This time last week I had the pleasure of attending a special screening celebrating Disney’s DVD/Blu-ray release on 17th July of the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, followed by an afternoon tea and book swap.
The event was arranged by the lovely Juliana Fenton from Premier and it was a lovely surprise to receive the invitation.
The event started at 10am, so after a bleary-eyed trek into London, I arrived at the Covent Garden Hotel where I was pleasantly surprised to find that instead of a conference room (as I had anticipated), the hotel actually has a private screening room downstairs which I estimate seats around 40-50 people in total.
After being offered a much-needed cold drink by a very helpful hotel employee, I made my way into the screening room to see who else had been invited. I was pleased to see the lovely Linda from Linda’s Book Bag whom I have now met at numerous book events, and is always guaranteed to be good company. There was time for a quick chat before the lights were dimmed and the film started.
I was unsure what I would make of Beauty and the Beast. Whilst I’m not a Disney-fanatic, I did enjoy some of the animated movies when I was younger and Beauty and the Beast was a particular favourite of mine – the only one I have ever owned on DVD. However, that was many years ago (ahem) and I wasn’t sure what my more mature self would make of a live-action version.
I am happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The most apt words I can think of to describe the movie are ‘ enchanting’ and ‘magical’. It really was a very sweet film, with a humorous script and some subtle literary references which I enjoyed spotting throughout the screening. The casting was, in my opinion, very well done for the most part, with the exception of the prince. Maybe somewhat controversially, I preferred him as the beast! However, that is merely my preference and I am sure a lot of people would disagree with me. The choreography and music were great and I was surprised to see how closely it stuck to the original Disney animation. In any event, it was such a treat to see the film for the first time in a private screening.
After the screening, we were directed into a nearby room which had been set up ready for afternoon tea. What an absolute delight that was! A selection of teas, coffee and cold drinks accompanied a fabulous spread of finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats. This was topped off by a chilled glass of Prosecco. The food was absolutely delicious and I too-soon found myself stuffed to the brim with warm scones and clotted cream (yum!).
During the afternoon tea, we had time to talk to our fellow book-bloggers about the film and about of mutual interest – BOOKS!!! I met and chatted to some lovely literary-enthusiasts, including Linda (@Lindahill50Hill), Daphne (@wingedreviews), Amber (@MileLongBookS), Liv (@liv_gacka), Nicola (@PrythianBworm), Lucy (@bookbellereads), Steph (@eenalol), Becky (@BeckyBedbug), Beth (@BookLoverx) and Zoe (@zcollins1994) – apologies to anyone I haven’t mentioned (let me know and I’ll do a quick edit)!
The idea of the book swap was for everyone to bring at least one book with a strong female lead character (like Belle in Beauty and the Beast) and swap it for another book or two. I wasn’t sure what type of books my fellow book bloggers would enjoy, so I searched my bookcase for a varied selection and, after much deliberation, I decided to take JayneEyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and Witch Child by Celia Rees. I actually did not pick up any books to take away with me as I was due at another event later that afternoon and, suffering from a bit of shoulder pain that day, I did not fancy lugging a pile of books around with me. However, there was a varied and interesting selection, as shown in the photographs below. My fellow bloggers had obviously given some thought as to the books they brought with them for the swap.
Finally, it was time to say goodbye and trek over to the Southbank to collect my husband ready for our afternoon adventures.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Juliana, Premier and Disney for a brilliant morning of entertainment, cakes and books.