The star of the hit TV show Hustle entered the lecture theatre to excited whispers, and I'm sure quotes such as "you can't cheat an honest man" were running through many a person's head. Yes, Mickey Stone himself, aka actor Adrian Lester was in Leicester today, to show a short film both written and directed by himself for the Cultural eXchanges week.
I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the audience had turned up as fans just wanting to see Adrian rather than being interested his short film, but the same couldn't be said by the time they left. Adrian has left his mark on British television already as an accomplished actor, starring in shows such as Hustle and Merlin, and has also done stage shows playing parts like Hamlet. The short film Of Mary is his time to prove he is more than an actor; he's a talented writer and director too.
Well, he certainly proved that during this showing of Of Mary. The lights went down and the film started, simple yet serious the entire way through to make it seem incredibly realistic even down to the last detail. Twenty minutes later the credits rolled. It was only after the credits were done that the audience seemed to shake itself from silent awe and break into rapturous applause. Clever script-writing and subtle visual hints lead to a twist in the plot right at the end, leaving the viewer thinking "ah yes, I should have spotted that. It's all so obvious now."
Not only was the film cleverly written and presented, it was focused on a soldier returning home to his wife and child, a subject that should be handled with great care. Of Mary dealt with this expertly, creating a film that was so moving, it's amazing it was as short as it was. Being able to toy with the audience's emotions so intensely is a rare gift. A gift that Adrian Lester and the rest of the Lesata Productions team clearly have.
Sarah Kate Beckett