thu 19/10/2017

Paris

DVD/Blu-ray: Belle de Jour

In the most famous scene in Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour, Catherine Deneuve’s resplendently blonde Séverine fantasises being tied to the wooden frame of a crude outdoor eating space. There she is pelted with mud by her surgeon husband Pierre (Jean...

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The Lie, Menier Chocolate Factory review - fake news, real feeling

A year after premiering acclaimed French playwright Florian Zeller’s The Truth, the Menier Chocolate Factory now hosts The Lie – which, as the name suggests, acts as a companion piece of sorts. Once again, we’re in a slippery Pinteresque realm...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Guy Johnston, Joyce El-Khoury, Michael Spyres, The Chanteuse

Guy Johnston: Tecchler’s Cello - From Cambridge to Rome (King’s College Cambridge)Acquiring a second-hand instrument always leads one to wonder what sort of a life it led before. Did said instrument enjoy a flourishing professional career, or was it...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Legend of the Holy Drinker

A decade after his masterpiece, The Tree of Wooden Clogs, won the 1978 Palme d’Or at Cannes, Italian director Ermanno Olmi took Venice’s 1988 Golden Lion for The Legend of the Holy Drinker (La leggenda del santo bevitore). Festival victories aside,...

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'Making it new' - Blake Morrison on adaptation, and how his new play came to life

Is there anything more terrifying for a playwright than the first day of rehearsals? For months, even years, you’ve been working and reworking the text, saying the words aloud to yourself in an empty room and imagining the actors saying them to a...

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The Blinding Light, Jermyn Street Theatre, review – Jasper Britton is fascinatingly febrile

Anyone who likes playing “Spot the weirdo” will find themselves instantly at home in Howard Brenton’s new play, which has its world premiere in this West End fringe venue, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus. Its subject is Swedish playwright and...

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La Bohème, Royal Opera review - spectacle and sentiment not yet in focus

“I’m not in the mood” – “non sono in vena” – sings aspiring poet Rodolfo as he settles down to write a lead article. Was it me, or had the mood not settled by the premiere of the Royal Opera’s first new production of Puccini's structurally perfect...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Touchez Pas au Grisbi

Jean Gabin’s gangster’s paradise says more about him than the bullets he later lets fly. France’s greatest male star made a barnstorming comeback to pre-eminence as sharp-suited, drolly masterful Max in Jacques Becker’s Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954...

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Final Portrait review - utterly convincing portrayal of an artist at work

I hate biopics about artists in which the portrayal of “genius” is hyped to the point where it becomes a ludicrous cliché. Although I appreciate that, as far as entertainment goes, seeing pigment brushed onto canvas is on a par with watching paint...

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Fred Vargas: The Accordionist review - intriguing Gallic sleuthing yarn

The two haunting series of crime novels by Fred Vargas, the writing pseudonym of a French archaeologist and historian, have acquired a worldwide following: quirky, idiosyncratic, eccentric and beautifully written, they are highly individual and, for...

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El-Khoury, Spyres, Hallé, Rizzi, Cadogan Hall review - bel canto lives again

Unless you're an undiscriminating fan of bel canto, the lesser Italian and French operas of the 1830s and '40s - that's to say, not Verdi's Nabucco and Macbeth or Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini - need to be approached with caution. Once you've lowered...

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DVD: Cézanne et moi

For viewers not familiar with the background story of Cézanne et moi – which surely includes most of us without specialist knowledge of late 19th century French artistic and literary culture – the moi of this lavish yet curiously uninvolving double...

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