe events and locations. It’s physical. Being present with the cast, the crew, the soundscape of mutters, coughs, and gasps from the audience; the dust, the set, the murmur murmur hum before curtain. Pure energy. I can forgive anything — set, direction, costumes, props, performance — except bad writing.
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