As both a successful actor and biographer, Ian Kelly possesses the charm and expertise required to be a good lecturer. In fact, the man is a natural public speaker, of enviable poise, who relates his specialties unpretentiously and in the best of humour. My guest and I left the Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings rather impressed indeed.

His talk was centered upon Regency England (late 18th and early 19th centuries), and specifically the figures of Beau Brummell - ‘the ultimate dandy’ - and Antonin Careme - ‘the first celebrity chef’ - both of whom he has published about. He focused upon the extravagance of the period in its various textile, culinary, and sexual forms, adapting to the foppish specification of The Last Tuesday Society, who curated the event.

He frequently digressed from his core subject matter with humorous anecdotes, but they were quite welcome - not because the discussion was boring, but because he was so funny. And at no point did they seem out of place, as they blended with the overall tone.

Unfortunately, Kelly was only speaking this one night at the Fringe, so you won’t be able to catch him for a while. For the future, however, take note: this man is well worth listening to.

Reviews by Joshua Feldman

Marlborough Theatre

The Room in the Elephant

★★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Both Worlds

★★★★
The Warren: Main House

Animal Farm

★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Brainchild

★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Everything That's Wrong with the Universe

★★★★
The Dukebox Theatre

All Change

★★★

The Blurb

Everything Jane Austen never told you about Regency Brighton. Award winning biographer Ian Kelly on the decadence behind the elegance of Regency life, with an upstairs/downstairs insight into Regency highlife in the company of the subjects of two of his recent biographies: Beau Brummell, Regency fashionista, boon companion to the Prince Regent at the Brighton Pavilion; and the 'man who invented modern tailoring' and also the Prince's chef, Antonin Careme, who cooked in the Pavilion kitchens and changed forever the way we eat and think about food. An illustrated and entertaining talk - for adults only - on the enduring allure and impact of Regency culture via the stories of two of its most fascinating, and decadent, individuals.