mon 17/06/2019

England

While the Sun Shines, Orange Tree Theatre review - frothy, yes, up to a point

Terence Rattigan completists, and count myself among them, will leap at the chance to see a rare production courtesy the Orange Tree Theatre of While the Sun Shines, a 1943 monster hit for this great English writer that has languished in semi-...

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Wild Bill, Episode 1, ITV review - an American in Lincolnshire

All is not well in Boston, Lincolnshire. Unemployment, immigration concerns, Brexit frustration, and the highest murder rate in the country. How do you solve the problems of contemporary Britain? Send in an American. And not just that. Bill Hixon (...

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Porgy and Bess, Grange Park Opera review - good versus evil in Catfish Row

If you go to a British country house opera to see a work about an addict and a cripple in a poverty-stricken Deep South tenement, you know the contrast between stage and garden marquee will be extreme. Seeing Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at Grange...

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Education, Education, Education, Trafalgar Studios review - politics and pupils, mayhem and music

It's the 2nd May 1997, the morning after the night that swept New Labour into power. We’re in the staffroom of a school somewhere in Britain and the teachers are jubilant. They've been glued to their TV sets for the results and have shagged and...

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Blu-ray: The Best of British Transport Films

The British Transport Commission was created in 1948 by the Atlee government, an ambitious attempt to organise rail, road and water transport under a single unwieldy umbrella (for a time it was the world’s largest employer, with a staff of over 900,...

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The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson, Park Theatre review - unwieldy at times but undeniably funny, too

What could have been merely a cheap and cheesy piss-take registers as considerably more robust in The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson, journo-turned-playwright Jonathan Maitland's latest venture for his de facto home at north London's Park Theatre...

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Red Joan review - Judi Dench can't lift lumbering espionage drama

The decades-long stage relationship between Judi Dench and Trevor Nunn translates to surprisingly little with Red Joan. This is veteran theatre director Nunn's first film since Twelfth Night in 1996. Top-billed in a supporting role, Dench brings her...

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Hellboy review - vivid monster mash

No one was waiting for another Hellboy film, but here this rude, crude reboot is anyway, stomping all over Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 original with freewheeling energy. Based on Mike Mignola’s long-running comic about a grouchy demon summoned from...

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Mary Quant, Victoria & Albert Museum review - quantities of Quant

Mary Quant first made her name in 1955 with the wildly fashionable King’s Road boutique Bazaar. Initially selling a “bouillabaisse” of stock it was not until a pair of pyjamas she made was bought by an American who said he’d copy and mass produce...

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Victoria, Northern Ballet, Sadler's Wells - A queen re-instated, once again

Given that the life of Queen Victoria spanned the best part of a century, the first task for any biographer is to hack a path through the mountain of facts. It ought to help that the queen was a prolific diarist. Too bad for choreographer Cathy...

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The Life I Lead, Park Theatre review - pleasant enough but lacks bite

I am deeply jealous of Miles Jupp's dressing gown in The Life I Lead, the solo play at the Park Theatre. It's a silky-grey patterned number of exquisitely comfortable proportions, and just the sort of thing a chap should wear to tell the story of...

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Ray & Liz review - beautifully shot portrait of poverty

Ray’s world has shrunk to a single room in a council flat. His life consists of drinking home-brew, smoking, gazing out of the window, listening to Radio 4 and sinking into an alcohol-induced stupour. There’s no need ever to leave his bedroom...

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