sun 26/05/2024

family relationships

Multiple Casualty Incident, The Yard Theatre review - NGO medics in training have problems of their own

We open on one of those grim, grim training rooms that all offices have – the apologetic sofa, the single electric kettle, the instant coffee. The lighting is too harsh, the chairs too hard, the atmosphere already post-lunch on Wednesday and it...

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Nezouh review - seeking magic in a war

The 21st century learnt afresh about the reality of carpet-bombed cities thanks to the Syrian civil war, which began in 2011. And the Syrian war-set movie Nezouh begins with a teenage girl huddled in a tight, enclosed space – perhaps the bunk bed of...

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If Only I Could Hibernate review - kids in grinding poverty in Ulaanbaatar

Teenage Ulzii (Battsooj Uurtsaikh in an elegantly restrained performance) is looking after his little sister and brother in Ulaanbaatar after their illiterate mother has returned to the countryside to look for work. They’ve run out of coal and wood...

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Heather McCalden: The Observable Universe review - reflections from a damaged life

Artist and writer, Heather McCalden, has produced her first book-length work. The Observable Universe examines, variously, her familial history, the death of her parents to AIDS, and the subsequent loss of her maternal grandmother, Nivia, who raised...

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Richard, My Richard, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmund's review - too much history, not enough drama

History is very present in Philippa Gregory’s new play about Richard III. Literally - History is a character, played by Tom Kanji. He strides around in a pale trenchcoat, at first rather too glib and pleased with himself, but quickly sucked into the...

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Spencer Jones: Making Friends, Soho Theatre review - award-winning comedian mines his post-lockdown escape to the country

Lockdown feels more like a dream now: empty streets; bright, scarless skies; pan-banging at 8pm. Did it all happen? One part of our brains insists that it did; another resists such an overthrowing of what it means to be human. Try recalling events...

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Cassie and the Lights, Southwark Playhouse review - powerful, affecting, beautifully acted tale of three sisters in care

"In care". It’s a phrase that, if it penetrates our minds at all, usually leads to distressing tabloid stories of children losing their lives at the hands of abusive parents (“Why oh why wasn’t this child in care?”) or of loving parents separated...

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Underdog: the Other, Other Brontë, National Theatre review - enjoyably comic if caricatured sibling rivalry

The Brontë sisters and their ne'er-do-well brother will always make good copy. The brilliance of the women constrained by life in a Yorkshire parsonage contrasts dramatically with the wild moors around their home, while their early deaths lend...

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The Trouble with Jessica review - the London housing market wreaks havoc on a group of friends

Before moving house, Sarah (Shirley Henderson) and Tom (Alan Tudyk) are throwing a final dinner for their best and oldest friends. Sarah wants it to be special. It turns out to be very special. Disastrous, in fact.Director Matt Winn’s black comedy...

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Long Day's Journey Into Night, Wyndham's Theatre review - O'Neill masterwork is once again driven by its Mary

Memory is a confounding thing. By way of proof, just ask the Mary Tyrone who is being given unforgettable life by Patricia Clarkson in London's latest version of Long Day's Journey into Night, which has arrived on the West End (and at the same...

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Mothers' Instinct review - 'Mad Women'

This is a Nineties psycho thriller in Mad Men clothes, undermining its Sixties suburban gloss and Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain’s desperate housewives with genre clichés, yet sustained by the courage of debuting director Benoît Delhomme’s un-...

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Uncle Vanya, Orange Tree Theatre review - Chekhov served up choice

"We all live here in peace and friendship," notes Telegin (David Ahmad), otherwise known as Waffles, early in Uncle Vanya, to which one is tempted to respond, "yeah, right."As casually bruising a play as I know, Chekhov's wounding yet also brutally...

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