thu 18/04/2024

Victorian

A Sherlock Carol, Marylebone Theatre review - merry, but mirthless

It’s an elementary fact that Dickens sells at this time of year — look at all the perennial Christmas Carols sprouting up everywhere. But if grumpy old Scrouge is an instantly recognizable literary icon then so is the super sleuth Sherlock Holmes....

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Zadie Smith: The Fraud review - the trials we inherit

Zadie Smith’s latest novel, The Fraud, is her first venture into historical fiction – a fiction based on a factual trial and a real, forgotten Victorian author. While the premise is interesting and the story is engaging in itself, this book perhaps...

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The Essex Serpent, Apple TV+ review - tradition and superstition versus the march of progress

Sarah Perry’s 2016 bestseller The Essex Serpent has been described as “a novel of ideas”, which almost sounds like a warning to anybody wanting to televise it. Happily, director Clio Barnard and screenwriter Anna Symon picked up the gauntlet, and...

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A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic review - not quite a festive-season cracker

Four years and a Broadway run on from its Old Vic debut, director Matthew Warchus and writer,Jack Thorne are still throwing everything they can at one of the most familiar stories, and characters, in English literature. That may be to address the...

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Thomas Hardy: Fate, Exclusion and Tragedy, Sky Arts review – too much and not enough

Born in 1840, Thomas Hardy lived a life of in-betweens. Modern yet traditional, the son of a builder who went on to become a famous novelist, he belonged both to Dorset and London. When he died, his ashes were interred at Westminster Abbey, but his...

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Siegfried, Göteborg Opera online review - a hero for our times

The team of Stephen Langridge (director), Alison Chitty (design) and Paul Pyant (lighting) produced a quietly radical Parsifal at the Royal Opera in 2013, finding both beauty and horror in unexpected corners. On the strength of its third instalment...

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Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament review – choose-your-own whodunnit

I’ll admit, I’ve never been a fan of murder mysteries. Patience is not one of my virtues; if I can’t work something out in 30 seconds, I’m liable to give up, and whodunnits tend to need a bit longer than that. Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung...

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Fanny and Stella, Garden Theatre review - a saucy slice of queer history

In a purgatorial summer, this boisterous, camp and chaotically charming musical is a tonic. It’s a winning combination of slick and slapdash, performed before a masked, socially distanced audience in a hastily repurposed beer garden behind the Eagle...

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Twelfth Night, RSC/Stratford-upon-Avon online review - inventive but underfelt

Twelfth Night is rarely long-absent from the British stage and nor is it in our current climate of streaming aplenty. This 2017 production for the RSC from the director Christopher Luscombe will soon be followed online by the National Theatre’s...

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Jane Eyre, National Theatre at Home review - a fiery feminist adaptation

The National Theatre’s online broadcasts got off to a storming start with One Man, Two Guvnors – watched by over 2.5 million people, either on the night or in the week since its live streaming, and raising around £66,000 in donations. Let’s hope...

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Back in Time for the Corner Shop, BBC Two review - open all hours with the Ardern family

Since Back in Time for Dinner in 2015, this BBC Two social history strand in which families travel into a recreated past to experience ways in which society, leisure and lifestyles have changed has proved a robust perennial. Its latest iteration,...

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The Personal History of David Copperfield review – top-drawer Dickens

Armando Iannucci’s move away from the contemporary political satires that made his name, first signalled by his bold, uproariously brilliant Death of Stalin, continues apace with a Dickens adaptation that feels quietly radical. It’s not just...

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