It was a day of Shakespearean drama and theatrical scope as Theresa May became Prime Minister and embarked on a brutal cabinet reshuffle. How fitting, then, that Mark’s Club in Mayfair hosted an evening of readings from the Bard. Guests including Astrid Harbord and Nicholas Kirkwood enjoyed ‘The Martini of Venice’ Sipsmith gin cocktails on the elegant terrace.
Miss S had torn her trousers rushing over from Downing Street but was relieved to see that Cressida Bonas and Coco Sumner were also flouting the dress code at Cameron’s club of choice – the former in trainers, the latter in scuffed leather bovva boots. Daisy Lewis was there to support her friends – she doesn’t need to brush up on her Shakespeare, as she’s reading all 37 plays to mark the 400th anniversary of his death this year. ‘I’ve saved the boring ones til last,’ she confided. Her ideal role would be Hamlet – ‘like Maxine Peake’ – but her favourite play is The Taming of the Shrew. ‘I think it’s a really interesting comment on feminism,’ she said.
Freddie Fox acted as MC for the readings, which were all on the theme of love, ‘from first love – a glimpse across a crowded room – to mid-stream love with its arguments and affairs.’ He and his Romeo and Juliet co-star Morfydd Clark reprised their roles as the star-crossed lovers, Fox’s fists clenched and eyes shut with passion. Anthony Howell’s sonorous voice boomed out some sonnets while Cressida Bonas, with a perfect mix of sauciness and innocence, read Donne’s ‘The Sun Rising.’
There was one surprise still in store; Fox resigned his seat at the end for Dame Harriet Walter to sweep majestically in for a stirring rendition of a speech from the little-known play Sir Thomas Moore. ‘This speech is incredibly to the point at this moment,’ she joked: ‘It’s about addressing the rabble who have been complaining about strangers taking their jobs.’ The closing lines?
‘What would you think to be thus used
This is the stranger’s case
And this your mountainous inhumanity.’
At that precise moment a hundred news alerts pinged in and the terrace collectively gasped as Boris Johnson was announced as Foreign Secretary. Shakespearean indeed.