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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

There was a rather amusing article in the local paper recently. One of Malvern’s more avant garde residents had gone to the local theatre box office to ask when the cinema would be showing 50 Shades of Grey. He was told that there were no plans to schedule it because “Malvern isn’t ready for that kind of thing yet”! I chuckled to myself, and had a look to see what the theatre was planning on showing instead, that might be more in tune with Malvern’s demographics.

I found that they’ve dedicated two full weeks to The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the recently-released sequel to the original film about a retirement home in India, which I had seen and enjoyed a few years ago. I booked myself a ticket to Saturday’s matinee, and was not at all surprised to note that the theatre management know their audience demographics very well. The cinema was practically full, there were taxi people-carriers dropping off small parties of elderly friends, and I must have been one of the youngest people there. Certainly the number of walking sticks made negotiating the steep rake of the circle seating a somewhat hazardous endeavour!

The film picks up a few months on from the original. Most of the original characters (played by Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy (whom I think is gorgeous), and Ronald Pickup) are still there, and are integrating into the local environment, finding jobs and mixing much more with the locals. They are joined by Richard Gere, in a somewhat cynical but highly effective move to increase the eye-candy quotient for the female members of the audience. The plot is a bit weak, with parts of it stolen wholesale from Fawlty Towers (is Richard Gere an undercover hotel inspector?), but the acting is of course, as you would expect, first-rate. It’s a rather cozy ensemble piece, with moments of laugh-out-loud humour, and some asides about growing old that had the distinctly elderly audience wincing in recognition and sympathy.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was undemanding, amusing entertainment, much more Malvern’s sort of thing than BDSM!