wed 28/06/2017

1940s

Albert Herring, The Grange Festival review - playing it straight yields classic comedy gold

Perfect comedies for the country-house opera scene? Mozart's Figaro and Così, Strauss's Ariadne - and Britten's Albert Herring, now 70 years and a few days old, but as ageless as the rest. With the passing of time it's ever more obvious that this...

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Ariadne auf Naxos, Glyndebourne review – seriously compelling revival

It’s often said that Ariadne auf Naxos is all about The Composer – not only Richard Strauss but an affectionate parody of his younger self – and Katharina Thoma takes this idea seriously in her Glyndebourne production. In the role, Angela Brower...

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Churchill review - Winston has smallness thrust upon him

He may often be voted Greatest Briton in the History of Everything, but are we approaching peak Winston? Scroll down Churchill’s IMDb entry and you’ll find that he’s been played by every Tom, Dick and Harry in all manner of cockamamie entertainments...

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The Discovery of Mondrian review - the most comprehensive survey ever

Standing inside the Gemeentemuseum’s life-size reconstruction of Mondrian’s Paris studio, the painter’s reputation as an austere recluse seems well-deserved. Returning from Holland to France after the First World War, he lived and worked in what...

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All Our Children review - shameful historical period horrifies anew

How do you tell a story as complex as the eugenics movement, which is pursued afresh in writer-director Stephen Unwin's new play All Our Children? Its idealistic origins lie in Britain with Francis Galton in 1883, before leading to forced...

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Their Finest review - undone by feeble female characterisation

Yet another excuse to snuggle down with some cosy wartime nostalgia, Their Finest is purportedly a tribute to women’s undervalued role in the British film industry. Unfortunately it comes over more blah than Blitz. Gemma Arterton plays Catrin Cole,...

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Neruda, review - 'poetry and politics'

Chilean director Pablo Larrain has described Neruda as a “false biopic”, and it’s a film that surprises on many levels in its presentation of Pablo Neruda, the great poet who is his country’s best-known cultural figure. It captivates for the scope...

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Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures, Sadler's Wells

Not every artist attains the kind of status that will allow their early works to be revived – or, when revived, greeted with commercial and critical success. This is something of a shame for those of us with a historical mindset who like seeing...

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An American in Paris review - 'stagecraft couldn't be slicker'

What’s in a yellow dress? Hope over experience? Reckless confidence? This is a legitimate question when the second big cross-Atlantic people-pleaser hoves into view featuring a girl in a frock of striking daffodil hue. It doesn’t take a degree in...

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Viceroy's House

The Partition of India is vast and unexplored terrain in modern cinema. It triggered the migration of 14 million people: Muslims moved from an India reduced in size overnight to the new homeland of Pakistan, and non-Muslims made the opposite journey...

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Blu-ray: Mildred Pierce

Joan Crawford’s towering, lauded and Oscar-awarded lead performance in Michael Curtiz’s powerful 1945 film Mildred Pierce has the potential to diminish appreciation of the film as a whole. It can be watched for her career-reviving depiction of the...

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The Halcyon, Series 1 Finale, ITV

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now…One of the many ironies of Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon’s massive novel partly set in 1940s London, is that what follows these opening lines (...

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