sun 26/05/2024

World War Two

Annie Jacobsen: Nuclear War: A Scenario review - on the inconceivable

"[A]n unimaginably beautiful day": this was how Kikue Shiota described the morning of the 6th of August, 1945, in Hiroshima. The day was soon to change, unimaginably, as the city was blitzed by the airburst of the first atomic bomb, nicknamed Little...

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Theresienstadt-Terezin 1941-1945, Nash Ensemble, Wigmore Hall review - memorial music of stunning impact

Towards the end of his book Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann deploys a cogent expression: “chasing history, before it disappears”.Last time the Nash Ensemble devoted a weekend here to music from the Terezín concentration camp, in 2010, there...

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Nachtland, Young Vic review - German black comedy brings uneasy humour and discomfiting relevance

If Mark Twain thought that a German joke was no laughing matter, what would he make of a German comedy? That quote came to mind more than once during Patrick Marber’s production of Marius von Mayenburg’s 2022 play, Nachtland. I know it’s...

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Occupied City review - unquiet Nazi crimes

“I feel as if I am live reporting from a shipwreck,” Dutch-Jewish journalist Philip Mechanicus wrote en route to his concentration camp murder. Steve McQueen’s four-hour reverie on Amsterdam’s Nazi occupation teases out the scars of that arbitrary,...

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The Zone of Interest review - garden gates of death

The jokey serious point in Mel Brooks’s The Producers is that you shouldn’t be able to make a musical set among Nazis. But if you shouldn’t make a musical, can you make any fiction?The renowned chronicler of the death camps, Elie Wiesel, said that a...

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The Most Precious of Goods, Marylebone Theatre review - old-fashioned storytelling of an all-too relevant tale

As last week’s news evidenced, genocide never really goes out of fashion. So it’s only right and proper that art continues to address the hideous concept and, while nothing, not even Primo Levi’s shattering If This Is a Man, can capture the scale of...

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Masters of the Air, Apple TV+ review - painful and poignant account of the Eighth Air Force's bombing campaign

“Are they all like that?” asks a shaken Major Bucky Egan (Callum Turner), after he’s completed his first bombing mission over Germany as a guest of the US Eighth Air Force’s 389th Bomb Group. They’ve been battered by flak and lacerated by German...

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Powell and Pressburger: A Celtic storm brewing

“Nothing is stronger than true love,” a young laird says to a headstrong young woman in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s I Know Where I’m Going! (1945), his voice heard above the sounds of wind and waves. She replies, “No, nothing.”Even as...

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Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre review - formidable stagecraft unlocks new depths to the popular series

Stranger Things has shown us over four seasons that the alternate dimension known as the Upside Down can be the seat of many things: terror, mystery, camaraderie, compassion. As it turns out, it can spawn great theatre, too, for Stephen Daldry’s...

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Powell and Pressburger: the glueman cometh

The shop assistant turned World War Two Land Army girl Alison Smith, clad in a summer dress on the sabbath, steps through a glade onto a hilltop track above the village of Chillingbourne in Kent. It’s the same road once taken by medieval...

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Dance First - the travails of Samuel Beckett

Dance First takes its title from a line in Samuel Beckett’s most famous work Waiting for Godot. “Perhaps he could dance first and think afterwards,” says the tramp Estragon of Pozzo’s slave Lucky, who then proceeds to do both in a typically absurd...

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Powell and Pressburger: Spy masters

Alfred Hitchcock and Michael Powell are, almost certainly, Britain’s greatest directors. Hitchcock was slightly older, and entered the film business earlier; in fact, Powell worked as a stills photographer on Hitchcock’s Champagne and...

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