sun 26/01/2020

Russia

Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre review - a superlative company achievement

Uncle Vanya must surely be the closest, the most essential of Chekhov’s plays, its cast – just four main players who are caught up in the drama's fraught emotional action, and four who are essentially supporting – a concentrated unit even by the...

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Onegin, Royal Ballet review - vivid and intelligent dance drama

It’s no surprise that audiences love John Cranko’s Onegin, with its vividly economical narrative (close to Tchaikovsky’s opera), attractive decors by Jürgen Rose, and intelligent drama. True, it feels a tad old-fashioned – although that, as my...

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Citizen K review - real power in Russia

Putin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky are “strong”, a Russian journalist considers. “Everyone else – weak.” This is essentially Khodorkovsky’s opinion, too, after the former oil oligarch’s decade in a Siberian jail for suggesting the President was corrupt...

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Three Sisters, National Theatre review - Chekhov in time of war

Inua Ellams’ Three Sisters plays Chekhov in the shadow of war, specifically the Nigerian-Biafran secessionist conflict of the late 1960s which so bitterly divided that newly independent nation. It’s a bold move that adds decided new relevance...

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Robert Service: Kremlin Winter review – behind Putin's masks

When U.S. president George W. Bush looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin he famously “saw his soul”. In his latest meditation on modern Russia, Britain's top Kremlinologist Robert Service gets as close to the Russian president’s soul as may be...

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Book extract: Second-Hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich

Between 1991 to 2012, Belorussian journalist and oral historian Svetlana Alexievich travelled the countries that constituted the former USSR conducting interviews with the “the little great people” who had lived under Soviet communism and witnessed...

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Book extract: Second-Hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich

Between 1991 to 2012, Belorussian journalist and oral historian Svetlana Alexievich travelled the countries that constituted the former USSR conducting interviews with the “the little great people” who had lived under Soviet communism and witnessed...

Read more...

Book extract: Second-Hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich

Between 1991 to 2012, Belorussian journalist and oral historian Svetlana Alexievich travelled the countries that constituted the former USSR conducting interviews with the “the little great people” who had lived under Soviet communism and witnessed...

Read more...

Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters...

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Daniil Trifonov, RFH review - devil in the works

For the first 20 or so minutes and the second encore of this generous recital, I turned into a Trifonite, in thrall to the 28-year-old Russian pianist's communicative powers. Has Scriabin, in an imperious sweep from early to late, ever made more...

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Vassa, Almeida Theatre review - delayed opening doesn't land

Even the mighty Almeida is allowed the occasional dud and it’s sure as hell got one at the moment with Vassa. Maxim Gorky’s 1910 play (rewritten in 1935) about a matriarch in extremis some years back proved a stonking West End star vehicle...

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Catherine the Great, Sky Atlantic review - a glorious role for Helen Mirren only gets better

“I want something Russian…” It’s with such a cry that Helen Mirren, bored by the bizarrely transgressive masked ball that comes at the close of the first episode of Catherine the Great, gets the dancing going: nothing from the imported fashions of...

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