sat 24/06/2017

1950s

Little, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall Birmingham

The CBSO is justifiably proud of its association with Benjamin Britten. There’s rather less proof that he reciprocated, dismissing the orchestra as "second-rate" after it premiered his War Requiem in 1962. Throughout the 1950s, he’d repeatedly...

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La Strada, The Other Palace review - Fellini's tragicomedy becomes a noisy romp

Hitting the essence of a Fellini masterpiece in a different medium is no easy task. Try and reproduce his elusive brand of poetic melancholy and you'll fail; best to transfer the characters to a different medium, as the musical Sweet Charity did in...

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Billy Bragg: Roots, Radicals and Rockers review - riffing on skiffle, and more besides

Wow! An unconventional opening for a book review maybe, but ‘“wow!” nonetheless. Subtitled "How Skiffle Changed the World", this is an impressive work of popular scholarship by the singer, songwriter and social activist whose 40-year (and counting)...

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The Mikado review - Sasha Regan's all-male operetta formula hits a reef

Men playing boys playing girls, women and men, all female parts convincingly falsettoed and high musical standards as backbone: Sasha Regan's single-sex Gilbert and Sullivan has worked a special magic on Iolanthe and The Pirates of Penzance, HMS...

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McLaren review - illuminating portrait of New Zealand's racing ace

We’ve recently seen how Formula One heroes Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda and James Hunt can become box office gold, in the form of Senna and Rush. Roger Donaldson’s profile of New Zealand race ace Bruce McLaren is more for enthusiasts than a wider public...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Madame de…

Initially, Madame de… feels as if it might wear out its welcome. What seems a wearisome exposition on how privileged people with too much time on their hands fill their hours with vacuity gradually turns into an incisive discourse on the power of...

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Blu-ray: My Life as a Dog

My Life as a Dog is a bittersweet coming-of-age yarn which took Sweden and the art cinema circuit by storm on its release in 1985. Anton Glanzelius plays Ingemar, the 12-year-old narrator with a pixie-faced charm; his mother has TB and is exhausted...

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DVD: Mario Lanza - The Best of Everything

Born Alfred Arnold Cocozza to immigrant working-class Italian parents in Philadelphia, Mario Lanza was lauded by the likes of Serge Koussevitsky and Arturo Toscanini, becoming a huge Hollywood star by the early 1950s. Lanza couldn’t read music, and...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Chuck Berry

When a skiffle group called The Quarry Men played live in 1959, their repertoire included covers of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and “Sweet Little Sixteen”. The folk-based skiffle was becoming rock. In 1960, when the same band became The Beatles...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: George Jones

In May 1956, the Texan label Starday issued a wild rockabilly single by Thumper Jones. Its top side, the kinetic “Rock It”, was primal, uncontrolled and wild. The flip, “How Come It”, was less frenzied but still driving and infectious. Original...

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The Founder

Last year we had Jennifer Lawrence as the queen of the QVC shopping channel in Joy. For 2017, here’s Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, a struggling travelling salesman who went on to become the driving force behind the McDonald's fast-food empire. I’m...

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Fences

Fences is one of the best-known works by playwright August Wilson, part of his Century Cycle of plays exploring 100 years of black American history, and it won him a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award in 1987. Wilson died in 2005, but further...

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