tue 12/12/2017

satire

The best TV to watch this week

Sick of the early onset of Christmas? Just watch television instead (though preferably not the news). Try these out for size?Sunday 10 DecemberBlue Planet II, BBC One - 7th and final episode of David Attenborough's epic of the oceans, with...

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Network, National Theatre review - Bryan Cranston’s searing London stage debut

Outrage knows no time barrier, as the world at large reminds us on a daily basis. So what better moment for the National Theatre to fashion for the internet age a stage adaptation of Network, the much-laureled 1976 celluloid satire about lunacy...

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W1A, Series 3 Finale, BBC Two review - the satire gets to the end of its joke

Repetition can help clarity. It emphasises significance, and shines a light more directly onto something hidden. It can guide us gently into an area we might have otherwise circumvented, and urge us to stare at something for long enough to see...

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Princess Ida, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company review - sparkling comedy, wobbly sets

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you have to be pretty silly to take Gilbert and Sullivan seriously. But even sillier not to. And positively heroic to revive the pair’s 1884 three-acter Princess Ida: the show which – updated to a...

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Hir, Bush Theatre review – transgender home is sub-prime

Donald Trump’s electoral success was, we have been told, fuelled by the anger of the American working class. But how do you show that kind of anger on stage, and how do you criticise its basis in traditional masculinity? One way, and this is the...

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The Mikado review - Sasha Regan's all-male operetta formula hits a reef

Men playing boys playing girls, women and men, all female parts convincingly falsettoed and high musical standards as backbone: Sasha Regan's single-sex Gilbert and Sullivan has worked a special magic on Iolanthe and The Pirates of Penzance, HMS...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Catfight

Catfights can be entertaining, till the blood starts to flow – or, as in Onur Tukel’s brutal social comedy, you take turns putting your opponent in a coma. During three increasingly ritualised donnybrooks, Anne Heche and Sandra Oh batter past the...

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The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui review - 'Lenny Henry covers Trump's greatest hits'

It’s a bigly Trump-fest over at the Donmar, with adaptor Bruce Norris determined to make Brecht great again – or at least pointedly contemporary. Despite a legal disclaimer in the knowing prologue, the current tangerine regime looms large, replacing...

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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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