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The Hippopotamus

John Jencks directs this comedy drama adapted from Stephen Fry's novel of the same title, about an embittered poet who puts his cynicism to one side to investigate outlandish claims of miracles in the countryside. Ted Wallace (Roger Allam) has been forced to sell his creative soul to the devil by becoming a theatre critic in order to pay the bills. Out of the blue, Jane (Emily Berrington) - the niece of Ted's old pal Michael Logan (Matthew Modine) - offers the boozy poet £100,000 to travel to her uncle's country pile Swafford Hall where she claims she was cured of leukaemia. Convinced to attend by the hefty pay packet, Ted awkwardly reunites with Michael and his wife Anne (Fiona Shaw), who harbour animosity toward Ted about an unfortunate televised incident involving Michael's sister Rebecca (Geraldine Somerville). As he spies on the family members and visitors to the house, Ted is drawn to Michael's sex-obsessed younger son, David (Tommy Knight). Screenings on May 28 will be accompanied by a Q&A hosted by Mark Kermode with Stephen Fry and cast members Blanche McIntyre, Roger Allam, Fiona Shaw and John Jencks, recorded live at the Hay Festival.