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.