sun 05/04/2020

World War Two

Bill Brandt/Henry Moore, The Hepworth Wakefield review - a matter of perception

Bill Brandt’s photographs and Henry Moore’s studies of people sheltering underground during the Blitz (September 1940 to May 1941) offer glimpses of a world that is, thankfully, lost to us. A year and a half after the end of the bombing...

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'You’re Jewish. With a name like Neumann, you have to be'

It was during my first week at Tufts University in America, when I was 17, that I was told by a stranger that I was Jewish. As I left one of the orientation talks, I was approached by a slight young man with short brown hair and intense eyes. He...

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Leopoldstadt, Wyndham's Theatre review - Stoppard at once personal and accessible

It’s not uncommon for playwrights to begin their careers by writing what they know, to co-opt a frequently quoted precept about authorial inspiration. So it’s among the many fascinations of Leopoldstadt that Tom Stoppard, at the age of 82, should...

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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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Blomfield, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - sounds of a troubled truce

Concert programmes that set out to tell us a story can prove a mixed blessing. Yes, it’s valuable and stimulating to find ideas, and narratives, embodied in the musical flow. But great pieces, well-performed, have a habit of cutting loose from the...

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A Hidden Life review - Nazism stoically refused

Terrence Malick returns to his former greatness following three features of unscripted, all-star poesy, with this sombre biopic of sainted Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl). A farmer who refused to swear the Hitler...

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The Wind of Heaven, Finborough Theatre review - a welcome, if strange, Emlyn Williams rediscovery

This is the third Emlyn Williams piece to be presented here in a decade: The Druid's Rest in 2009 was followed by the enormous success of Accolade, directed by Blanche McIntyre, two years later.If it's a truism that neglected plays may well have...

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White Christmas, Dominion Theatre review - breezy but bland

Nostalgia for things that probably never were is an animating theme in politics these days. Much the same feeling displaced to the realm of showbiz, lends a vaguely dampening air to White Christmas, this latest stage retread of the 1954 Bing...

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World on Fire, BBC One, series finale review - may this fine war drama fight on

A bit like all those people on the home front in 1940 (but only a little bit), we sit and nervously wait for news. Is World on Fire (BBC One) still listed among the living? Or even now is someone typing up the letter and sticking it in a brown...

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Caroline Moorehead: A House in the Mountains review – the women's war against Fascism

In September 1944, a heavily pregnant Resistance activist in the north of German-occupied Italy was arrested on a visit to Milan. Lisetta Giua, a law student and fiancée of the Jewish anti-Fascist chief Vittorio Foa, worked as one of hundreds of...

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Midway review - gung-ho heroes battle moribund script

Director Roland Emmerich has been trying to make this movie since the 1990s, and battled hard to raise its $100m budget from individual investors. But why? The result is an old-fashioned war film in praise of the heroic American servicemen who...

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Werewolf review - post-Holocaust horrors

There used to be this myth that we knew nothing about the concentration camps until the victors opened their gates in 1945, and that the survivors were then nursed back to health. The Russians put out newsreels filmed weeks later of nurses tending...

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