sat 03/12/2022

Ireland

Holding, ITV review - Graham Norton’s novel moves seamlessly to the small screen

The terrain Holding occupies is well travelled, but this new ITV four-part drama travels over it really well. The landmarks are familiar: a quiet rural community, a cop with an unhealthy lifestyle and a secret sorrow, a feud between rival lovers of...

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Purple Snowflakes and Titty Wanks, Royal Court review – fearless, frank and feminist

Irish teenager Saoirse Murphy has a dirty mouth. And she’s not afraid to use it when talking to the nuns at her convent school. But it soon emerges that her feistiness is a cover for some very disturbing problems in Sarah Hanly’s energetic debut...

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Bajazet, Irish National Opera, Linbury Theatre review – robust but a bit rough

One thing’s clear from Irish National Opera’s bold championship of Vivaldi: he’s his own man when it comes to the stage, not some baroque generic, even if Bajazet is a pasticcio incorporating other composers’ music. He doesn’t characterize through...

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Classical CDs: Muesli, mindfulness colouring and a trip to the boulangerie

 Malcolm Arnold: Complete Symphonies and Dances National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Penny (Naxos)Working through these nine symphonies in chronological order is a fascinating and disturbing experience,...

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The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Lyric Hammersmith review - matchless revival of a contemporary classic

“You can’t kick a cow in Leenane without some bastard holding a grudge for 20 years,” sighs Pato Dooley (Adam Best) prophetically; he has already started making his escape from that particular Galway village, doing lonely stints on London building...

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First Person: Rachel O'Riordan on the enduring power of a sad, funny, and extraordinary play

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a vicious, sad and extraordinary play.On the surface, Martin McDonagh's play, first seen 25 years ago and revived now in a collaboration between Chichester Festival Theatre and my home base, the Lyric Hammersmith...

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Shining City, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - occasional sluggishness alongside a true star turn

When Brendan Coyle, playing a modestly magnetic widower and sales rep called John in this revival of Conor McPherson's 2004 play Shining City, first appears on stage, he looks thoroughly bewildered. His eyes dart back and forth as he initially...

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Rose Plays Julie review - a sombre story of rape, adoption and a search for identity

Rose (Ann Skelly; The Nevers) is adopted. The name on her birth certificate is Julie and the possibility of a different identity – different clothes, different hair, different accent - beckons. If she could embrace this second life, she thinks, she...

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End of Sentence review - an American father and his estranged son reconcile in Ireland

It’s not until the final moments of End of Sentence that Frank (John Hawkes) lets himself laugh – he’s swimming in the icy waters of an Irish lake - and what a relief it is to hear. Icelandic director Elfar Adalsteins’s debut feature (Sailcloth, a...

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Album: Imelda May - 11 Past the Hour

11 Past the Hour opens with its title song, a delicious, twangy, string-laden Nancy Sinatra Bond theme that never was. The album closes with a lyrically empowered torch song, “Never Look Back”, which rises and rises over a marching band drum tattoo...

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LFF 2020: Nomadland review - Francis McDormand gives a career-defining performance

Chloé Zhao’s The Rider was a film of rare honesty and beauty. Who would have thought she’d be able to top the power of that majestic docudrama? But with Nomadland she has.To call it a loose adaptation of Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland: Surviving America...

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The Other Lamb review - a surreal portrait of an abusive cult

“Thank you, Shepherd, for allowing us to be your wives. Come down upon me and fill me with yourself.” Collective ecstasy – and a lot of wool – is the order of the day in this cult led by Michael, aka Shepherd (Michiel Huisman; Game of Thrones; The...

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