thu 14/11/2019

South Africa

Dada Masilo's Giselle, Sadler's Wells review - bold, brutal, unforgiving

The most arresting thing about Dada Masilo’s contemporary South African take on Giselle is Masilo herself. Tiny and boyishly slight, she inhabits her own fast, fidgety, tribal-inspired choreography with the intensity of someone in a trance. Costumed...

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'Master Harold' ... and the Boys, National Theatre review - timelessly moving

Time has been kind to Athol Fugard's "Master Harold"...and the Boys. It's a stealth bomb of a play that I saw in its world premiere production in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1982 and that has been a regular part of my playgoing life ever since. Yes,...

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CD: Africa Express - Egoli

Damon Albarn isn’t just a national treasure but an international one. He seems to spread his reach so widely, with a mix of curiosity and boundless energy, a great deal of discernment and a vision as different as possible from the narrow-minded...

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SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill, Isango Ensemble, Linbury Theatre - evocative and essential lyric theatre

While Bach's and Handel's Passions have been driving thousands to contemplate suffering, mortality and grace, this elegy for black lives lost over a century ago also chimes movingly with pre-Easter offerings. First seen in Southampton last year as a...

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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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Katharine Kilalea: OK, Mr Field review - architecture and alienation on the Cape Town coast

Modern novels with an architectural theme have, to say the least, a mixed pedigree. At their finest, as in Thomas Bernhard’s Correction, the fluidity and ambiguity of prose fiction mitigates, even undermines, the obsessive planner’s or designer’s...

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The Wound review - gay love hurts in strong South African drama

The title of South African director John Trengove’s powerful first feature works in more ways than one. In its literal sense, it alludes to the ritual circumcision, or ukwaluka, that accompanies the traditional rite of passage for young Xhosa men,...

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DVD: Blood and Glory

George Orwell’s maxim that sport is war minus the shooting never loses its currency. This summer it may acquire more when the football squads of the pampered west head for Russia. Historically, it applies to a small sub-genre of films about the...

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Big Cats, BBC One review - how cats conquered the world

Accepted wisdom seemed to be that in the animal world rats and cockroaches were the most adaptable and the most widely geographically distributed, followed by those pesky humans. But think again: the premise in this new three-part series is that the...

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Blue Planet II, BBC One review - just how fragile?

The eel is dying. Its body flits through a series of complicated knots which become increasingly grotesque torques. Immersed in a pool of brine — concentrated salt water five times denser than seawater — it is succumbing to toxic shock. As biomatter...

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Cadogan Hall review - peace, love and harmonies

On a dreary evening in what passes for summer, the news unutterably grim, an evening in the company of South Africa’s greatest export can’t help but lift the spirits. The nine singers that comprise Ladysmith Black Mambazo are mostly blood family,...

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Call the Midwife: 2016 Christmas Special, BBC One

While Miranda Hart's Chummy is no more and Jessica Raine (who played Jenny Lee) has long since departed to perish in Line of Duty and pout crossly in Wolf Hall, Call the Midwife has evolved into a sort of Heartbeat with nuns, featuring antique pop...

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