tue 21/05/2024

Mrs Thatcher

1979, Finborough Theatre review - niche subject matter finds a strong resonance

If a week is a long time in politics, what price 44 years? And 3500 miles? Turns out, not much, as Michael Healey’s sparkling play, 1979, proves that events all that time ago and all that way across the Atlantic maintain a remarkable relevance today...

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The Reckoning, BBC One review - Savile saga that doesn't tell the whole story

The problem with star casting is that the viewer can’t escape what it is: a very well known face pretending to be another very well known face. So Steve Coogan’s portrayal of Jimmy Savile in The Reckoning is both a fine impersonation of the...

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The Darkest Part of the Night, Kiln Theatre - issues-led drama has its heart in the right place

Music plays a big part in the life of Dwight, an 11-year-old black lad growing up in early 80s Leeds. He doesn't fit in at school, bullied because he is "slow", and he doesn't fit in outside school, would-be friends losing patience with him.But he...

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Thatcher: A Very British Revolution, BBC Two review - demolishing the boys' club

Is there some tongue-in-cheek irony in BBC Two starting a five-part biographical documentary on Margaret Thatcher this Monday? Mrs Thatcher was Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Conservative to boot, and regardless of gender her years of...

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The Specials, Margate Winter Gardens review - ska legends passionate and on-point

Here they come again – the band most adept at capturing the mood of an era in catchy, critical three-minute songs. Just at the very point we need them most, the original ska-punk popsters surface and their message is as deeply relevant as it was...

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Elmgreen & Dragset, Whitechapel Gallery review – when is a door not a door ?

A whiff of chlorine hits you as you open the door of the Whitechapel Gallery. Its the smell of public baths, and inside is a derelict swimming pool with nothing in it but dead leaves and piles of brick dust. Damp walls, peeling paint and cracked...

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The March on Russia, Orange Tree Theatre review – vividly funny amid the bleakness

The late David Storey spoke movingly, elsewhere on The Arts Desk, of his sense of overwhelming powerlessness at the challenge of accepting his father’s death. “I was quite racked by his death, and what death had become as an abstraction - in other...

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Hugh Scully: From Antiques to Downing Street

"I walked into her office and started the usual small talk about what a charming room it was and what a lovely view and I do like your curtains. She didn't know me from Adam - she didn't watch Antiques Roadshow, and she wasn't interested in my small...

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This Is England '90, Channel 4

It’s been worth the wait. There’s something about the affection Shane Meadows feels for his characters; the street action that doesn’t often (in this opener especially, though that may well change) tip into overt drama; the family elements that...

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Dead Sheep, Park Theatre

While seven-way debate rages, broadcaster and debuting playwright Jonathan Maitland takes us back 25 years to a radically different political landscape: a time of regents, and of regicide. It’s 1990 – Thatcher the leader claiming divine right to...

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Wonderland, Hampstead Theatre

When, before the great miners’ strike of 1984-85, Britain still had a coal industry, the miner was at the centre of a never-ending class war: you saw him either as an honest proletarian, in the vanguard of the struggle for better pay and conditions...

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The South Bank Show: Abi Morgan, Sky Arts 1

It’s been a decade since the television drama Sex Traffic brought writer Abi Morgan into the mainstream. It won an impressive collection of awards, and its tale of international prostitution networks, and their brutality, was as harsh and under-the-...

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