fri 28/01/2022

New York

The Humans review - staring headlong into the abyss

A small film that packs a significant wallop, The Humans snuck into view at the very end of 2021 to cast a despairing shadow that extends well beyond the Thanksgiving day during which it takes place. Adapted from the much-traveled Tony-winning play...

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Trouble in Mind, National Theatre review - race, rage and relevance

The National Theatre has a good record in staging classic American drama by black playwrights. James Baldwin's The Amen Corner, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs have all had terrific new stagings. Now it’s...

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Stephen Sondheim in memoriam - he gave us more to see

It seemed impossible and yet, the other evening, while idly flicking through emails, I learned the unimaginable: Stephen Sondheim, age 91, had passed away. And very quickly by all accounts, given that he was reported to have enjoyed a Thanksgiving...

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Milk and Gall, Theatre 503 review - motherhood in the age of Trump

Tuesday, 8 November 2016. Vera is in a New York hospital room giving birth to a son. On anxiously checked phones, the votes are piling up for Hillary, but the states are piling up for Trump. Vera’s world will never be the same again.Mathilde Dratwa’...

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The Velvet Underground review - Todd Haynes tunnels through band history

Todd Haynes’ documentary about the Velvet Underground has to be one of the better uses of time by a film-maker during the Covid pandemic. He spent lockdown putting the film together with a team of archivists and editors working remotely. It’s a...

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The Last Five Years, Garrick Theatre review - bittersweet musical treat gets West End upgrade

Much has happened in the five years since your reviewer braved the steep rake at The Other Palace and saw The Last Five Years (not least my now getting its “Nobody needs to know” nod in Hamilton – worth a fistful of Tonys in prestige, I guess) so it...

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Colson Whitehead: Harlem Shuffle review - period piece speaks to the present

More than once, reading Colson Whitehead’s latest novel Harlem Shuffle, the brilliant Josh and Benny Safdie movie Uncut Gems from 2019 came to mind, which was unexpected. For one, Whitehead’s book takes place on the other side of Central Park, far...

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Album: The Felice Brothers - From Dreams To Dust

There’s a modesty to the Felice Brothers, an absenting of ego, even as they seek glimmers of transcendence in the vast American night. These working-class Americana veterans are enriched by their native upstate New York, with its economic scars and...

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Out of the shadows: Dylan’s Eighties reappraised

Dylan’s 1980s weren’t great in terms of critical acclaim. As an emerging new fan, I knew that first hand from the scathing reviews accorded Shot of Love by the British music press when it was released in the summer of 1981, it seemed about as...

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Blu-ray: The Pawnbroker

The shadow of the Holocaust and the horror of the camps haunts literature and the cinema: from The Reader to The Night Porter, from Schindler’s List to Son of Saul. For some, the subject was beyond authentic representation – and perhaps only a...

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ANNA X, Harold Pinter Theatre review - lacking in substance

There just isn’t enough there, with ANNA X. Daniel Raggett’s production is the third and final of the RE:EMERGE season at the Harold Pinter Theatre, with Emma Corrin of Lady Di fame in the lead. The graphic design – the brightly-striped faces of...

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Summer of Soul review - glorious documentary combines music and black American history

It’s entirely appropriate that in 2021, when debates about racism fill our minds and music festivals are still curtailed that Summer of Soul, filmed in 1969 but forgotten for decades, should win Sundance and hit our screens. Its director Questlove (...

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