sun 26/05/2024

1920s

Machinal, The Old Vic review - note-perfect pity and terror

Virtuosity and a wildly beating heart are compatible in Richard Jones’s finely calibrated production of Renaissance woman Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal. It hits hard as a 1920s mechanical symphony with a lyrical slow movement and words/cliches used...

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Murray, Vlaams Radiokor, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - visual ‘interpretation’ blunts sonic brilliance in Szymanowski rarity

Chances are few enough to catch Polish composer Szymanowski’s densely brilliant 1920s score for a ballet about love in the Tatra mountains. Harnasie (Robbers) is so little known that we need a clear line through action and sung text. That all went...

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Wicked Little Letters review - sweary, starry film is mostly strange

A splendid cast struggle to make something coherent out of Wicked Little Letters, the latest film from Thea Sharrock who not that long ago was one of the hottest theatre directors in town.Sharrock's proven skill onstage with thesps ranging from...

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Smyrna review - Greece at twilight

The Smyrna Catastrophe of 1922, in which tens of thousands of Greeks and Armenians were slaughtered by Turkish soldiers, is a topical subject for our dark times. Unfortunately the intervening century hasn’t put an end to ethnic cleansing or to...

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Connolly, BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - beginning with a fanfare

The opening concert of a new season often tends to be a statement of intent, and this was John Storgårds’ opener of the first full season since he was appointed chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic. He’s hardly a newcomer to them, though, since...

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Rebecca, Charing Cross Theatre review - troubled show about a troubled house nonetheless diverts

There are times when it’s best to know as little as possible before taking one’s seat for a show – this new production of Rebecca would be a perfect such example.It was once talked up as the new Phantom, the next smash hit musical that would do on...

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Pygmalion, Old Vic review - zappy wit and emotional intelligence

Many of us have perhaps grown too accustomed to the friendly face of My Fair Lady. George Bernard Shaw’s very original play is sharper, less sentimental yet ultimately more profoundly human. Its wit and wisdom zip along in Richard Jones’s...

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Blu-ray: Three Ages

The Saphead gave Buster Keaton his first starring role in a full-length comedy, but 1923’s Three Ages is the first feature film which he wrote, produced, directed and starred in. Two-reelers were a form where he could go, in his words, “wild and...

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Wozzeck, Royal Opera review - orchestral and visual beauty salve human misery at its most extreme

If you’re going to be locked in an auditorium with a crazed soldier for over 90 minutes, you need to be overwhelmed by the human frailty and baseness in Büchner’s still-shocking stage play of the late 1830s, the spiderweb beauty of Berg’s 1925 score...

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The Vortex, Chichester Festival Theatre review - naturalism clogs up Coward's pipes

Sometimes I go outside and look at our kitchen drain. Where there should be a vortex there’s a largely static pool. Tree roots have recently grown through the old pipes, their clumps colonised with fat, dog hair and coleslaw bits, and though a bit...

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Isaac Julien: What Freedom is to Me, Tate Britain review - a journey from making documentaries to making art

Isaac Julien was a student at St Martin’s School of Art when the Brixton riots broke out. Black youths took to the streets, frustrated by high rates of unemployment, police harassment, far-right intimidation and media hostility, and all hell was let...

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The Dead City, English National Opera review - strong dream world, weak love story

Is Korngold a second-rank composer with some first-rate ideas? Most performances of the 23-year-old Viennese prodigy's Die tote Stadt make it seem so. Nearly smothered in glitter and craft, the story can compel – an oblique, promising stance on...

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