wed 12/08/2020

medieval

The Old Guard review - serious silliness

It’s hard to take The Old Guard seriously — it’s an action film about thousand-year-old immortal warriors. Pulpy flashbacks and fake blood abounds. But The Old Guard doesn’t need to be serious or even memorable: it’s a fun, feel-good film, a rare...

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Matthew Kneale: Pilgrims review – adventures on the road to Rome

Some things really never change. After a blatant cheat perpetrated by a well-connected lout, one of the humblest pilgrims in Matthew Kneale’s band reminds us that “rich folks’ justice is a penny to pay, poor folks’ justice is dangling from a rope”....

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Valerie Hansen: The Year 1000 review - the first globe-trotting age

In 1018, the Princess of Chen – a member of the Liao dynasty that ruled northern China – was buried in a treasure-filled tomb in Inner Mongolia. Excavated in the 1980s, her grave contained luxury items sourced in Egypt, Syria, Iran, India, Sumatra...

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Rumpelstiltskin, Sadler's Wells Digital Stage review - spins an engaging yarn for young audiences

The latest in Sadler’s Wells’ Digital Stage programme – an impressively assembled online offering to keep audiences entertained during the shutdown – is balletLORENT’s family-friendly dance-theatre production Rumpelstiltskin. It was...

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Onward review - do you believe in magic?

Welcome to New Mushroomton: a fantasy land that’s forgotten itself. This is how we’re introduced to Pixar’s Onward, which is set in a Dungeons & Dragons daydream of suburbia. Director Dan Scanlon’s film is a tribute to his late father, but it...

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Disenchantment, Netflix review - Matt Groening show has promise after poor start

It’s an event that only comes around once a generation: a new Matt Groening TV series. The Simpsons is rightly regarded as one of the greatest shows ever made. It changed the face of American television, and 10 years later was followed Futurama, a...

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Isabeau, Opera Holland Park review - Mascagni's lumpy Godiva-ride rarity

Valiant Opera Holland Park, always taking up the gauntlet for Italian operas which should mostly never be staged again. Worst was Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini, where musical ambition vastly outruns technique and inspiration. Mascagni's Iris with...

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Blu-ray: Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky is all the more enjoyable once you get past what it isn’t; Terry Gilliam’s 1977 directorial debut is a medieval romp starring Michael Palin and a short-lived Terry Jones, but audiences shouldn’t expect a Monty Python film. Gilliam and...

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Colour, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

It is sobering to think that the medieval and Renaissance paintings that fill our galleries represent just a fraction of the artistic output of that period. Panel paintings – not to mention exquisitely fragile wall paintings – have for the most part...

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Sicily: Culture and Conquest, British Museum

This exhibition – the UK's first major exploration of the history of Sicily – highlights two astonishing epochs in the cultural history of the island, with a small bridging section in between. Spanning 4,000 years and bringing together over 200...

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Dan Cruickshank's Civilisation Under Attack, BBC Four

This was one of the most disturbing, terrifying and informative programmes imaginable, made more so by Dan Cruickshank’s calm demeanour as he interrogated everyone from scholars to fanatics about the actions and rationale of the Islamic State (IS)...

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Tristan und Isolde, Longborough Festival

It’s well-known that Wagner shelved The Ring two thirds of the way through in favour of Tristan with the aim of producing something that could be put on quickly in a conventional theatre. Of course, it didn’t quite work out that way. Yet Tristan,...

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