sat 18/05/2024

England

Album: Beth Gibbons - Lives Outgrown

It’s been a long while since Beth Gibbons released an album. Portishead’s Third was out in 2008.  She has lived through so many changes since, and, even though her signature is still very much in glorious evidence, Lives Outgrown represents a...

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Made in England: The Films of Powell and Pressburger review - the Archers up close

This long, fascinating documentary was apparently intended as the centrepiece of last autumn’s BFI celebration of the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. But Made in England was delayed while Martin Scorsese (executive producer,...

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An Actor Convalescing in Devon, Hampstead Theatre review - old school actor tells old school stories

One can often be made to feel old in the theatre. A hot take in a snappy 90 minutes (with video!) on the latest Gen Z obsession (is it even Gen Z, or were they last year, Daddio?) can leave one baffled or wondering whose gripe is it anyway....

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Richard, My Richard, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmund's review - too much history, not enough drama

History is very present in Philippa Gregory’s new play about Richard III. Literally - History is a character, played by Tom Kanji. He strides around in a pale trenchcoat, at first rather too glib and pleased with himself, but quickly sucked into the...

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Player Kings, Noel Coward Theatre review - inventive showcase for a peerless theatrical knight

Shakespeare’s plays have ever been meat for masher-uppers, from the bowdlerising Victorians to the modern filmed-theatre cycles of Ivo Van Hove. And Sir John Falstaff, as Orson Welles proved in Chimes at Midnight, can be the star of his very own...

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Back to Black review - rock biopic with a loving but soft touch

Sam Taylor-Johnson has fashioned her biopic of Amy Winehouse with great care and affection, but sometimes, as she shows her subject discovering, love isn’t quite enough. The superb jazz-inflected singer from north London, who in 2011 joined the...

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Gunter, Royal Court review - jolly tale of witchcraft and misogyny

Many an Edinburgh Fringe transfer has struggled when it moves to the big city, but the Dirty Hare company’s Gunter, sensibly embedded in the Royal Court’s intimate Upstairs space, has settled in nicely, thanks.Originally staged at the best Fringe...

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First Person: actor Paul Jesson on survival, strength, and the healing potential of art

In September 2022 I had an email from my American friend Richard Nelson: "Would you like me to write you a play?" Such an offer probably comes the way of very few actors and I was bowled over by it. My astonished and grateful response was tempered...

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Silver Haze review - daughters of Albion dealing with damage

In a Dagenham hospital, Silver Haze’s compassionate nurse Franky, played by Vicky Knight, meets Florence (Esmé Creed-Miles), who’s been admitted as a patient for having attempted suicide. After Franky dumps her boyfriend, the two women begin a...

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First Person: author-turned-actor Lydia Higman on a play that foregrounds a slice of forgotten history

I first read Anne Gunter’s story about five years ago, when I was in my first year of university at Oxford, little knowing it would over time lead to our play Gunter [seen first in Edinburgh and transferring 3-25 April to the Royal Court]. The...

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Death In Venice, Welsh National Opera review - breathtaking Britten

Benjamin Britten’s last opera Death in Venice (1973), adapted from Thomas Mann’s novella of the same name (1912) and the subject of one of Visconti’s later, most celebrated films, explores homoerotic attraction, the nature of beauty and the...

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Standing at the Sky's Edge, Gillian Lynne Theatre review - heartwarming Sheffield musical arrives in the West End

Can there be anyone from Sheffield who has not seen Standing at the Sky’s Edge, possibly several times? This is the once local show, opening at the Sheffield Crucible in 2019, playing at the National Theatre's Olivier in 2023, and now bringing a...

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