sat 21/01/2017

England

CD: Trish Clowes - My Iris

Saxophonist, composer and former Radio 3 New Generation Artist Trish Clowes has created a reputation for original chamber jazz of densely woven harmonies and delicate, sometimes folk-tinged melody. This fourth album, with a quartet rather than (as...

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Taboo, BBC One

The arrival of this oppressively atmospheric 19th-century historical drama is being trailed as the BBC's bold attempt to break the Saturday night stranglehold of soaps and talent shows. No doubt they were encouraged by the success of all those...

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Judi Dench: All the World's Her Stage, BBC Two

The hyperbole began as soon as the voiceover did: “For most of us Judi Dench is M…” So much for Bernard Lee. The implication was that if you can remember him, then Judi Dench: All the World’s Her Stage was not for you. After all, she played James...

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To Walk Invisible, BBC One

Yorkshire-born screenwriter Sally Wainwright has carved a distinguished niche for herself as chronicler of that brooding, beautiful region’s social and familial dramas. After the romance of Last Tango in Halifax and the gritty panorama of Happy...

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A Monster Calls

It's not often you hear the sound of film critics sobbing quietly to themselves, but this really happened at the screening I attended of A Monster Calls. Having seen the trailer, with its scenes of a giant tree stomping around a spooky-looking...

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Alan Bennett’s Diaries, BBC Two

Gather round the fire, friends: no Santa down the chimney this Christmas Eve, but the curiously comforting Alan Bennett, with his sardonic and occasionally optimistic diaries. The latest published instalment has the slightly wry title Keeping On...

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Lenny Henry: A Life on Screen, BBC Two

You couldn’t make him up – a big man in every sense, outspoken, spiky, adored, coming from a black working-class family to move from the proverbial nothing to become so much more than something. How to make a documentary tribute without it being...

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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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