wed 26/04/2017

satire

Patience/Tosca, English Touring Opera

How well do you know your bad Victorian poetry? “When through the purple corridors the screaming scarlet Ibis flew/In terror, and a horrid dew dripped from the moaning Mandragores.” Go on, guess the author. Or how about this? “What time the poet...

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Fracked! Alistair Beaton on his anti-fracking satire

If you’d asked me five years ago whether I might one day write a comedy about fracking, I’d have wondered whether you were entirely in possession of your faculties. Not because fracking sounds dull and boring (although let’s be honest, it does), but...

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Decline and Fall review - 'a riotously successful adaptation'

Like many first novels, Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall has a strong whiff of autobiography. It is a revenge comedy in which Waugh – like Kingsley Amis after him in Lucky Jim – transmutes his miserable experiences of teaching in Wales into savage...

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The Wipers Times, Arts Theatre review - 'dark comedy from the trenches'

You may be having a moment of déjà vu, as Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s new play (which lands in the West End after a UK tour) was previously a BBC film (shown in 2013), and a very fine one too, covering as it does a true story from the First World...

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CD: The Residents - The Ghost of Hope

The Residents' famous fusion of Fred Astaire’s most dapper top hat’n’tails look with a giant eyeball head is a masterpiece of surreal imagery. The subversive California outfit, who’ve been going for over 40 years, have regularly veered into other...

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Top Trumps, Theatre 503

There's an irony to be found in the fact that America's 45th president is already abolishing any and all things to do with the arts even as his ascendancy looks set to provide catnip to artists to a degree not seen since the heyday of Margaret...

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Two Quixotes, The English Concert, Bicket, Wigmore Hall

They dreamed the impossible dream in 1970, turning aspects of Cervantes' Don Quixote into the musical Man of La Mancha. But Purcell, Eccles and the lively dramatist Thomas D'Urfey - anyone know his hit song "The Fart"? - got there first nearly 300...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, The Seven Minutes

Although Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (****) hit cinemas in summer 1970, it is a pivotal Sixties film as it depicts the era in terminal crash-and-burn mode. Cashing in on but not a sequel to Valley of the Dolls, it caught the female pop-group trio...

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Elvis & Nixon

Shamed and reviled, Richard Nixon had the misfortune (albeit self-authored) to be the star of one of the murkiest chapters in American Presidential history. It's not much compensation for him now, but he has become something of a goldmine for film-...

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Where to Invade Next

There are a lot of cheerful people in the world, most of them outside the United States. That's the startling conclusion of Michael Moore's pointed comic jeremiad Where to Invade Next, in which American cinema's premier schlub decamps overseas to...

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A View from Islington North, Arts Theatre

Is there any point to political satire? The great thing about the glory years of this genre in, say, the early 1960s was that the jokes punctured people’s deepest held beliefs in a deferential society, or that, as in say the 1980s, they had a target...

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Alistair Beaton: 'If you’re bored, it’ll be my fault'

It’s either serious or it’s funny. That’s a view I quite often encountered when working in Germany. A theatre professional there once advised me to remove all references to writing television comedy from my biography in the theatre programme.“Why?”...

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