sat 24/02/2018

17th century

The Return of Ulysses, Royal Opera, Roundhouse review - musical drama trumps dodgy stagecraft

The power of music solves every problem, at least when as bewitchingly performed as it was here. With the great mezzo Christine Rice voiceless for at least a night, and rising star Caitlin Hulcup singing for her from the midst of the instruments in...

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Breaking the Rules, LSO St Luke's review – music and murder with Gesualdo

The “concert drama” is on the up, offering audiences a mingled-genre means to experience music and its context simultaneously. The author and singer Clare Norburn has an absolute peach of a story to tell in the "imagined testimony of Carlo Gesualdo...

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The Miniaturist, BBC One review - a lovely supernatural soap

Simon Schama called the Netherlands’ century of success an "embarrassment of riches". The thrust of Jessie Burton’s lavishly hyped debut novel The Miniaturist is that the Dutch felt guilty about their good fortune, and denied themselves the right to...

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Mother Courage, Southwark Playhouse review - this production is not one for our times

One of the questions that can be asked of Brecht is whether for a modern audience his Verfremdungseffekt — or alienation effect — still works as intended, provoking genuine reflections on justice by distancing audiences from emotional...

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Gunpowder, BBC One review – death, horror, treason and a hint of farce

Much is being made of the fact that Kit Harington is not only playing the Gunpowder Plot mastermind Robert Catesby, but is genuinely descended from him (and his middle name is Catesby). However, despite its factual underpinnings and screenwriter...

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The Encounter, National Portrait Gallery review - dazzlingly evocative drawings

As a line flows or falters, registering each slight change in pressure, pause, or occasional reworking, it seems to offer a glimpse into the mind of the artist at work. The line is the instrument of the artist’s eye, the often unpolished,...

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Queen Anne, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - slow, long and dull

How well do you know your British history? Fancy explaining the causes and origins of the Glorious Revolution or listing the members of the Grand Alliance? What about the terms of the 1701 Act of Settlement or the Occasional Confirmity Bill of 1702...

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The Tempest, Barbican Theatre review - sound and fury at the expense of sense

Can The Tempest open on stage without a tempest – of crashing, shrieking and torment – and thus without what can become five minutes-plus of inaudibility? In Gregory Doran’s 2016 Stratford production for the RSC, revived at the Barbican Theatre...

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Life of Galileo, Young Vic review - shared-experience Brecht is powerful, timely

Never mind breaking the fourth wall, Joe Wright and the Young Vic have smashed the other three as well. This isn’t simply because their engaging production of Life of Galileo, demonstrating the struggle between science and prevailing authority, is...

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L'Incoronazione di Poppea, EBS, Gardiner, Colston Hall, Bristol

Whatever musicologists may tell us about the patchy authenticity of Monteverdi’s last two operas, they unquestionably make a pair. Il ritorno di Ulisse is all about fidelity and ends with a love duet between the reunited husband and wife. L’...

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The Cardinal, Southwark Playhouse review - 'rarely produced play has renewed punch'

James Shirley is a rarely performed 17th-century playwright whose oeuvre has generally been consigned to theatrical study and research. Written for King Charles I at a time of great political upheaval and with the English Civil War looming, not to...

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The Miser, Garrick Theatre

Trimmings, trimmings. They prove the final straw for Molière’s Harpagon in this new adaptation of the classic French comedy-farce. The menu for his wedding banquet – which he doesn’t want to spend a centime more on than he has to – is being...

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