tue 25/06/2019

1930s

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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Ehnes, BBC Philharmonic, Wilson, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - contrasts from the 1930s

John Wilson conducted Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester just over a year ago with great success, in a programme of music from the 1940s. This time it was the very different, troubled Fourth, and the context was...

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Melzer, Albion Quartet, Birmingham Town Hall review - songs without words

This was a fascinating, unexpected prospect; instantly appealing to anyone who’s ever wondered about the string quartet’s niche in the 21st-century musical ecosystem. Two practically new song cycles for soprano and quartet – Kate Whitley’s Charlotte...

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Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Birmingham Opera Company review - searing music-theatre for all

A rum cove sidles up pimping with a tatty business card offering the services of Sonyetka. Not for me, I say, pointing out that in any case she’ll be dead three hours later. "That's more than I know," he says and wanders off to hook other possible...

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Fiona MacCarthy: Walter Gropius review - a master of modernism

The centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus (literally, “Building House”) art school is on us, prompting publications and exhibitions worldwide. Subtitled “Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus”, Fiona MacCarthy’s revelatory biography of the figure...

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Follies, National Theatre review - the Sondheim spectacular returns, better than ever

This is a golden age of London Sondheim revivals, with Marianne Elliott’s thrilling Company still playing in the West End, and Dominic Cooke’s Follies getting a hugely welcome second run at the National – both testament to a director’s...

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The American Clock, Old Vic review - Arthur Miller's musical history lesson drags

This year’s unofficial Arthur Miller season – following The Price and ahead of All My Sons at the Old Vic and Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic – now turns to his 1980 work, The American Clock, inspired in part by Miller’s own memories of the...

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