wed 26/04/2017

America

Doctor Atomic, BBCSO, Adams, Barbican

Bomb-dropping is the new black again in Trump's dysfunctional America. Awareness of that contributed to the crackling cloud of dynamic dread hanging over last night's concert staging of John Adams's opera-oratorio - my description, not his - about...

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CD: John Mellencamp - Sad Clowns & Hillbillies

The 23rd studio album from the artist formerly known as John Cougar was originally destined to be a religious album, but the songs he and Carlene Carter wrote turned out to be not quite so God-fearing as all that, though there’s certainly a...

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CD: Bonnie Prince Billy - Best Troubadour

Best Troubadour is Bonnie Prince Billy's musical tribute to his "forever hero", country singer Merle Haggard. Haggard was best known for his song "Okie from Muskogee", a wry homage to small-town Southern values. Students of country...

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DVD: Martin Scorsese - Two Early Films

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any More was Ellen Burstyn’s baby. Determined to use her clout after The Exorcist to make a film from a woman’s viewpoint, she offered Robert Getchell’s script to a director who confessed he knew nothing about women. “But,”...

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Unforgettable review - forgettable film

Within seconds – literally seconds – of Unforgettable it becomes apparent that this is the kind of film that in the late Eighties and Nineties used to be referred to as “straight to video”, a label that covered a plethora of trashy, sexist, by-the-...

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Whisper House, The Other Palace review - 'a delicately calibrated human story struggling to be heard'

It used to be said that the devil had all the best music. But the devil seems to have lost his touch in this ghost-story rock musical from Duncan Sheik, composer of the stage version of American Psycho and the award-laden Spring Awakening. If the...

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Homeland review - 'worryingly prescient'

It was a long time coming, but Homeland’s sixth series at last awoke from its early-season slumbers to put on a late surge over the closing episodes. For a while, it had seemed that the story was barely advancing at all, as the screen was self-...

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Pink Martini, Brighton Dome

"An Evening with Pink Martini" consists of two sets by the Portland, Oregon group/mini-orchestra. Of these, the first takes the prize, but only by a very short lead. During it the nine-piece, led by Thomas Lauderdale at the piano, seem to relax and...

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Carousel, London Coliseum review - 'Katherine Jenkins is game, Boe out-acted by wig'

“Then I’ll kiss her so she’ll know.” At the sound of his ringing voice, the girls part to reveal him standing there, a hapless monument of rumpled charm. The audience relaxes in pleasure as an easeful actor joyfully shows what you can do with a...

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I Am Not Your Negro, review - 'powerful portrait of James Baldwin'

The Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro is a chronicle of the pioneering writer and Civil Rights activist James Baldwin. Its director Raoul Peck mirrors the intellectual challenge that Baldwin set his audience: the film demands that you...

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A Quiet Passion, review - 'Cynthia Nixon is an indrawn Emily Dickinson'

Is there something about the recessive life of Emily Dickinson that defies dramatisation? I'm beginning to think so after A Quiet Passion. The Terence Davies film may attempt a more authentic take on the unrelievedly bleak, and also great, 19th-...

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Free Fire review - 'entertaining massacre with superb cast'

Ben Wheatley’s sixth film in a prolific, unpredictable career is a shoot-‘em-up in the most literal sense. Setting a superb international cast led by Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy down in a big, grim warehouse, he lets them blast bits off each...

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