wed 07/12/2016

England

The Incident

A pale young girl – we see her blurred reflection in a window – is hanging out at a pizza joint. She follows a customer, Joe, a handsome young architect, out to his car, where he’s waiting for his order, and flirts with him, smoking and...

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King Lear, RSC, Barbican

At the conclusion of a year in which Britishness has come so resoundingly to the fore of the national debate – and with a play that at the time of its writing, 1605-6, was engaging with that concept no less urgently – the first impression made by...

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An Inspector Calls, Playhouse Theatre

So, the Inspector has come calling yet again. Twenty-four years have passed since Stephen Daldry’s graphic revision of JB Priestley’s moral tub-thumper opened at the National, followed by a tour of duty in the West End that seemed to go on forever....

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Removal Men, The Yard Theatre

If you thought that a contemporary drama about forcible repatriation, set in an Immigration removal centre, would be about the plight of those confined in places like the infamous Yarl’s Wood, in Removal Men writers MJ Harding and Jay Miller give us...

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Close to the Enemy, BBC Two / Paranoid, Series Finale, ITV

We last encountered Stephen Poliakoff on TV in 2013's Dancing on the Edge, which provoked mixed reactions (not least on theartsdesk). That was the story of a black jazz band in 1930s London, who played gigs at swanky hotels. Close to the Enemy (★)...

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The Crown, Netflix

Peter Morgan can't get enough of Her Majesty. Ten years ago he wrote The Queen (with Helen Mirren starring), in 2013 he brought us the stage play The Audience (Dame Helen, again), and now he's written all 10 episodes of this first series of Netflix'...

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The Choir: Gareth's Best in Britain, BBC Two

Got Soul! Honeybelles! Mums in Durham! Three shortlisted finalists from the north and Scotland. Along the way we – and Gareth Malone – were sung to by the Mancunian Rhythm of Life, not to mention Too Many Cooks in Inverness, and a septuagenarian all...

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Dark Angel, ITV

Having served her time as dutiful, self-effacing Anna Bates in Downton Abbey, here's Joanne Froggatt grasping with both hands the role of Mary Ann Cotton, "Britain's first female serial killer". No more wearing herself out desperately trying to save...

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On the road with Bob Dylan: the mother of all rockumentaries

Dont Look Back is the Ur-rockumentary, the template for hundreds of hand-held rock tour films, a source of inspiration as well as a model to aspire to.When director DA Pennebaker went on the road with Bob Dylan as he played a number of English gigs...

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The Girl with All the Gifts

Not having read Mike Carey's source novel, I enjoyed the luxury of settling down with my bag of Warner Bros promotional popcorn having no idea where this story was headed. And for the first third of the movie, this was a real bonus.Who were these...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Psychomania

Fusing genres to come up with unique takes on familiar tropes can be risky. The unwieldy results may be an unappetising mess. Mother Riley Meets the Vampire, where Arthur Lucan and Bela Lugosi fought for space in an unfunny 1952 fusion of comedy and...

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The Entertainer, Garrick Theatre

For the final show in his year-long stay at this West End address, Kenneth Branagh has chosen to revive and star in John Osborne’s 1957 play. By doing so, he finds himself once again treading in the footsteps of Sir Laurence Olivier, who originally...

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