tue 27/02/2024

Stalin

This Much I Know, Hampstead Theatre review - an intellectual game with a slight emotional payload

How do you make a play out of Stalin’s defecting daughter Svetlana, the psycho-economic theories of Daniel Kahneman and a fictionalised version of Derek Black, the son of a leading American white nationalist?Playwright Jonathan Spector, who reveals...

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Patriots, Noël Coward Theatre review - crash-bang brilliant Putin comedy does it again

With apocalyptic floods pouring through the Kakhovka dam, and millions of Ukrainians displaced or bereaved, it doesn’t feel decent to be laughing at a witty black comedy about his rise from nonentity to full-blown tyrant. On the other hand, how can...

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Mr Jones review - a timely testament to journalism

While the horrors of Hitler’s rule are well documented, Joseph Stalin’s crimes are less renowned, so much so that in a recent poll in Russia he was voted their greatest ever leader. This chilling fact made acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland feel...

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Dariescu, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Simonov, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - Soviet fear and loathing

It remains some of the most terrifying music ever written. Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony - the composer’s portrayal of the fear and anxiety felt under Stalin's regime - is a horrifyingly brutal musical portrayal of life lived under a totalitarian...

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Williams, BBC Philharmonic, Wigglesworth, Bridgewater Hall Manchester review - vision before gloom

The BBC Philharmonic have given memorable accounts of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 4 in Manchester before – notably conducted by Günther Herbig in 2010 and by John Storgårds in 2014 – but surely none as harrowingly grim as under Mark Wigglesworth this...

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Blu-ray: Khrustalyov, My Car!

The title of Khrustalyov, My Car! comes, infamously, from the words uttered by NKVD chief Lavrenty Beria as he departed the scene of Stalin’s death in March 1953, and Alexei German’s film comes as close as cinema can to dissecting the surreal terror...

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Traitors, Channel 4 review - Cold War thriller fails to reach room temperature

It’s 1945 and World War Two is nearly over. Somewhere in England, Fiona Symonds (“Feef” to her friends) is training to be a spy and be dropped behind enemy lines. Her training involves such amusements as being woken in the night by having a bucket...

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Magda Szabó: Katalin Street review - love after life

This is a love story and a ghost story. The year is 1934 and the Held family have moved from the countryside to an elegant house on Katalin Street in Budapest. Their new neighbours are the Major (with whom Mr Held fought in the Great War) and his...

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Cold War review - a gorgeous and mesmerising romance

Can we ever really know the passion that brought our parents together? By the time we are old enough to hear the story of how they first met, that lovers’ narrative has frayed in the telling and faded in the daily light of domestic familiarity. But...

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Life and Fate / Uncle Vanya, Maly Drama Theatre, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - the greatest ensemble?

Towards the end of the Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg's Life and Fate, a long scene in director Lev Dodin's daring if necessarily selective adaptation of Vasily Grossman's epic novel brings many of the actors together after a sequence of...

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Anne Applebaum: Red Famine review - hope around a heart of darkness

Hands both sensitive and surgical are needed to guide a reader into the heart of the 20th century’s second biggest genocide and out again. Anne Applebaum is the right person for a queasy and difficult task, never turning away from the horrifying...

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DVD: Revolution - New Art for a New World

Revolution - New Art for a New World film starts well: the opening shot (main picture) is of young women painting white letters onto a red banner. “We all knew what to paint,” says the voice-over. “Bread, Work, Vote, but the message was ‘...

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