sun 30/04/2017

family relationships

Heal the Living review - 'lots of emotion, not enough life'

Three teenage boys meet at dawn. One of them, blonde and beautiful Simon (Gabin Verdet), jumps out of his girlfriend’s window and rides his bike through the dark Lyon streets to meet the others in their van. They drive almost silently to the beach,...

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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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The Winter's Tale, Barbican review - Cheek by Jowl's latest wavers in tone

This is a well-travelled Winter’s Tale. Declan Donnellan has long been a director who's as much at home abroad as he is in the UK, and with co-production support here coming pronouncedly from Europe (there's American backing, too), Cheek by Jowl...

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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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The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - 'Damian Lewis devastates'

Asked in an interview if there remained any taboos in the theatre, Edward Albee answered, “Yes. I don’t think you should be allowed to bore an intelligent, responsive, sober audience”. An experienced interviewee, he pokes mischievous fun at a...

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Consent, National Theatre, review - 'thrilling revenge drama'

Rape is such a serious social issue that it’s hardly surprising that several recent plays have tackled it. I’m thinking of Gary Owen’s Violence and Son, James Fritz’s Four Minutes Twelve Seconds and Evan Placey’s Consensual. All of these discuss,...

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Graduation review - 'Cannes winner is a bleak Romanian masterpiece'

A decade ago Romanian director Cristian Mungiu took the Palme d’Or at Cannes for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, a gruelling abortion drama set in the dying days of the Ceauşescu dictatorship. The cold intensity of that film made it a key work in...

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Sunday Book: Yrsa Sigurdardóttir - The Legacy

Anyone who's followed Yrsa's earlier novels, many of them featuring down-to-earth attorney Thora Gudmundsdóttir as heroine, will value her superb evocation of very distinct and haunting parts of Iceland - the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Heimaey island,...

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I'm Gonna Pray for You So Hard, Finborough Theatre

In I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard, Halley Feiffer has written a right curmudgeon of a central role. David is a successful playwright, a Pulitzer Prize-winner who has no difficulty slotting himself directly into the great American drama tradition. He...

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Trespass Against Us

The Cutlers are Pa Larkin's Darling Buds of May clan gone feral, rampaging across the Cotswolds. With Brendan Gleeson as patriarch Colby and Michael Fassbender as the troubled heir to his travellers’ caravan throne, the tone is country miles from...

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It’s Only the End of the World

French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan leaves the time and place of It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde) deliberately unclear: “Somewhere, a while ago already” is the only clue offered by its opening titles. An adaptation of the...

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The Girls, Phoenix Theatre

Why? That's the abiding question that hangs over The Girls, the sluggish and entirely pro forma Tim Firth-Gary Barlow musical that goes where Firth's film and stage play of Calendar Girls have already led. Telling of a charitable impulse that...

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