mon 09/12/2019

England

Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, Episode Three, BBC Four review – more than a bit of Botticelli

Once again the whodunit becomes the whoforgedit in the newest installment of the Britain’s Lost Masterpieces series. Host and art historian Bendor Grosvenor introduces us to what is one of the most beautiful he’s ever seen: a Madonna and Child...

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Rich Hall's Red Menace, BBC Four review - laconic comic referees the Free World versus Communism

Who won the Cold War? Nobody, according to comedian Rich Hall in this 90-minute film for BBC Four. His theory is that after the symbolic fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, Russia and America merely “flipped ideologies”. The US government now...

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First Person: Simon Stephens - the contemplation of kindness

Light Falls is the sixth play that I have written for the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester and the fourth that its outgoing Artistic Director, Sarah Frankcom, will direct.She directed On the Shore of the Wide World, Punk Rock and Blindsided. In...

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CD: Elbow - Giants of All Sizes

These horribly remarkable times can shake the strongest souls. Since the popular acceptance of The Seldom Seen Kid, Elbow at their worst have sometimes resembled their friends and supporters Coldplay, offering anthemic placebos to vaguely...

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Keane, De La Warr Pavilion review – hometown heartbreak

Keane grew up six miles away in Battle, making this night in balmy Bexhill-on-Sea as close as they can practically get to a hometown gig. Prior to their first headline tour in six years, they’re playing new album Cause and Effect in full in an “in-...

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CD: Keane - Cause And Effect

Keane were always the best of that post-millennium Coldplay crowd. Tim Rice-Oxley showed adult craft in his lyrics and keyboard textures on their 5 million-selling debut, Hopes and Fears, where the small-town specificity of Battle, Sussex’s biggest...

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Faith, Hope & Charity, National Theatre review - a grim compassion

Alexander Zeldin continues his devastating analysis of modern Britain in this culminating play of a (very loose) trilogy that started with 2014’s Beyond Caring, followed by LOVE two years after that. These are bleak dramas that show human...

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Gazelle Twin, Mirth, Marvel and Maud review - sardonic folk

Elizabeth Bernholz, known on stage as Gazelle Twin, comes straight from a line of musical visionaries – rebels and misfits whose influences fleet through her songs like will-o’-the-wisps. Here is the formal, clever ennui of The Stranglers, the...

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What Girls Are Made Of, Soho Theatre review - euphoric gig-theatre

It’s now Edinburgh Fringe transfer season in London, but here’s one they made earlier: Cora Bissett’s Fringe First-winning autobiographical play from the 2018 Festival about her time in 1990s indie band Darlingheart. Though the broad shape of this...

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Prom 53: Connolly, Gregory, Tappan, BBCSO & Chorus, Davis review - citizens of the world unite

Let's be clear: this was a Prom of world-class works by English composers, not a conservative concert of English music. Politically speaking, Elgar was one of the few on the right, but how different inwardly, speaking through the poet Arthur O’...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Gounod, James MacMillan, Johannes Pramsohler

 Gounod: Symphonies 1 and 2 Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Yan Pascal Tortelier (Chandos)Roger Nichols’ lucid sleeve note underlines the point that Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique singularly failed to kick off a 19th century French symphonic...

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DVD: Are You Proud?

Ashley Joiner’s expansive documentary Are You Proud? opens with the testament of a redoubtable nonagenarian remembering his experiences as a gay man in World War II. Though followed by the admission that he had to live his later life as a lie, it’s...

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