wed 27/01/2021

history

The Last Kingdom, Season 4, Netflix review - blood, guts and dirty politics

Meanwhile back in the Dark Ages, Uhtred (son of Uhtred) is still seeking to reclaim his ancestral seat of Bebbanburg and manoeuvre through the treacherous currents of Saxon politics. The big question was, how would this fourth season manage in the...

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Visual Arts Lockdown Special 2: read, search, listen, create

Arguably one of the most poignant effects of the lockdown has been to simultaneously draw attention to the connections between the arts and the distinct ways they have evolved into their own forms. Sculpture, painting, textiles, performance art,...

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Drawing the Line, Hampstead Theatre online review - modern history becomes dark farce

This week’s gem from the Hampstead’s vaults is Howard Brenton’s political drama from 2013, telling the extraordinary, stranger-than-fiction story of Cyril Radcliffe and his 1947 mission: to arrange the Partition of India in just five weeks. A tale...

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Belgravia, ITV review - when the toffs and the nouveaux riches collided

The prolific Lord Fellowes returns with this six-part adaptation of his own novel (for ITV), a niftily-wrought yarn (originally issued in online instalments) about the old aristocracy and the rise of new money in the early 19th Century. Some are...

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'You’re Jewish. With a name like Neumann, you have to be'

It was during my first week at Tufts University in America, when I was 17, that I was told by a stranger that I was Jewish. As I left one of the orientation talks, I was approached by a slight young man with short brown hair and intense eyes. He...

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Faustus: That Damned Woman, Lyric Hammersmith review - gender swap yields muddled results

Changing the gender of the title character “highlights the way in which women still operate in a world designed by and for men,” argues Chris Bush, whose reimagining of Marlowe’s play premieres at the Lyric ahead of a UK tour. It’s certainly a...

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Rags: The Musical, Park Theatre review - a timely, if predictable, immigrant tale

“Take our country back!” is the rallying cry of the self-identified “real” Americans gathered to protest the arrival of immigrants. It could be a contemporary Trump rally – or, indeed, the nastier side of current British political discourse – but in...

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Three Sisters, National Theatre review - Chekhov in time of war

Inua Ellams’ Three Sisters plays Chekhov in the shadow of war, specifically the Nigerian-Biafran secessionist conflict of the late 1960s which so bitterly divided that newly independent nation. It’s a bold move that adds decided new relevance...

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How They Built the Titanic, Channel 5 review - the great liner revisited again, but why now?

The appalling fate of the allegedly unsinkable liner Titanic in 1912 has fuelled endless feature films and documentaries, not to mention a dismal drama series by Julian Fellowes (there was also a proposed Titanic II vessel which would have been...

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Ravens: Spassky vs. Fischer, Hampstead Theatre review - it's game over for this chess play

We’ve had Chess the musical; now, here’s Chess the play. Tom Morton-Smith, who has experience wrestling recent history into dramatic form with the acclaimed Oppenheimer, turns his attention to the 1972 World Chess Championship in Reykjavík, in which...

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Henry VI, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - a lively vortex

No Joan of Arc means no Henry VI Part One. France, where we left the victorious Henry V - the superb Sarah Amankwah, a shining light of this company - in the Globe's summer history plays, only figures briefly in the last act of a candelelit,...

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Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters...

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