sat 26/05/2018

biography

The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Brighton Festival review - a dynamic dedication to an artist's muse

They say that behind every successful man is a strong woman. The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk is as much – if not more so – the championing of the unsung hero in this story of the famous early modernist artist, Marc Chagall. His wife, Bella – early muse...

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Tina, Aldwych Theatre review - new Tina Turner bio-musical is simply OK

It is, perhaps, a tale that suffers from overfamiliarity. Tina Turner’s rags-to-riches story – from humble beginnings as little Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her discovery, reinvention and sickening abuse by husband and manager Ike...

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Scott and Sid review - self-absorbed vanity project

There’s a Big Reveal that comes right at the end of this new indie movie from first-time writer/producer/directors Scott Elliott and Sid Sadowskyj (whose names, in retrospect, should have given the game away right from the start). For (complete...

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Stephen Walsh's Debussy - A Painter in Sound - extract

All this time La Mer had been brewing. It was almost a year since Debussy had written to Colonne tentatively offering him “some orchestral pieces” he was working on, and to his publisher, Jacques Durand, a fortnight later listing the titles of the...

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Dave Eggers: The Monk of Mokha review - how to become a grand master of coffee

A macchiato may never taste the same again. If you’ve ever wondered about the politics and history behind your cup of designer coffee, The Monk of Mokha will answer all your questions, and more.This is the prolific Dave Eggers’s third semi-...

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Jenny Uglow: Mr Lear - A Life of Art and Nonsense review - a lonely Victorian life, so richly illustrated

Jenny Uglow’s biography of Edward Lear (1812-1888) is a meander, almost day by day, through the long and immensely energetic life of a polymath artist. She builds her narrative on an enormous plethora of primary sources – his marvellous illustrated...

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Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Apollo Theatre review - inclusive and utterly joyful

Everybody’s been talking about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie since its Sheffield Crucible debut earlier this year. It’s unusual to see a musical come steaming into the West End based on word on mouth – not star casting, or association with an...

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Han Kang: The White Book review - between what is, what was, what might have been

A woman gives birth alone two months early in a frost-bound village in the Korean countryside. In Poland, a solitary woman washes down white migraine pills and concludes she must write. The child that is born dies. The finished book commemorates her...

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Claire Tomalin: A Life of My Own review - the biographer on herself

The title says it all, or at least quite a lot. Luminously intelligent, an exceptionally hard worker, bilingual in French, a gifted biographer, Claire Tomalin has been at the heart of the literati glitterati all her working life. Here she turns her...

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Prism, Hampstead Theatre review - a life through the lens

Jack Cardiff was one of the all-time greats of cinematography, the man who shot such Powell and Pressburger classics as The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death, worked on John Huston’s The African Queen with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine...

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James Hamilton: Gainsborough - A Portrait review - an artistic life told with verve and enthusiasm

James Hamilton’s wholly absorbing biography is very different from the usual kind of art historical study that often surrounds such a major figure as Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). Hamilton is positively in love with his subject, and writes with...

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It's So Easy and Other Lies, Sky Arts review - uneven rock bio outstays its welcome

Duff McKagan is a survivor. He’s a bass player too, from the fledgling Seattle punk/proto-grunge outfit 10 Minute Warning to the stadium-filling behemoth of Guns N’ Roses, but if you were judging by the narrative weight of this 2015 documentary, you...

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