mon 09/12/2019

1930s

Mephisto [A Rhapsody], Gate Theatre review - the callowness of history

You wonder about the title of French dramatist Sam Gallet’s Mephisto [A Rhapsody], an adaptation for our days of Klaus Mann’s 1936 novel about an actor unable to resist the blandishments of fame, even if they come at the cost of losing himself....

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Youth Without God, Coronet Theatre review - the chill control of nascent Nazism

The only novel by the Hungarian dramatist Ödön von Horváth, Youth Without God was written in exile after he fled Anschluss Vienna and published in 1938, shortly before his death. In the English-speaking world, we know von Horváth for his plays,...

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For Services Rendered, Jermyn Street Theatre review – uneven revival of 1930s drama

“I don’t think I have the right to influence her,” says an older character of her daughter in For Services Rendered, W Somerset Maugham’s 1932 anti-war drama. If only all elder statesmen and women felt the same about the youth. Tom Littler’s revival...

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Evita, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - a diva dictator for 2019

Following a triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ Superstar, now playing at the Barbican, the Park works its magic on another of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Seventies rock operas. Jamie Lloyd’s stripped-down, super-sleek, contemporary take...

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Prom 15: Bavarian RSO, Nézet-Séguin review - perfect Beethoven, nuanced Shostakovich

While we wish the great Mariss Jansons a speedy recovery, no-one of sound heart and soul could be disappointed by his substitute for the two Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra Proms, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, whose supreme art is to show the score's...

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Blues in the Night, Kiln Theatre review - hard times, hot tunes

It’s too darn hot, BoJo is in Downing Street, and we’re all going to Brexit hell – so we might as well sing the blues. Or at least take a night off from the apocalypse to enjoy a virtuoso company singing them for us in this rousing revival of...

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The Damned, Comédie-Française, Barbican review - slow-burn horrors in devastating images

Is the terrifying past of Germany in 1933 also our future? Having had nightmares about the brilliant dystopian TV soap opera Years and Years, which built like all the best of its kind on present fears, I wasn't expecting to be confronted so soon by...

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Cutting Edge: Modernist British Printmaking, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - a cut above

Under a turbulent sky racked with jagged clouds suggesting bolts of lightning, pale figures hurl themselves into a spitting expanse of water. Swathed in white towels, other figures mingle with the pink bodies, seeming to process along the pier as if...

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Porgy and Bess, Grange Park Opera review - good versus evil in Catfish Row

If you go to a British country house opera to see a work about an addict and a cripple in a poverty-stricken Deep South tenement, you know the contrast between stage and garden marquee will be extreme. Seeing Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at Grange...

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Williams, BBC Philharmonic, Wigglesworth, Bridgewater Hall Manchester review - vision before gloom

The BBC Philharmonic have given memorable accounts of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 4 in Manchester before – notably conducted by Günther Herbig in 2010 and by John Storgårds in 2014 – but surely none as harrowingly grim as under Mark Wigglesworth this...

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Ain't Misbehavin', Southwark Playhouse review - a jazz-hot musical revue

The joint is jumpin’ at Southwark Playhouse, now hosting an irresistible Fats Waller-inspired, Manhattan-set musical revue (a co-production with Colchester’s Mercury Theatre, where it opened last month). Though originating in the Seventies,...

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Red Joan review - Judi Dench can't lift lumbering espionage drama

The decades-long stage relationship between Judi Dench and Trevor Nunn translates to surprisingly little with Red Joan. This is veteran theatre director Nunn's first film since Twelfth Night in 1996. Top-billed in a supporting role, Dench brings her...

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