sat 23/09/2017

history

Oslo, National Theatre review - informative, gripping and moving

Documentary theatre has a poor reputation. It’s boring in form, boring to look at (all those middle-aged men in suits), and usually only tells you what you already know. It’s journalism without the immediacy of the news. But there are other ways of...

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Victoria and Abdul review - Judi Dench's Queen Victoria retread battles creaky script

The charm quickly palls in Victoria and Abdul, a watery sequel of sorts to Mrs Brown that salvages what lustre it can from its octogenarian star, the indefatigable Judi Dench. Illuminating a little-known friendship between Queen Victoria in her...

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Boudica, Shakespeare's Globe review - ancient history made compellingly contemporary

History comes to the stage of the Globe only rarely – at least if you compare the frequency of productions there from that segment of the Shakespearean canon against the tragedies and comedies – which is certainly one reason to welcome Boudica. Much...

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'The kaleidoscope of an entire lifetime of memories'

When director Bruce Guthrie first gave me the script for Man to Man by Manfred Karge, I was immediately mesmerised by the language, each of the 27 scenes leapt off the page. Some are a few short sentences, other pages long; every one a...

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Richard III review - Temple Church venue is the star of the show

Temple Church gained worldwide fame when Dan Brown included a major plot point there in his mega-selling novel The Da Vinci Code in 2003, but it has been standing, minding its own business, since the late 12th century. Now it’s home for a short run...

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Matthew Dunster on adapting 'A Tale of Two Cities'

When you are adapting a novel like A Tale of Two Cities, it's a privilege to sit with a great piece of writing for a considerable amount of time. You also feel secure (and a bit cheeky) in the knowledge that another writer has already done most of...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Daughters of the Dust

Julie Dash’s remarkable 1991 film tells the story of the Peazant family, the descendants of freed slaves who live on the Georgia Sea Islands, an isolated community on the South-Eastern seaboard of the USA, more in touch with African traditions than...

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Jonathan Miles: St Petersburg review - culture and calamity

Talk about survival: St Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, now again St Petersburg, all the same city, has it nailed down. It was founded through the mad enthusiasm, intelligence, determination and just off-the-scale energy of Peter the Great in 1703...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Sorrow and the Pity

All the accolades heaped onto this documentary in the near 50 years since it was made are wholly deserved. Over 251 minutes, Marcel Ophuls weaves together an extraordinary collection of interviews and archive to tell the story of France during the...

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Brenda Maddox: Reading the Rocks review - revelations of geology

Reading the Rocks has a provocative subtitle, “How Victorian Geologists Discovered the Secret of Life”, indicating the role of geology in paving the way to an understanding of the evolution of our planet as a changing physical entity that was to...

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John Man: Amazons review - the real warrior women of the ancient world

As Wonder Woman hits screens worldwide, the publication of a book that explores the myth and reality of the Amazon seems timely. The latest of John Man’s works of popular history is opportunistic enough to end with a fascinating account of the...

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Who Should We Let In? Ian Hislop on the First Great Immigration Row, review – how history repeats itself

Immigration…immigration… immigration… that’s what we need! Not the words of record-breaking, tap-dancing trumpeter Roy Castle, rather it’s the gist of a Times leader from 1853 (admittedly, fairly heavily paraphrased). It was just one of the eye-...

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