He wrote in a form of Tachygraphy, but when Samuel Pepys’ diaries were transcribed, they revealed one of the most important and unique insights into London life back in the seventeenth century – warts and all, writes Sammy Jones.
Pepys was a naval administrator and MP, and was aboard the ship which returned Charles II from Holland, restoring the English monarchy to the throne in 1660.
But Pepys also loved music, wine and women, and chronicled all these things in his diaries, together with his accounts of a life lived through the plague and the Great Fire.
On Saturday night, Ayres & Graces: An Evening with Samuel Pepys will bring his words to life.
The event at York House in Stony Stratford is part of the annual StonyWords Festival.
It is, say organisers, a fun evening of theatre in music, delivered in the true spirit of restoration theatre – so you’ll be free to eat, drink and be merry throughout.
Pepys – played by John Alexander – will engage his audience with ‘tales of drinking, womanising and historical intrigue’ as well as more mundane matters concerning his natural bodily functions.’
Pepys loved music; he composed, sang and played the lute, theorbo and viol, so he would surely have approved of the evening’s musical accompaniment, by Mr Simpson’s Little Consort.
This sounds like an exceptional night out, although the adults only event won’t be for all.
If you have something of a delicate constitution, it’s probably a wise move to stay away.
Those who want to spice up their weekend mind, should cheerfully splash £10 on a ticket.
Visit www.york-house.org.uk for more or call 01280 812364.
Also under the Stony Words banner in the week ahead:
> Celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns at the traditional Burns’ Night Supper – which means a tasty three course meal and musical accompaniment.
Sunday’s supper is at 7pm, ready for 7.30pm, in the restaurant at The Cock Hotel. Tickets are available direct from the venue.
> Author Adrian Tinniswood makes his third visit to the annual event, this time to talk about current release, The Rainborowes – Pirates, Puritans and a Family’s Quest for the Promised Land.
‘The narrative unfolds between 1630 and 1660 and follows the fortunes of William Rainborowe, a prominent merchant-mariner and shipmaster, and his formidable sons and daughters.’
Monday’s talk – at the town library – will begin at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale at £5. Call 01908 562025.
> Enjoy an interactive introduction to the free resources available via the Open University, no matter what your interests may be.
Intrigued? Visit the library from 4pm for Monday’s free event.
>Author and academic Tracy Buchanan discusses her first book, The Atlas of Us at the library,from 6pm on Tuesday.
Admission is free.
> It hardly seems possible, but the fifth annual Bardic Trials are set for Tuesday evening.
Outgoing Bard Phil Chippendale will hand over the reins to his successor, who will be decided by common consent on the night.
Poets, storytellers and spoken word performers of any style are invited to compete for the spirit of creativity, culture and community in the local area.
‘Anyone can enter and anyone could win, and everyone gets to have their say’, promise organisers.
It’ll be entertaining, and as terrific as it will be tense!
The winner will spend the following 12 months celebrating the customs of the town and its people through words.
Show up and see Stony history in the making.
The Crown on Market Square is your destination, and things get lively from 8pm.