wed 25/05/2022

tragedy

Age of Rage, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Barbican review - shattering assault on all the senses

Hunger for the gruesome horrors and euphoric highs of Greek tragedy seems to be stronger than ever. Yet when it comes to epic sequences, nothing in recent decades has quite had the impact of Peter Hall’s Aeschylus Oresteia at the National Theatre or...

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The Misfortune of the English, Orange Tree Theatre review - don't fret, boys, it's only death

“We all make history, one way or another.” But some of us make more history than others, and a group of 27 English schoolboys who got lost in Southern Germany in 1936 haven’t made much, unfortunately. Scottish playwright Pamela Carter has brushed...

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Peter Robison: Flying Blind review – a story of decline and crawl

Thomas Pynchon’s saturnine '70s novel Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) begins with “[a] screaming [that] comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.” In contrast, on 10 March 2019, when a Boeing 737 MAX operated...

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Selva Almada: Brickmakers review – men dying for love

To make bricks you torment the soft, moist and fluid material of clay and sand in a prison of fire until it becomes dry, hard and unyielding. In Selva Almada’s rural Argentina, that’s also how you make – and break – men. Brickmakers is the third of...

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The Memory of Water, Hampstead Theatre review – uneasy tragi-comedy

Memories are notoriously treacherous — this we know. I remember seeing Shelagh Stephenson’s contemporary classic at the Hampstead, when this venue was a prefab, and enjoying Terry Johnson’s racy staging, which starred Jane Booker, Hadyn Gwynne and...

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Paradise, National Theatre review - war, woe, and a glimmer of hope

Philoctetes, Odysseus, Neoptolemus: the men’s names in Sophocles’ Philoctetes are all unnecessarily long and weighed down by expectations. Poet Kae Tempest’s lyrical new adaptation for the National Theatre focuses on the chorus, spinning out the...

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Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai: The Mountains Sing review - a lyrical account of Việt Nam’s brutal past

“The challenges of the Vietnamese people throughout history are as tall as the tallest mountains. If you stand too close, you won’t be able to see their peaks. Once you step away from the currents of life, you will have the full view…” This is the...

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Elektra, Salzburg Festival, Arte review - distancing, but not in the physical sense

So much for the assertion that nowhere in the world would be staging the big Strauss and Wagner operas for the indefinite future. With a combination of lavish funding and good pandemic management on Austria's part, it’s been possible in Salzburg....

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Theatre Unlocked 2: A starry premiere and musical revival alongside Greek tragedy where it began

Theatres will begin gently unlocking their doors as we head into August. In the meantime, a beleaguered community continues to find fresh and startling ways to sustain interest and excitement, whether that be the premiere of a new play starring...

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Blueprint Medea, Finborough Theatre online review – well-meaning but clunky update

Medea is the original crazy ex-girlfriend: the wronged woman who takes perfectly understandable revenge on the man who made her life hell. In Blueprint Medea, a new adaptation premiered at the Finborough Theatre in May 2019 and available on YouTube...

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Marieke Lucas Rijneveld: The Discomfort of Evening review - lovelessness, loneliness, bodies and their limits

“I was ten and stopped taking off my coat.” This bare beginning marks the opening of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s startling and lyrical novel, translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison: an introduction to ten-year-old Jas and the dislocated world...

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Women Beware Women, Shakespeare's Globe, review – wittily toxic upgrade of a Jacobean tragedy

This raunchy, gleefully cynical production takes one of Thomas Middleton’s most famous tragedies and turns it into a Netflix-worthy dark comedy. Where the themes of incest, betrayal, cougar-action and multiple murder would be spun out over several...

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