Each week, The Spyglass Magazine brings you a rundown of the best books, music, TV, movies and more to get you through long days in self-isolation. Whether you’re looking to expand your horizons, make sense of the world or come to terms with uncomfortable truths, there’s something here for you.
Theatre: Fleabag (Live)
Before Fleabag was a critically acclaimed TV show and became “the most electrifying, devastating TV in years”, it was an award-winning one-woman theatre show. But unless you saw it at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, its limited theatre runs at the West End or Broadway, or its much in demand NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE cinema screenings, you had to accept you’d never see what all the fuss was about.
From the SoHo Theatre Live website or Amazon Prime, you can rent the recording of the Fleabag stage show which was shown in cinemas.
Is it any good? The answer is a resounding yes. It’s excellent. Though many of the jokes and scenarios will be familiar to fans of the show, they take on a different life in the theatrical medium. Phoebe Waller-Bridge herself is phenomenal, flitting between characters we’ve grown familiar with in an instant with such ease that it’s easy to forget you are watching a one-woman show.
Perhaps one of the few upsides of this pandemic will be that many of us will get the opportunity to see shows and experience stories we would not have been able to otherwise.
Television: Unorthodox (Netflix)
While everyone’s been talking about Tiger King, this smart and affecting drama based on Deborah Feldman’s memoir has slipped under the radar. It’s a shame, because the story of Ester Shapiro, who leaves her Haredi Jewish community in Brooklyn to start a new life in Berlin, and the men sent to catch and bring her home is an absorbing watch.
Carried by a brittle yet hopeful performance from Shira Hass, Unorthodox comes in at a tight four hours which leaves the viewer with more to chew on than most coming of age dramas.
Podcast: The Adam Buxton Podcast
If you’re reading this, you’re probably stuck indoors for the foreseeable future and longing for the days when you could leave the house without a reason. But when you do leave the house for your state-permitted daily walk or you’re lying indoors missing your friends, The Adam Buxton Podcast might just scratch that itch for interesting conversation.
With an enormous back catalogue of over 100 “ramble-chats” with writers, musicians, comedians, documentarians and other interesting subjects, you’ll definitely find a conversation you’ll find interesting. Particular highlights include Louis Theroux, Chris Morris, Nish Kumar and Hassan Akkad – the Syrian refugee film-maker who volunteered as a cleaner in an NHS hospital to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Book: Sovietstan – Erika Fatland
The former-Soviet “stans” of central Asia – Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – are countries with some of the most unique histories and unusual presents anywhere on earth. Norwegian anthropologist Erika Fatland captures the diverse characteristics and landscapes of each country in this absorbing travelog. From the eccentric dictatorship of Turkmenistan, to the nomads of Kyrgyzstan and the ancient Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan, this excellent read will be sure to take you on a journey along a road less travelled, while your personal travel plans for 2020 have been put on hold.
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For more information on COVID-19 please go to the WHO website or your national health authority.