tue 23/04/2024

20th century

Špaček, BBC Philharmonic, Bihlmaier, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - three flavours of Vienna

Billed as a “Viennese Whirl”, this programme showed that there are different kinds of music that may be known to the orchestral canon as coming from Vienna.For a start, there’s the classical tradition of Mozart, Beethoven and those who aimed to be...

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Spencer Jones: Making Friends, Soho Theatre review - award-winning comedian mines his post-lockdown escape to the country

Lockdown feels more like a dream now: empty streets; bright, scarless skies; pan-banging at 8pm. Did it all happen? One part of our brains insists that it did; another resists such an overthrowing of what it means to be human. Try recalling events...

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Marwood, Power, Watkins, Hallé, Adès, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - sonic adventure and luxuriance

For the second big concert of his “residency” with the Hallé this season, Thomas Adès chose one major piece of his own, rather than a set of shorter ones. Tevot, a 21-minute one-movement work written for the Berlin Philharmonic 18 years ago,...

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Cargill, Kantos Chamber Choir, Manchester Camerata, Menezes, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - imagination and star quality

Brazil-born conductor Simone Menezes, known for imaginative and pioneering concert presentation, presided over a striking and illuminating programme shared by Manchester’s Kantos Chamber Choir and Manchester Camerata, with the star quality of Karen...

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Foam, Finborough Theatre review - fascism and f*cking in a Gentlemen's Lavatory that proves short of gentlemen

In a too brightly tiled Gentlemen’s public convenience (Nitin Parmar’s beautifully realised set is as much a character as any of the men we meet), a lad is shaving his head. He’s halfway to the skinhead look of the early Seventies, but he hasn’t...

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Faith Healer, Lyric Hammersmith review - Brian Friel's masterpiece works its magic again

Brian Friel’s Faith Healer isn’t noted for its laughs, but Rachel O’Riordan has found more than most directors do in this rich, masterly piece from 1979. Her approach pays dividends in all but one respect.No portrayal of the deep melancholy of a...

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Gillam, Hallé, Poska, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - an experience of colour and fun

There was a common factor in the superficially disparate elements of this Hallé concert, and it wasn’t just the fact that both soloist and conductor were female. It was an experience of the colours of the music and a sense of enjoyment of what...

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The Big Life, Stratford East review - musical brings the joy and honours the past

Is there a healthier sound than that of laughter ringing round a theatre? There are plenty of opportunities to test that theory in Tinuke Craig’s riotous revival of The Big Life, two decades on from its first run at this very venue. Much has...

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Just For One Day, The Old Vic review - clunky scenes and self-conscious exposition between great songs

So, a jukebox musical celebrating the apotheosis of the White Saviour, the ultimate carnival of rock stars’ self-aggrandisement and the Boomers’ biggest bonanza of feelgood posturing? One is tempted to stand opposite The Old Vic, point at the...

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Bronco Billy, Charing Cross Theatre - schmaltzy musical brings the feelgood factor just when it's needed

When entering a particular, well-populated region of MusicalTheatreLand, one has to check in a few items at the border. Weary cynicism, the desire for narrative coherence, that nerve that starts to throb when sentimentality oozes across the fourth...

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The Most Precious of Goods, Marylebone Theatre review - old-fashioned storytelling of an all-too relevant tale

As last week’s news evidenced, genocide never really goes out of fashion. So it’s only right and proper that art continues to address the hideous concept and, while nothing, not even Primo Levi’s shattering If This Is a Man, can capture the scale of...

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Radulović, Hallé, de la Parra, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - fun for the young

Back on home ground, the Hallé begin 2024 in Manchester with a repeated programme. I heard the first of three performances this week. It includes one piece they played only 10 days ago on a tour in Spain with the orchestra’s new principal...

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