tue 07/02/2023

family relationships

2:22 A Ghost Story, Lyric Theatre review - Cheryl makes an impressive stage debut

The set of 2:22 A Ghost Story is open to the auditorium when we arrive and locates us at once in gentrification-land. We are in a slick kitchen with white chevron tiling, new units and an obligatory island; big skylights loom overhead and outsize...

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Saint Omer review - exile and erasure

Saint Omer is a psychological and sociological mystery, unpicking the enigma of Laurence (Guslagie Malanda), a French Senegalese woman who drowned her 15-month-old daughter in the ocean.Director Alice Diop recognised her own Senegalese heritage and...

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Smoke, Southwark Playhouse review - dazzling Strindberg update

A play’s title can be an almost arbitrary matter – there’s no streetcar but plenty of desire in that one for example – and it might have crossed Kim Davies’ mind to call her play Ms Julie, since it is a reimagining of August Strindberg’s...

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The Whale review - Brendan Fraser stars in a fat suit

Yes, Brendan Fraser gives a fine, Oscar-nominated performance as a morbidly obese man in director Darren Aronfsky’s mawkish, voyeuristic The Whale. Best known for Gods and Monsters, George of the Jungle and the Mummy trilogy, and more recent TV...

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Album: Sebastian Rochford, Kit Downes - A Short Diary

A Short Diary, a duo album for piano and drums, contains music of astonishing directness, calm and concentration. The story of how it came into being is fascinating, but it also stands on its own as pure music of luminous quality, and is bound to be...

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The Unfriend, Criterion Theatre review - dark comedy is (largely) audience-unfriendly

We all have that friend. The person you met on holiday and couldn’t shake off. You added each other on Facebook, but they posted so much you’ve quietly unfollowed them. You can’t quite bring yourself to unfriend them, though. In The Unfriend, a new...

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Allegiance, Charing Cross Theatre review - George Takei's childhood story makes a heartfelt musical

Like families, nations have secrets: dirty linen that they prefer not to expose to the light of day. Patriotic myths need to be protected, heroic narratives shaped, good guy reputations upheld. In 1942, the USA rounded up Japanese-Americans and...

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A Streetcar Named Desire, Almeida Theatre review - Patsy Ferran rises above fussy staging

It’s a long way from the dank chill of an English winter to the stultifying heat of a New Orleans summer, but we’ve been here before at this venue. Five years on from their award-winning Summer And Smoke, Rebecca Frecknall is back in the director’s...

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Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - Scrooge goes to Tennessee

We’ve had 75 years to get used to Scrooge McDuck, so we can hardly complain if the Americans indulge in a little cultural appropriation and send Charles Dickens’ misanthrope to Depression-era Tennessee for another whirl on the catharsis-redemption...

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Hex, National Theatre review - 12 months after being sent to sleep by Covid, Rufus Norris's show is back

Hovering way, way above us, three aptly named high fairies, in voluminous chiffon, open a show that may not be airy in the metaphorical sense, but invites us to cast our eyes upwards continually – no bad thing to do in the bleak midwinter of 2022....

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Elf, Dominion Theatre review - hit musical revival slays it again

Just about the three toughest tricks to pull off in the theatre are making a musical, making a family show and making characters so charming that even the most cynical in the house are pulling for the little guy (or not so little in this case). So...

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A Christmas Carol, RSC, Stratford review - family show eases back the terror and winds up the politics

Life is full of coincidences and contradictions. As I was walking to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was on his feet in the House of Commons delivering yet another rebalancing of individual and collective resources. On...

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