sat 08/08/2020

history

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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Thomas J Campanella: Brooklyn - The Once and Future City review - out of Manhattan's shadow

For visitors to New York, it’s all about Manhattan, its 23 square miles of skyscraper-encrusted granite instantly familiar, its many landmarks – enshrined in movies and music – must-sees on the itinerary of first-time tourists. The other...

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Catherine the Great, Sky Atlantic review - a glorious role for Helen Mirren only gets better

“I want something Russian…” It’s with such a cry that Helen Mirren, bored by the bizarrely transgressive masked ball that comes at the close of the first episode of Catherine the Great, gets the dancing going: nothing from the imported fashions of...

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Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History, BBC Four review - Ulster's bitter sectarian war revisited

“The Troubles” is a polite euphemism for the ferocious storm of sectarian violence and political chaos which convulsed Northern Ireland for 30 years, before being brought to a close by 1998’s Good Friday Agreement. Irish journalist Darragh MacIntyre...

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William Dalrymple: The Anarchy review – masterly history of the first rogue corporation

Serious historians don’t much care for counter-factual speculations. Readers, however, often enjoy them. So here’s mine. In 1780, the seemingly invincible forces of the East India Company had suffered a crushing defeat at Pollilur, west of Madras....

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Karl Marlantes: Deep River review - growing pains of a nation of immigrants

Karl Marlantes’s Deep River is an all-American novel. And why should it not be? Marlantes is an all-American author. He grew up in small-town Oregon, attended Yale (and Oxford), fought and was heavily awarded as a Marine in Vietnam, then settled...

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