tue 07/02/2023

politics

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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Watch on the Rhine, Donmar Warehouse review - Lillian Hellman's 1940 play is still asking awkward questions

We’re reminded, in a grainy black and white video framing device, that, as late as the summer of 1941, the USA saw World War II as just another European war. As brilliantly illustrated in Phillip Roth’s The Plot Against America, not only was such...

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Stonehouse, ITV review - history repeats itself as farce

A disclaimer in the opening credits confessed that some scenes in this three-part history of disgraced Labour MP John Stonehouse had been “imagined for dramatic purposes”, but there was no need. The man’s life story fell comfortably into the “you...

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Album of the Year 2022: Hercules & Love Affair - In Amber

It’s been a shit year. Global horrors from Kiev to Karachi and Tehran to Texas all somehow feeling too close for comfort, and even closer to home heatstroke, frostbite, floods, strikes, impoverishment, the grinding realisation that pestilence is a...

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Mandela, Young Vic review - baffling bio-musical

As bio-musicals continue to have their heyday, it makes sense for the Young Vic to throw its hat in the ring and champion a work about the hugely influential Nelson Mandela. But this new musical about the South African anti-apartheid activist and...

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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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Mary, Hampstead Theatre review - compelling study of power politics

Scottish playwright Rona Munro is both prolific and ambitious. After her trilogy of historical dramas, The James Plays, was staged in 2016, she continues to work on her cycle of seven works, covering the years from 1406 to 1625, which are designed...

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Tammy Faye, Almeida Theatre review - Elton John's often dazzling new musical

I’ll confess to a certain schadenfreude when the American televangelists who seemed so foreign to us Brits were led away to be papped on their perp walks, ministers in manacles: One big name after another skewered on their own hubris, gulling the...

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The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Rose Theatre review - new production of classic proves a gruelling experience

Brecht – as I suppose he intended – is always a shock to the system. With not a word on what to expect from his commitment to the strictures of epic theatre in the programme, a star of West End musical theatre cast in the lead and a venue...

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Andrew Murray: Is Socialism Possible in Britain? review - what went wrong and why Corbynism failed

The title of Andrew Murray’s new book poses a question that also vexed Friedrich Engels over 130 years ago. The German co-author of The Communist Manifesto despaired of English socialism, "that abomination of abominations", on the grounds...

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Iphigenia in Splott, Lyric Hammersmith review - raises as many questions as answers

It’s hard to keep up with what terms are in vogue amongst those who insist on classifying and vilifying young people, but one that you don’t hear so often these days is NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Back in 2015 when Gary Owen's...

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This England, Sky Atlantic review - how Boris's No 10 got Covid wrong

From underneath the messy ash-white thatch of hair, a strange mooing suddenly issues: Sir Kenneth Branagh is wrestling with Boris Johnson’s odd way of saying the “oo” sound. It’s a brave attempt but ultimately a bit wayward, rather like the drama...

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