wed 03/09/2014

Reviews

Gems TV, ITV

Tom Birchenough

The Bennet family had an issue. Time to get the Austenesque quips out of the way. For the Bennets in Gems TV the truth universally acknowledged was, roughly: “That a £100 million family-run jewellery television channel risking running out of its best-selling African gem, not to mention suffering from shortage of screen presenters who can flog the stuff, must be in want of a friendly television documentary format to get them out of their fix.” (For the record, no one seemed sure if it was a...

Proms Chamber Music 7: Benjamin Grosvenor/Prom 60: Driver, RPO, Dutoit

David Nice

After the enervating excesses of Salome and Elektra at the weekend, the abundance of notes at the Proms continued in a piano recital and an orchestral showstopper, but this time with built-in air conditioning. After all, both 22-year-old Benjamin Grosvenor and septuagenarian Charles Dutoit are absolutely in control of the colours they make, very occasionally too much so. But it was a rainbow-hued day inside the Cadogan and Royal Albert Halls, culminating in a spectacular and perhaps...

The Guest

Nick Hasted

Dan Stevens puts Downton behind him to become a CIA-built killing machine laying low in a New Mexico small town, in Adam Wingard’s bonkers new...

Return to Betjemanland, BBC Four

Matthew Wright

Poet and campaigner John Betjeman, who died 30 years ago this year, still has a public profile most writers would die for tomorrow. He shares with...

Prom 59: Elektra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bychkov

Edward Seckerson

How much familial dysfunction and lust - whether for sexual gratification or revenge - can one take in a single weekend? Salome and Elektra back-to...

Before I Go To Sleep

Karen Krizanovich

This incredibly beautiful homegrown British thriller can't quite do the business

Prom 58: Salome, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Runnicles

David Nice

Nina Stemme stuns in a giddying account of Strauss's incredible score

Andrew Marr’s Great Scots - The Writers Who Shaped a Nation, BBC Two

Tom Birchenough

Magisterial, richly entertaining study of Scottish identity through its literature

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Volkov, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

Supercharged Janáček marks the end of festival director’s eight year reign

Reissue CDs Weekly: The 13th Floor Elevators

Kieron Tyler

Bad trips and altered time on compelling live psychedelic artefact from 1967

Kate Bush, Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith

Russ Coffey

It's the most hyped gig of the year - but how good is it really?

Toast, Park Theatre

Caroline Crampton

Richard Bean's play about a bread plant in Hull in the 1970s rises to the occasion

Stammer School: Musharaf Finds His Voice, Channel 4

Tom Birchenough

Great television as stammerers make moving journey towards self-expression

Obvious Child

Emma Dibdin

Jenny Slate stars in a frank, wry study of female arrested development

CounterSpy

Simon Munk

Visually striking stealth-action game leaves one stirred, but not very shaken…

Les Troyens, Mariinsky Opera, Gergiev, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

Russian stars bring rich operatic highlight to last week of Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Fringe 2014: Circa, Beyond

Hanna Weibye

Entertaining circus show from top-quality Australian ensemble

Star Paws: The Rise of Superstar Pets, Channel 4

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Flimsy documentary is one for the feline-minded

Patrias, Paco Peña Flamenco Company, Edinburgh Playhouse

Hanna Weibye

Rich, thoughtful show from flamenco legend

Million Dollar Arm

Emma Simmonds

Jon Hamm makes his bid for movie stardom in a semi-winning baseball drama

Steen Raskopoulos, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Superb character comedy from Australian debutant

The Grand Seduction

Katherine McLaughlin

Brendan Gleeson stars in this twee and trite Canadian comedy from Don McKellar

Prom 53: Brahms Symphonies, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer

Jessica Duchen

Exceptional control and finesse allow Brahms’s masterpieces to shine supreme

Worst Place To Be A Pilot, Channel 4

Matthew Wright

Fascinating and original concept only partially ruined by condescending direction

Guglielmo Tell, Teatro Regio Torino, Noseda, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Hanna Weibye

Wildly thrilling Festival performance enough to convert anyone to Rossini

Mystery Road

Kieron Tyler

A raw take on Australia in potent outback crime drama

Prom 52: Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer

Sebastian Scotney

Whole string sections with the ability to phrase cleverly and subtly as one

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Katherine McLaughlin

Frank Miller's 3D return to the world of Basin City proves a grotty and flat experience

John Kearns/ Alex Edelman/ This Is Ceilidh

Veronica Lee

Winning shows at the Edinburgh Fringe

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Gems TV, ITV

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Rainbow colours with a cooling shower or two in Proms showpiece time

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