wed 21/02/2024

Climate and environment

Ragnarok, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh review - moving miniature apocalypse

In terms of conveying monumental events using small-scale means, Edinburgh’s Tortoise in a Nutshell visual theatre company has form. Their 2013 Feral, for example, depicted the social breakdown of an apparently idyllic seaside town using puppetry...

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Dimanche, Edinburgh International Festival 2023 review - troubling and bewildering

A toy car – in fact, a mobile home with comically enormous antenna on top – shudders over arms and shoulders as if they were mountain ranges. A colossal polar bear comforts its curious cub. A lifesize puppet grandmother is chased up and down stairs...

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Edinburgh Fringe 2023 reviews: PLEASE LEAVE (a message) / Shadow Kingdom

PLEASE LEAVE (a message), Underbelly, Cowgate ★★★★One of (brilliantly named) London-based theatre collective Clusterflux’s actors sent me a Twitter DM to request a review of their new show: here that review is, a few days later. Yucca...

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Edinburgh Fringe 2023 reviews: Without Sin / An Alternative Helpline for the End of the World / Two Strangers Walk into a Bar...

With its throbbing crowds and its performers baying for attention (and for audiences), the Edinburgh Fringe can be a hectic, raucous place. But for anyone who needs a break from the crammed-full, in-your-face stand-up gigs, thankfully three shows...

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Henry Hoke: Open Throat review - if a lion could speak

I approached Henry Hoke’s fifth book, Open Throat, with some trepidation. A slim novel (156 pages), it seemed, at first glance, to be an over-intellectualised prose-cum-poetical text about a mountain lion.But the novel was so much more: an odd but...

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Nick Laird: Up Late review - attention lapses

A few pages before the titular poem of Up Late, Nick Laird describes a haircut in a bathroom mirror, and finds a possible art form reflected back: "something like a poem / glances back / from the deep inside." The lines are broadly representative of...

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Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis, Hayward Gallery review - hope is what we need, but inspiration is a rarity

Dear Earth, Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis is a mixed show of artists who address the parlous plight of our planet. The issue obsesses me, so anyone who braves the pitfalls of exploring this difficult subject has my sympathy.One challenge: how to...

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Helen Czerski: Blue Machine review - how the ocean works

If you cannot even step into the same river twice, how to take the measure of the ocean? Dipping your toes at the beach is irresistible, but uninformative. Sampling stuff out at sea helps more, but you have to get serious. Consider the Continuous...

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Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT1), Sadler's Wells review - an extinction rebellion in dance

The timing was impeccable, though almost certainly accidental. As protesters lay prostrate in The Mall in a mass “die-in” on the day designated as Earth Day, and as many thousands more urged action against climate change outside the Houses of...

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How To Blow Up a Pipeline review - can eco-terrorism be justified?

“This was an act of self defence,” is the last message we hear as How To Blow Up a Pipeline approaches the end of its 104-minute span. The speaker, a revolutionary environmental activist called Xochitl, has been arrested for her involvement in the...

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Extract: The Northern Silence - Journeys in Nordic Music and Culture by Andrew Mellor

“Silence,” Andrew Mellor contends, “is more prominent in the northernmost reaches of Europe.” Yet it is more like a texture or an apprehension of vacancy than a state of true soundlessness: sometimes “real and pure”, sometimes it “lingers despite...

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Utama review - incandescent portrait of a dying way of life in Bolivia

Utama won the World Dramatic Prize at Sundance this year and is tipped for an Oscar nomination, too. The film is set in a remote region in Bolivia’s arid highlands. Its gentle pace and non-professional actors give it a documentary feel but...

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