tue 21/11/2017

England

Classical CDs Weekly: Howells, Karayev, Lotichius

Herbert Howells: Music for Clavichord Julian Perkins (Prima Facie)Herbert Howells was at a low ebb in the 1920s. His energies were sapped by ongoing health issues and resultant medical treatment. A severe creative crisis followed the disastrous...

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Storyville: Toffs, Queers and Traitors, BBC Four review - the spy who was a scamp

“There is something odd, I suppose, about anyone who betrays their country.” It’s an excellent opening line, particularly when delivered in director George Carey’s nicely querulous narrative voice, for Toffs, Queers and Traitors (BBC Four). He...

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Howards End, BBC One review - EM Forster adaptation is finding its footing

Can it really be a quarter-century since that finest of all Merchant-Ivory film adaptations, Howards End, was first released? So it is, astonishingly, which surely means the time is ripe for a fresh celluloid take on EM Forster's enduring 1910 novel...

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The Best of AA Gill review - posthumous words collected

Word wizard. Grammar bully. Sentence shark. AA Gill didn’t play fair by syntax: he pounced on it, surprising it into splendid shapes. And who cared when he wooed readers with anarchy and aplomb? Hardly uncontroversial, let alone inoffensive (he...

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Ferrari: Race to Immortality review - death and glory in 1950s motor racing

And so the mini-boom in motor racing movies continues, this time with a look back at the history of Ferrari and the intense on-track battles of the 1950s, a decade in which the Scuderia won four of its 15 Formula One World Drivers Championships. In...

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Inspector George Gently, BBC One review - power, corruption and lies in his last-ever case

And now the end is near… and so Inspector George Gently faces his final case. Deemed too political to be broadcast in its original slot in May – 10 days before the General Election – Gently and the New Age was postponed until 8.30pm last...

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Breathe review - heroic but airbrushed struggle against disability

It’s a challenge to review this film without resorting to adjectives like “plucky” and “well-meaning”, and its mainstream comfiness made it a strangely cautious choice for the opening night of the recent London Film Festival. Breathe is not only...

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Saint George and the Dragon, National Theatre review – a modern folk tale in the Olivier

Bold and fearless are adjectives that might describe playwright Rory Mullarkey as accurately as any chivalrous knight. He made his name in 2013 when, at the age of 25, his play Cannibals, part of which was in Russian, took to the main stage at the...

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Jane Eyre, National Theatre review - a dynamic treatment that just misses

Sometimes you go to the theatre and in the first 10 minutes are convinced that the production is going to smash it, only to find by half time that it’s not. Initial delight gives way to mild irritation, and as a member of the ticket-buying public...

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Goodbye Christopher Robin review - no escape for a boy and his bear

“Isn’t it funny/How a bear likes honey?/Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!/I wonder why he does.” Those immortal words, said by the bear of very little brain in chapter one of Winnie-the-Pooh, don’t sound quite the same after watching a shell-shocked AA Milne (...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Life Is Sweet

Sweet isn’t the right word; in Mike Leigh’s 1990 film, life is unfair, frustrating and confusing by turns. Though, despite the darkness, Life Is Sweet exudes positivity and remains one of Leigh’s funniest, most quotable features.Many of the best...

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Claire Tomalin: A Life of My Own review - the biographer on herself

The title says it all, or at least quite a lot. Luminously intelligent, an exceptionally hard worker, bilingual in French, a gifted biographer, Claire Tomalin has been at the heart of the literati glitterati all her working life. Here she turns her...

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