After Charles I lost his head, England, and the rest of ‘the Commonwealth’ for that matter, was thrown into turmoil. Whilst Cromwell’s New Model Army was exercising their puritanical zeal in the name of the Lord, something else was stirring in our fair lands. These strange and dangerous times are captured magnificently in Thomas Clay’s new film, Fanny Lye Deliver’d. The Interregnum is brought to life with delicious and devilish abandon.
Fanny Lye (Maxine Peake) lives on an isolated farm in Shropshire, under the yoke of her husband John’s (Charles Dance) zealous birch. Her life is turned upside down when a young couple, Thomas (Freddie Fox) and Rebecca (Tanya Reynolds), take refuge in their home. At first, they seem like a good decent God-fearing people, victims of an attack in the road. However, looks can be surprisingly deceiving.
With a heady atmosphere of pestilence, putridity and piety, Fanny Lye Deliver’d transports the viewer back in time to a turbulent period of English history. It’s so well realised you can almost smell the dirt. Clay has great fun with the script, running the whole gamut of the English language as his characters debate religion, politics and gender roles. However, it’s Peake who is the relentless focal point for the action. Her steady poise makes this intelligent, unusual and impressive folk horror tick.
Fanny Lye Deliver’d is released on Digital by Vertigo Releasing on 26 June.