sun 19/01/2020

new writing

Book extract: Insurrecto by Gina Apostol

At first, what puts Magsalin off at the pastry shop is Chiara’s voice. It is nasal, and her monotone, a bored flatness, even in the most interesting parts, keeps Magsalin, or the pastry shop waitress, or anyone else willing to listen amid the humid...

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Zadie Smith: Grand Union review – a roller coaster collection

“Adorable cock, nothing too dramatic, suitable for many situations,” remarks Monica on the penis of her university boyfriend. She is the candid protagonist of ‘Sentimental Education’, the second of 19 short stories that form Grand Union, an eclectic...

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Our Lady of Kibeho, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - heaven and hell in Rwandan visions

The American dramatist Katori Hall has created a work of rare accomplishment in Our Lady of Kibeho, a play that combines a beautifully established picture of a particular world – a church school in rural Rwanda, in the early 1980s – with profound...

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Mother of Him, Park Theatre review – lean domestic drama unsure where it stands

Mother of Him was written a decade ago, but its most prescient moment happens in the first five minutes of Max Lindsay's production at the Park Theatre. Brenda Kapowitz (Tracy-Ann Oberman) presents a sheaf of papers to Robert (Simon Hepworth, ...

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Faith, Hope & Charity, National Theatre review - a grim compassion

Alexander Zeldin continues his devastating analysis of modern Britain in this culminating play of a (very loose) trilogy that started with 2014’s Beyond Caring, followed by LOVE two years after that. These are bleak dramas that show human...

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What Girls Are Made Of, Soho Theatre review - euphoric gig-theatre

It’s now Edinburgh Fringe transfer season in London, but here’s one they made earlier: Cora Bissett’s Fringe First-winning autobiographical play from the 2018 Festival about her time in 1990s indie band Darlingheart. Though the broad shape of this...

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Anahera, Finborough Theatre review - blistering family drama from New Zealand

With power comes responsibility. One without the other is sickening -- and both iterations are on show in Emma Kinane's searing new play about a child runaway in New Zealand. Social worker Anahera (played by Acushla-Tara Kupe, pictured above...

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José Eduardo Agualusa: The Society of Reluctant Dreamers review - vivid visions towards a free Angola

Reality follows dreams in José Eduardo Agualusa’s latest experiment in quixotic political fable. The book opens with journalist Daniel Benchimol waking at the Rainbow Hotel in Angola’s capital, Luanda: “I saw long black birds fly past. I’d dreamed...

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Appropriate, Donmar Warehouse review - fraught family reunion blisteringly told

You can’t fail to feel the ghosts in Appropriate at the Donmar Warehouse: they are there in the very timbers of the ancient Southern plantation house that is the setting for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s fraught – and often very funny – family...

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The Collection: Nina Leger trans. Laura Francis – daring, direct and richly imagined

Jeanne – employment, age and appearance unknown, motives unknowable – is building a collection of penises. In street after street, she feigns dizziness; on the inevitable approach of a man eager to lend his help, she leads him to a hotel room. After...

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Wilderness Festival 2019 review - marvellous misbehaviour

The thing about Wilderness is that it’s just so jolly decent. Acres of decadence, sprawled safely over the yawning magnificence of Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, combine to create a scintillating country fair reverie – a heady mix of good music, high...

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Barber Shop Chronicles, Roundhouse review - riotous theatre at its best

Emmanuel (Anthony Ofoegbu) runs Three Kings Barbers in London. His assistant, Samuel (Mohammed Mansaray), is the son of his erstwhile business partner, who is currently in jail. Emmanuel is boss, surrogate father and — occasionally — verbal punching...

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