fri 23/08/2019

biography

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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Varda by Agnès review - a richly moving film farewell

French director Agnès Varda looks back over a cinematic career of seven decades in this a richly moving film farewell, finished not long before her death at the end of March, aged 90. It’s structured around a series of masterclasses in which she...

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On Your Feet!, London Coliseum review - Gloria Estefan bio-musical hits familiar notes

This well-meaning biographical jukebox musical about icons Gloria and Emilio Estefan, which did two years on Broadway and a US tour, is good summer scheduling, what with its Latin-pop bangers, infectious dance routines and “Dreams come true”...

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Ocean Vuong: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous review – the new avant-garde

Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is written as a letter to his mother, who cannot read. She cannot read because, when she was five, her schoolhouse was burnt to the ground in an American napalm raid. “Our mother tongue, then,” writes Vuong, is the “mark of...

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Andy Hamilton, Brighton Festival 2019 review - gently amusing night of reminiscence

Taking place at the Theatre Royal, Andy Hamilton’s show is entitled An Evening with… rather than a straight stand-up and mainly consists of the comedy writer/performer and gameshow regular answering audience questions. During the first half this is...

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Vox Lux review – music biz drama with big ideas

Common to the recent spate of films about aspiring singers, the theme of fame’s corrupting influence is hardly new. However, actor-turned-filmmaker Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux daringly freights this biographical sub-genre with cosmic significance, as he...

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Looking for Rembrandt, BBC Four review - painter's biog is a mini-masterpiece

This final episode of BBC Four's Looking for Rembrandt, exploring the life and work of the Netherlands’ greatest painter, was a mini-masterpiece in itself. We rejoined the story in the mid-1650s, when Rembrandt found that his days of popular acclaim...

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At Eternity's Gate review - Willem Dafoe excels in hyperactive biopic

It's all go – no, make that Van Gogh –  when it comes to the Dutch post-Impressionist of late. Opening the same week as the Tate Britain's blockbuster exhibition about his years in London comes the artist-turned-filmmaker Julian...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Bergman - A Year in a Life

1957 was a busy year for a very busy director: Ingmar Bergman made two of his most famous films – The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries, several TV dramas, and a number of major stage productions. All the while, he was suffering from painful...

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An encounter with John Richardson, Picasso's biographer who has died at 95

When I interviewed John Richardson, who has died at the age of 95, he was edging through his definitive four-tome life of the minuscule giant of Cubism. Of the various breaks he took from the business of research and writing, one yielded The...

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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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Richard J Evans: Eric Hobsbawm - A Life in History review - mesmerisingly readable

This is an astonishing book: in its breadth, depth and detail and also in its almost palpable, and sometimes unpalatable, admiration of its subject, the controversial, long-lived Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012). But if you want to...

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