mon 18/10/2021

England

Mary Wellesley: Hidden Hands review - passion in the parchment

Outside Wales – even, perhaps, within it – few students will have run across the verse of Gwerful Mechain. The free-spirited poet of the late 15th century may come as a thrilling surprise (one of several) to readers of Mary Wellesley’s Hidden Hands...

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Sarah Hall: Burntcoat review - love after the end of the world

Sarah Hall’s Burntcoat is one of those new books with the unsettling quality of describing or approximating a great moment in history and its aftermath, as the reader is still living through it. This could be trite, but Hall manages to make it...

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Witness for the Prosecution, London County Hall review - return of Agatha Christie's gripping courtroom drama

Lucy Bailey's production of Christie's Witness for the Prosecution, first staged at County Hall in 2017, has a few years to make up on The Mousetrap's near 70, but it has already proved its staying power, despite the hiatus of the lockdown months....

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The Midsummer Marriage, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – Tippett’s cornucopia shines in fits and starts

British opera’s attempted answer to The Magic Flute, and its presentation as the opening gambit of Edward Gardner’s eminent position as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, leave me queasily ambivalent.After all the smoke and...

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The Electrical Life of Louis Wain review - visually arresting biopic

On its surface, a biopic of a late-Victorian artist starring big British talents including Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrea Riseborough and Claire Foy, sounds like typical awards fare for this time of year. Will Sharpe, best-known for directing the dark...

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Second Spring review - intriguing film about a woman with an unusual form of dementia

“We want you to see a doctor. You’ve changed, and not in a good way,” says Kathy’s underwhelming husband, Tim (Matthew Jure).We don’t know what Kathy (Cathy Naden, making her film debut) was like before, but as things stand she seems to be following...

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Album: Martina Topley-Bird - Forever I Wait

Martina Topley-Bird, who started out doing vocals for Tricky’s first single "Aftermath" aged 15, has matured. On her fourth solo album, self-produced, she builds confidently on the dreamy vocal lines that were essential to the Bristol sound of the '...

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Album: Iron Maiden - Senjutsu

Iron Maiden are in very many senses as English, as camp and as ridiculous as Christmas pantomime, even down to the “HE’S BEHIND YOU!” looming of their vast onstage zombie mascot Eddie. Which is not to say there’s nothing to them: far from it. Just...

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Paradise, National Theatre review - war, woe, and a glimmer of hope

Philoctetes, Odysseus, Neoptolemus: the men’s names in Sophocles’ Philoctetes are all unnecessarily long and weighed down by expectations. Poet Kae Tempest’s lyrical new adaptation for the National Theatre focuses on the chorus, spinning out the...

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The Windsors: Endgame, Prince of Wales Theatre review - fitfully pointed fun

Opposite the playhouse where the sometimes-wild royal comedy The Windsors: Endgame has just opened is the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company seafood restaurant. The eatery is of course inspired by Robert Zemeckis's hit 1994 film Forrest Gump, ...

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Anything Goes, Barbican review - an explosion of joy

"Times have changed", we're informed in the cascadingly witty title number of the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, now in revival at the Barbican and bringing with it a pandemic-clearing tsunami of joy.Or have they? Few I am sure would dispute the...

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theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - Purcell, Gabriel Jackson and Duruflé

King Arthur, as every schoolgirl knows, never actually existed, so it made perfect sense that the Gabrieli Consort’s Worcester Cathedral performance of Purcell’s semi-opera about the mythical British king and his battles with the Saxon incomers made...

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