fri 27/11/2015, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Bridge of Spies

Jasper Rees

Nostalgia for the good old days of mutually assured destruction? You’d have got long odds on such a thing on 9 November 1989, the day the Berlin Wall was breached. A quarter of a...

Artist and Empire, Tate Britain

Florence Hallett

There are some wonderful things in this exhibition, and that’s no surprise: the British Empire endured for over 500 years and at its peak extended across a quarter of the world’s...

Little Eyolf, Almeida Theatre

David Nice

Greek family smashups at the Almeida now yield to northern agony sagas, less bloody but potentially just as harrowing. In Little Eyolf the 66-year-old Ibsen dissected a...

Black Mass

Adam Sweeting

The city of Boston has been creeping up the charts as a hotbed of cinematic criminality in the last decade. First came Martin Scorsese's Oscar-scooping epic The Departed, then Ben...

The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds, Channel 4

Barney Harsent

Kids today eh? Eh? Ask them what they want to be and they’ll probably reply, “famous” or “rich.” I mean, really… what do they aspire to? What do they want? Wearable tech and a...

Piano Circus, Juice Vocal Ensemble, Kings Place

Bernard Hughes

It is not surprising that Piano Circus rarely play on six real pianos (although the photo on last night’s programme cover shows just that). The expense, the stage space required...

Around the World in 80 Days: why now?

Laura Eason

I adapted Around the World in Eighty Days very specifically for my own theatre company, Lookingglass Theatre of Chicago,...

DVD: Closely Observed Trains

Jasper Rees

There’s never been any agreement about translating the participle. Its victory as 1968’s best foreign film is listed on...

Jessica Jones, Netflix

Barney Harsent

After the roaring success of Daredevil this year, Marvel brings us the next instalment in the TV rendering of their universe...


Demetrios Matheou

New York, in the early 1950s. Twenty-something Therese Belivet is working in a Manhattan department store at Christmas,...

Pericles, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Alexandra Coghlan

Pericles is a play of voyages. Lands and landscapes crowd in, one after the other – Tyre, Tarsus, Ephesus, Antioch, Mitylene...

CD: The Vamps - Wake Up

Thomas H Green

If you’re between 12 and 15, The Vamps are big news. Ten million singles sales and 225 million YouTube views. That sort of...

Star Wars Battlefront

Steve O'Rourke

Love, loathe or feel totally indifferent about Jedis and Stormtroopers, there will be no avoiding the Force when the...

Evening at The Talk House, National Theatre

Matt Wolf

A lot of people are going to be enraged, frustrated, or confused by Evening at The Talk House, and in the authorial world of...

Capital, BBC One

Tom Birchenough

If the title wasn’t already occupied, television-wise, the BBC might have titled Capital “The Street”. It’s got the high...

Ben Hur, Tricycle Theatre

Marianka Swain

Hollywood took 365 speaking parts, 50,000 extras and 2,500 horses to tell this epic tale in 1959; here at the Tricycle, it’s...

James Morrison, O2 Shepherd's Bush

Matthew Wright

James Morrison has spent several years out of the limelight, with family difficulties to attend to. Would age and experience...

My Skinny Sister

David Kettle

First-time writer/director Sanna Lenken’s touching anorexia drama is such a heartfelt, fragile thing that it feels churlish...

Ed Byrne, Theatre Royal, Winchester

Veronica Lee

The show's title, Outside, Looking In, might suggest we're in for some philosophising from Ed Byrne – but then, after...

DVD: Murder in the Cathedral

Tom Birchenough

The real achievement of this remarkable DVD release from the BFI is the fact that it brings the name of George Hoellering...

The Homecoming, Trafalgar Studios

Marianka Swain

Welcome to the hellmouth. In Jamie Lloyd’s startling 50th anniversary revival, the seething, primal hinterland of Pinter’s...

Visions of Paradise: Botticini's Palmieri Altarpiece, National Gallery

Florence Hallett

The strikingly architectural space that forms the upper portion of Botticini’s Palmieri altarpiece is well-suited to an...

Disappears perform David Bowie's Low, 100 Club, London

Barney Harsent

The 100 Club is dark. Really dark. People are shrouded in the ink-light. I think it’s to save their embarrassment as they...

The Divided Laing, Arcola Theatre

Aleks Sierz

RD (“Ronnie”) Laing was a typically eccentric 1960s guru. A Scottish psychiatrist who was one of the leading lights of the...


JESSICA JONES, NETFLIX The superhero universe has gained another star

JAMES MORRISON, O2 SHEPHERD'S BUSH Live-show charisma lifts anodyne material

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT Big, beautiful and edge-of-seat immersive – the Force is strong with this one

PERICLES, SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE This late romance is fairytale-charming, but its comedy is overpowering

CAROL Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are the star-crossed lovers of a ravishing romance

disc of the day

DVD: Closely Observed Trains

Oscar-winning masterpiece from the Czech New Wave

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We Made It

We Made It: The Headcaster App

Chris Chapman explains the genesis of his animated character app

We Made It: Wildlife photographer Roger Hooper

Waiting out leopards, being chased by elephants and campaigning with the WWF

We Made It: Stage Designer John Napier

The celebrated designer of 'Les Mis' and 'Cats' is putting on a show of his sculpture


The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds, Channel 4

Knee-high humans provide a first-class lesson in life

Jessica Jones, Netflix

The superhero universe has gained another star

Capital, BBC One

John Lanchester's metropolis so far seems scattered in screen version from Peter Bowker


Bridge of Spies

Spielberg's warm-hearted Cold War thriller is lit up by Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance

Black Mass

Gruelling Boston crime saga brings out the best of Johnny Depp

DVD: Closely Observed Trains

Oscar-winning masterpiece from the Czech New Wave

new music

CD: The Vamps - Wake Up

A drippy, if anthemic, second date with the latest teen dreams

James Morrison, O2 Shepherd's Bush

Live-show charisma lifts anodyne material

Disappears perform David Bowie's Low, 100 Club, London

A night of highs as the US rock band tackle 'Low'


Piano Circus, Juice Vocal Ensemble, Kings Place

A reinvented minimalist classic is let down by poor sound quality

Leonskaja 70th Birthday Concert, Wigmore Hall

Great pianist, great company: the classiest and most generous of celebrations

10 Questions for Composer Ludovico Einaudi

What are the elements that make up Einaudi's music?


Castor et Pollux, St John's Smith Square

A concert performance of Rameau rich with musical drama and delight

Morgen und Abend, Royal Opera

World premiere of a spellbinding, unified meditation on birth and death

L'Ospedale, Wilton's Music Hall

A clean bill of health for this operatic satire on the healthcare system


Little Eyolf, Almeida Theatre

Strong women and one weak man in Ibsen's swift study of isolation and guilt

Around the World in 80 Days: why now?

Phileas Fogg is off on his travels at St James Theatre. Its author explains what's new

Pericles, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

This late romance is fairytale-charming, but its comedy is overpowering

visual arts

Artist and Empire, Tate Britain

An ambitious survey that fails to do justice to a vast and complex subject

Visions of Paradise: Botticini's Palmieri Altarpiece, National Gallery

A long-lost Florentine church brought back to life through its altarpieces

Susan Philipsz: War Damaged Musical Instruments, Tate Britain

A hauntingly evocative sound installation marking World War One


The Two Pigeons, Royal Ballet

Well-executed revival of feathery romance with minimalist 'Monotones' for contrast

Yolanda Sonnabend: designer of MacMillan's 'neurotic' ballets

The late dance designer's views on bums, 'Swan Lake', and seeing into the choreographer's mind

Sacre, Sasha Waltz and Guests, Sadler's Wells

German choreographer delivers a Rite of Spring to remember


Ed Byrne, Theatre Royal, Winchester

Observational comic with a cutting edge

Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, Eventim Apollo

Oi! Time has not withered the two legends' characters or catchphrases

Dawn French, Vaudeville Theatre

Tears as well as laughter in a well-oiled stage memoir


Star Wars Battlefront

Big, beautiful and edge-of-seat immersive – the Force is strong with this one

Fallout 4

The end of the world has never looked so appealing. Plus Need for Speed, Shooty Skies and Starific

Guitar Hero Live - better than the real thing?

The game for inner axe gods is back. Plus 'The Walking Dead' and 'The Slimeking's Tower'


The 11 Best Gigs on Film (after Stop Making Sense)
As Talking Heads' masterpiece is restored on disc, we hail the great screen concerts
Listed: The 100 Funniest Things about Downton Abbey
Julian Fellowes' juggernaut has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in six series. Here's how he did it
Listed: Suffragettes portrayed
How have the pioneering days of women's emancipation fared in works of art?

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