sun 21/01/2018

1930s

Girl from the North Country, Noël Coward Theatre review - Bob Dylan fuels a dreamlike drama

The rolling stone is now at home in the West End, as Conor McPherson’s inimitable dramatic take on Bob Dylan transfers from the Old Vic, where it premiered last summer. Described as “a play with songs”, it’s the distinct harmony of two art forms,...

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The Box of Delights, Wilton's Music Hall review - children's classic novel transferred to stage

Theatreland is currently awash with pantomimes and rehashes of A Christmas Carol, so all credit to this ambitious new production, an adaptation of the 1935 children’s book, The Box of Delights. Long before Narnia, poet laureate John Masefield...

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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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Tove Jansson (1914-2001), Dulwich Picture Gallery review – more than Moominvalley

Born into an artistic Swedish-speaking household in Helsinki, Tove Jansson’s first, and most enduring, ambition was to be a painter. Although best known as the illustrator behind the creatures of Moominvalley, those plump white hippopotamus-like...

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Anne Applebaum: Red Famine review - hope around a heart of darkness

Hands both sensitive and surgical are needed to guide a reader into the heart of the 20th century’s second biggest genocide and out again. Anne Applebaum is the right person for a queasy and difficult task, never turning away from the horrifying...

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Robert Harris: Munich review - reselling Hitler

Robert Harris’s first book about Hitler told the story of the hoax diaries which seduced Rupert Murdoch and Hugh Trevor-Roper. After Selling Hitler (1986) came Fatherland (1992), another fake story about the Führer. In that alternative history the...

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Prom 70 review: Denk, BBCSO, Canellakis - high, lucid and bright

It can’t be too long before “women” no longer needs to prefix “conductors” to define what’s still a rare breed. Yet seven at the Proms is certainly an improvement, with many more coming up through the ranks. And American Karina Canellakis turned out...

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Prom 61 review: Fleming, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Oramo - heliotropic ecstasies

No sunshine without shadows was one possible theme rippling through this diva sandwich of a Prom. Even Richard Strauss's chaste nymph Daphne, achieving longed-for metamorphosis as a tree, finds darkness among the roots; and though Renée "The...

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Girl from the North Country, Old Vic review – Dylan songs hit home, the rest is weirdness

Plays with songs in, or more precisely plays with famous songs in, can feel like the uncanny valley of theatre. They’re not quite musicals and not quite tribute shows. They deliver on familiar tunes and disconcert with fresh narrative. You’re...

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BambinO / Last And First Men, Manchester International Festival

The Manchester International Festival – a biennale of new creative work – this year has a new artistic director in John McGrath, and there’s no large-scale new opera or prominent "classical" work, it would seem, other than Raymond Yiu’s song cycle,...

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The Discovery of Mondrian review - the most comprehensive survey ever

Standing inside the Gemeentemuseum’s life-size reconstruction of Mondrian’s Paris studio, the painter’s reputation as an austere recluse seems well-deserved. Returning from Holland to France after the First World War, he lived and worked in what...

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Little, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall Birmingham

The CBSO is justifiably proud of its association with Benjamin Britten. There’s rather less proof that he reciprocated, dismissing the orchestra as "second-rate" after it premiered his War Requiem in 1962. Throughout the 1950s, he’d repeatedly...

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