mon 08/08/2022

England

The Souvenir Part II review – the problem with posh realism

The Souvenir Part II apparently concludes Joanna Hogg’s fly-on-the-wall drama about a woman film student's emotional evolution as the victim of both her older boyfriend's abuse and the disdain of her male instructors. It’s a psychologically...

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Album: Big Big Train - Welcome to the Planet

Six months after the release of Common Ground, neo-proggers Big Big Train return with another album of meticulously crafted songs urging human connection, closing communication gaps, and celebrating what it is to be alive; the opener and closer of...

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Folk, Hampstead Downstairs review - thoughtful play about folklorist Cecil Sharp

Cecil Sharp, heritage hero or imperialist appropriator? If you attended school in the first half of the 20th century, you would have sung from his collections of English folk songs, and probably gritted your teeth and performed the country dances he...

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Habeas Corpus, Menier Chocolate Factory review - grappling with Alan Bennett's anti-farce

In his 1973 play Habeas Corpus, now revived at the Menier Chocolate Factory under the direction of Patrick Marber, Alan Bennett had his way with the venerable Whitehall farce. Today’s younger playgoer would probably marvel at the popularity of these...

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Mothering Sunday review - Odessa Young shines in adaptation of Graham Swift's novella

30 March 1924. It’s Mothering Sunday – the precursor to the modern Mother’s Day - when domestic servants are given a day off to go home and visit their mothers, leaving their country-house employers with no one to make the veal and ham pie, do the...

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Album: Damon Albarn - The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows

Damon Albarn’s second solo album in a career otherwise defined by open-hearted collaboration confirms he sees operating under his own name as a chance for melancholic introspection. The deliberate austerity of its predecessor, Everyday Robots (2014...

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Album: Ed Sheeran - =

It’s hard to navigate the gap between Ed Sheeran’s ordinary songs and the rarefied air of his career’s stellar orbit, which he now breathes with Adele and Chris Martin - the rump aristos of a once ruling rock culture. The image of him as a modern...

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HMS Pinafore, English National Opera review - shipshape classic comedy craft

Yes, it was bound to be HMS Laugh-a-minute, given Cal “One Man, Two Guvnors” McCrystal’s ENO comedy riffs on an already funny early G&S classic, but what does this tight little craft have to say to Little England today?That a British sailor’s “...

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The Magician's Elephant, Royal Shakespeare Theatre review - family musical doesn't fully deliver

Trigger warnings have become commonplace in theatres these days, but few chill the blood like the description "a new musical" on a playbill. There are so many things to go wrong, so few ways to get things right and, never far away, the dissenters...

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Album: Billy Bragg - The Million Things That Never Happened

Like a more genuinely earthed Springsteen, Billy Bragg’s middle-aged, Dorset years have offered somewhat self-conscious wisdom and awareness of his singer-songwriter status. He’s grown up and into himself, diligently expanding both his craft and...

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albatross., Playground Theatre review - interconnected intimacies

"You need to get better at communicating", says one character to another in Isley Lynn’s albatross. Indeed, the same advice would fare well with many of those in the Anglo-American Lynn’s new play, where miscommunication plagues a range of...

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Justin Adams and Mauro Durante, The Green Note review - fiery duo in an intimate space

Two men trade licks: one of them delves into the heart of the blues, a potent dose of the boogie, the medicinal music of the Mississipi Delta. The other with a mournful voice and violin draws on the equally stripped-down and drone-inflected roots of...

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