wed 30/11/2022

1920s

Blues for an Alabama Sky, National Theatre review - superb cast and production for this period hit

The cynical might think Pearl Cleage’s play had been expressly written to address the over-riding issues in today’s USA – abortion and contraception rights, gun control, homophobia, racism. But the cynical would be wrong, as Blues for an Alabama Sky...

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The Banshees of Inisherin review - stellar turns from Brendan Gleason and Colin Farrell

Previous works by screenwriter-director Martin McDonagh, which include In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, might give you an inkling of the perverse and tantalising mindset that lies behind The Banshees of Inisherin… but then...

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Blu-ray: The Saphead

Buster Keaton made his name in a series of two-reel shorts made from 1917 onwards; The Saphead, from 1920, was his first starring role in a feature film.It’s in no way comparable to the classics which Keaton produced and directed in his mid-...

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Die tote Stadt, Longborough Festival review - Korngold on the way back

Will Erich Korngold, the great cinema composer, ever be recognised as a great composer for the live theatre? Probably not, at least until the prejudices that did for him in his lifetime – the prejudice against film and popular music and the...

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Bliss, Finborough Theatre review - bleak but tender

When Bliss, a new play adapted from an Andrei Platonov short story by Fraser Grace, made its debut in Russia in early 2020, Cambridge-based company Menagerie were told that their production was “very Russian”.I’m no expert on Russian culture, but I...

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Osborne, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - an eclectic mix

The Mancunian tribute to Ralph Vaughan Williams – a symphonic cycle shared by the BBC Philharmonic and Hallé – reached its conclusion with the Eighth Symphony last night. But, unlike most concerts in the RVW150 sequence, in this one (the final...

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Walter Sickert, Tate Britain review - all the world's a stage

Who was Walter Sickert and what made him tick? The best way to address the question is to make a beeline for the final room of his Tate Britain retrospective. It’s hung with an impressive array of his last and most colourful paintings. Based on...

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Esfahani, CBSO, Morlot, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - ghostly enchantments

Bent Sørensen has christened his new harpsichord concerto Sei Anime: “six souls”. The six concise movements, written for Mahan Esfahani and a chamber-sized orchestra, are modelled, apparently, on the dance movements of a Bach keyboard suite. But as...

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Pionnières: Artistes dans le Paris des années folles, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris review - thrilling and slightly flawed

The hidden history of women artists continues to generate some ground-breaking exhibitions that contribute to a radical re-assessment of art and cultural history. This is a welcome trend, though not entirely without risk, as a new show in Paris...

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Surrealism Beyond Borders, Tate Modern review - a disappointing mish mash

The night after visiting Tate Modern’s Surrealism Beyond Borders I dreamt that a swarm of wasps had taken refuge inside my skull and I feared it would hurt when they nibbled their way out again.If I painted a self-portrait with wasps escaping from...

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Fisher, BBC Philharmonic, Wigglesworth, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - war-tinged Vaughan Williams

There was no overt reference to the world outside in this concert, and yet the poignancy of its content could hardly have been clearer if it had been planned: two symphonies and a song cycle each touched by the tragedy of war.It was the launch event...

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Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, Jermyn Street Theatre review - True Crime musical gets West End showcase

There's a lot of True Crime stuff about, so it's hardly a surprise to see Stephen Dolginoff's 2003 off-Broadway musical back on the London stage, a West End venue for the Hope Theatre's award-winning 2019 production. Whether one needs to see a pair...

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