mon 06/12/2021

England

Mothering Sunday review - Odessa Young shines in adaptation of Graham Swift's novella

30 March 1924. It’s Mothering Sunday – the precursor to the modern Mother’s Day - when domestic servants are given a day off to go home and visit their mothers, leaving their country-house employers with no one to make the veal and ham pie, do the...

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Album: Damon Albarn - The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows

Damon Albarn’s second solo album in a career otherwise defined by open-hearted collaboration confirms he sees operating under his own name as a chance for melancholic introspection. The deliberate austerity of its predecessor, Everyday Robots (2014...

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Album: Ed Sheeran - =

It’s hard to navigate the gap between Ed Sheeran’s ordinary songs and the rarefied air of his career’s stellar orbit, which he now breathes with Adele and Chris Martin - the rump aristos of a once ruling rock culture. The image of him as a modern...

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HMS Pinafore, English National Opera review - shipshape classic comedy craft

Yes, it was bound to be HMS Laugh-a-minute, given Cal “One Man, Two Guvnors” McCrystal’s ENO comedy riffs on an already funny early G&S classic, but what does this tight little craft have to say to Little England today?That a British sailor’s “...

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The Magician's Elephant, Royal Shakespeare Theatre review - family musical doesn't fully deliver

Trigger warnings have become commonplace in theatres these days, but few chill the blood like the description "a new musical" on a playbill. There are so many things to go wrong, so few ways to get things right and, never far away, the dissenters...

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Album: Billy Bragg - The Million Things That Never Happened

Like a more genuinely earthed Springsteen, Billy Bragg’s middle-aged, Dorset years have offered somewhat self-conscious wisdom and awareness of his singer-songwriter status. He’s grown up and into himself, diligently expanding both his craft and...

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albatross., Playground Theatre review - interconnected intimacies

"You need to get better at communicating", says one character to another in Isley Lynn’s albatross. Indeed, the same advice would fare well with many of those in the Anglo-American Lynn’s new play, where miscommunication plagues a range of...

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Justin Adams and Mauro Durante, The Green Note review - fiery duo in an intimate space

Two men trade licks: one of them delves into the heart of the blues, a potent dose of the boogie, the medicinal music of the Mississipi Delta. The other with a mournful voice and violin draws on the equally stripped-down and drone-inflected roots of...

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Invasion, Apple TV+ review - sci-fi epic or a pile of space junk?

Conceived on a global scale to depict the enormity of an alien menace from outer space, Apple's new series Invasion has grand ambitions, but crash-lands like a pile of space junk. After a few hours of this, waiting for something to happen, you’ll be...

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Mary Wellesley: Hidden Hands review - passion in the parchment

Outside Wales – even, perhaps, within it – few students will have run across the verse of Gwerful Mechain. The free-spirited poet of the late 15th century may come as a thrilling surprise (one of several) to readers of Mary Wellesley’s Hidden Hands...

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Sarah Hall: Burntcoat review - love after the end of the world

Sarah Hall’s Burntcoat is one of those new books with the unsettling quality of describing or approximating a great moment in history and its aftermath, as the reader is still living through it. This could be trite, but Hall manages to make it...

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Witness for the Prosecution, London County Hall review - return of Agatha Christie's gripping courtroom drama

Lucy Bailey's production of Christie's Witness for the Prosecution, first staged at County Hall in 2017, has a few years to make up on The Mousetrap's near 70, but it has already proved its staying power, despite the hiatus of the lockdown months....

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