sat 25/05/2019

race issues

salt., Royal Court review - revisiting the Atlantic slave trade

Most of the facts about the Atlantic slave trade are well known; what is less easily understood is how history can make a person feel today. A question which invites an experimental approach in which you test out emotions on your own body. In 2016,...

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Orpheus Descending, Menier Chocolate Factory review - Tennessee Williams scorcher needs more firepower

Where would Tennessee Williams's onetime flop be without the British theatre to rehabilitate it on an ongoing basis? Arriving at the Menier Chocolate Factory in a co-production with Theatre Clwyd, where Tamara Harvey's production has already been...

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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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Ain't Misbehavin', Southwark Playhouse review - a jazz-hot musical revue

The joint is jumpin’ at Southwark Playhouse, now hosting an irresistible Fats Waller-inspired, Manhattan-set musical revue (a co-production with Colchester’s Mercury Theatre, where it opened last month). Though originating in the Seventies,...

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Mo Amer and Guz Khan, Leicester Square Theatre review - racism examined from both sides of the Atlantic

Well this is a nice change from the standard stand-up fare. Not many comics have a DJ introduce them with a cracking set of his own, and even fewer tour as part of a double bill with material that moves seamlessly from one set to the other as they...

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Blood Knot, Orange Tree Theatre review - defining apartheid-era drama delivers afresh

London's impromptu mini-season devoted to the work of Athol Fugard picks up real steam with Blood Knot, Matthew Xia's transfixing take on one of the benchmark titles of the apartheid era and beyond. I first encountered this play during its Tony-...

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Minding the Gap review – profound musings on life

Where would you go for a devastating study on the human condition? The home movies of teenage skaters would be very low down on that list. But most of those movies aren’t filmed, compiled and analysed by Bing Liu, the director of Minding the Gap....

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If Beale Street Could Talk review - love defies racism in James Baldwin adaptation

Films that show a young couple’s love deepening are rare because without personal conflict there’s no narrative progression. They're especially rare in the current mainstream American cinema since romantic dramas are commercially risky, though LGBTQ...

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Green Book review - is this Oscar hopeful too good to be true?

With five nominations, Green Book is cruising optimistically towards Oscar night, but it’s not all plain sailing for director Peter Farrelly’s mixed-race fairy tale about a posh black musician and his thuggish Italian minder. The film is being...

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Albums of the Year 2018: Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

Janelle Monáe had already established herself as pop’s next great innovator with The ArchAndroid and Electric Ladyland, two albums full of earworms, high production and retro-futuristic lyrics. This all-too-brief musical career seemed in jeopardy...

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The Long Song, BBC One, series finale review - a stirring adaptation

There was a ruthless logic to the scheduling of The Long Song (BBC One). Broadcast over three consecutive nights, this fleet-footed adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel set during the era of abolition in 19th-century Jamaica swiftly gathered momentum...

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Caroline, or Change, Playhouse Theatre review - Sharon D Clarke is superlative

With the politics of hate alive and well both sides of the Atlantic, this seems a good time to revive Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's 2003 musical, which is set in Civil Rights-era Louisiana. This production was first seen at Chichester Minerva...

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