Christmas Gift Idea: The Novella Nostalgia Series

If you are looking for an unusual gift for a fan of classic movies, the Novella Nostalgia series may just be the answer. Penned by the author Tony Drury, this fabulous series of books link modern storytelling to some of the most iconic movies of all time. Inspired characters, classic scenes and the familiarity of those classic films, but modern scenario’s make these the ideal present for someone who still loves the romance of turning a page rather than just scrolling up.

There are three books in the Novella Nostalgia series so far, with a further two planned. The first was ‘Lunch With Harry’ which is inspired by the wonderful Audrey Hepburn movie, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. The action is moved to modern day London, and Hamleys is the meeting place for the two leads, Dr Ella Van Houten, who just happened to be imagining that she was Audrey’s Holly Golighty character, and Harry, who Ella meets when she accidentally steps on his foot outside the world famous toy shop.

Tiffanys have launched a perfume this Autumn, so I think this combination could be a lovely, personal gift for someone who is a fan of Audrey, a fan of Tony Drury and a fan of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Tiffany Tiffany & Co. Eau De Parfum
From £52 Click to visit House of Fraser

The beauty of the stories is that fans of the film will recognise the references which bring a warm smile to the reader. Another fabulous point about these books is that they are small, perfect for reading on the morning commute by train or bus, and not too big to take up a lot of room in your handbag or rucksack.

Click to buy from Amazon

The second book in the series takes a completely different tone as it is based on the great Courtroom drama 12 Angry Men, a film that has also become a very successful stage show in recent years. Twelve Troubled Jurors changes the premise from one where the 11 jurors think the defendant guilty, with one wavering, to one where the jury are convinced of the innocence of the accused, but maybe for reasons that have less to do with the trial and more to do with wanting to be dismissed. The action also moves again to the UK and it is a riveting read that you could certainly enjoy once the turkey is finished on Christmas Day.

Click to buy from Amazon

The latest book in the series is very timely, considering that a live touring version is in theatres next year. ‘Forever on Thursdays’ is a new version of the beautiful, tear jerking love story Brief Encounter, the 1945 tale of unrequited passion starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. Once again the action is updated to the present day but the romance is still lovely, and if you know someone who is a fan of the film, then this book, combined with tickets for the play (showing at the Birmingham Rep Theatre), could be a real winner.

Click to buy on Amazon

Brief Encounter
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Click here for Ticket Information



12 Angry Men – Tense, Taut and Utterly Brilliant

It seems an open and shut case. A young black boy, just 16, kills his abusive father after one too many beatings. A strong witness is positive he heard the boy say he was going to kill just before the father was fatally stabbed. Another witness saw the stabbing and then saw the boy flee. An open and shut case. So why does Juror 8 insist that the boy could be not guilty and refuse to give a verdict that would send the defendent to the electric chair?

Bill Kenwright_14382_12 Angry Men_press pk.inddThis is the premise of 12 Angry Men, a classic Henry Fonda film turned into a magnificent piece of claustrophobic, thought provoking theatre that opened at the Wolverhampton Grand last night. The verdict has to be unanimous, but as the case and the subsequent trial is unpicked, each juror begins to question what they were so quick to believe when they entered into deliberation on that scorching hot New York Afternoon.

As Jury Number 8, Jason Merrells is brilliant. He is a calm presence who methodically picks his way through all the evidence, without ever actually saying whether he believes the boy to be innocent. Because the truth of the matter is not about innocence at all, but about reasonable doubt – if it exists then a person should never be found guilty.

Jason MerrellsAndrew Lancel as Juror number 3 is also faultless. He is unwavering in finding the boy guilty, but shows time and time again that anyone is able to show and exhibit violent tendencies, without actually acting on them in a murderous way. His final scene is heart-rending in its depiction of a parent hurting over a child, giving an insight into why he was so convinced of guilt in this case.

Andrew Lancel - Twelve Angry MenThe rest of the ensemble cast are equally good, with Sean Power raising laughs as Juror 2, desperate to get to a baseball game, and Gareth David – Lloyd as Juror 12 – who finds himself swayed from guilty – to not guilty and back again, yet unable to actually voice why with any conviction.

Gareth David Lloyd - Twelve Angry Men

12 Angry Men resonates today in times when we have seen so many miscarriages of justice, and this staging is as tense a piece of theatre as you will see this year. Its theme will stay with you long after you leave the theatre, with an ending that satisfies that, at least in this case, justice has been done.

Twelve Angry Men is at the Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday 23rd May. For ticket information and times, click here.