sat 24/10/2020

World War One

The Great Gatsby, Immersive London review – a warm and electric tribute to the book

The Prohibition-era setting of The Great Gatsby brings an appropriately illicit feel to this bold decision to stage an immersive theatre event in the age of Covid. Where, in 1922, champagne was the essential liquid to get any evening going...

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Birdsong, The Original Theatre Company online review – a gutsy experiment

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks’ best-selling First World War novel, has been adapted quite a few times in its twenty-seven years. First came the TV series in 2012, starring Eddie Redmayne and Clémence Poésy; then there was Sir Trevor Nunn’s 2010...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 4: Little-known Lloyd Webber, prize-winning Shakespeare, and starry David Mamet

Has anyone else noticed how fulltime this streaming thing has become?  Those who were of a mind to (and who never slept) could find enough cultural output to satisfy 24/7, especially if one adds to the free offerings that crop up by the week...

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Alex George: The Paris Hours review - captivating yet frustrating

A century on, the années folles of Paris between the wars do not cease to excite readers and writers of all varieties. Alex George’s latest novel, The Paris Hours, draws on the myriad charms the interwar period has to offer, condensing them into a...

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A Russian Youth, MUBI review - First World War setting, contemporary orchestra

Alexander Tolotukhin’s debut film places the viewer into a microcosm of the first world war and frames the experience with a peculiar musical device. Spliced between grainy images of trenches, artillery strikes and field hospitals are shots of a...

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Francesca Wade: Square Haunting - Bloomsbury retold

These days, Bloomsbury rests in a state of elegant somnolence. The ghosts of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell linger on in the shabby gentility of Russell Square and its environs, the bookish institutions that are the bones of the place conferring...

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Album: Field Music - Making a New World

“Only in a Man’s World” is a snappy pop-funk nugget with an Eighties feel. There’s a kinship with Peter Gabriel and “Once in a Lifetime” Talking Heads. Its lyrics though are something else. They begin by asking “Why should a woman feel ashamed?” and...

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1917 review – immersive, exemplary war film

The greatest war films are those which capture the terrifying physical and psychological ordeal that soldiers face, along with the sheer folly and waste of it all –  Paths of Glory, Come and See, Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, most...

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For Services Rendered, Jermyn Street Theatre review – uneven revival of 1930s drama

“I don’t think I have the right to influence her,” says an older character of her daughter in For Services Rendered, W Somerset Maugham’s 1932 anti-war drama. If only all elder statesmen and women felt the same about the youth. Tom Littler’s revival...

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Tolkien review - biopic charms but never wows

Finnish director Dome Karukoski’s Tolkien follows the same formula of many literary biopics, with a tick-box plot of loves, friendships and hardships that forged the writing career of one the 20th Century’s greatest fantasy writers.We open at the...

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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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The Pilgrim’s Progress, RNCM, Manchester review – a theatrical triumph

The Royal Northern College of Music’s spring opera is a theatrical triumph and musically very, very good. It’s 27 years since they last presented what Vaughan Williams called his "morality" – that was a triumph too, and they made a CD of it which I...

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