mon 16/01/2017

Afghanistan

The Kite Runner, Wyndhams Theatre

Khaled Hosseini's 2003 bestseller ticks all the boxes as an A-level text. A personal story with epic sweep, it interweaves the bloody recent history of Afghanistan with a gripping family saga. Its treatment of racism and radicalism is timely. Other...

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Paranoid, ITV

They keep on coming, these crime dramas, from every direction. The Viking invasion continues, the co-productions with France, the ongoing American global takeover. Meanwhile back in Blighty, Red Productions have been a reliable source of quality...

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DVD: A War

The premise driving A War – lead character Claus Pedersen’s war – is the decision he makes as Company Commander while leading an army patrol in Afghanistan: whether or not to say he and his Danish unit are under attack from a specific house in a...

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The Silk Road, BBC Four

Terracotta warriors, Bactrian two-humped camels, Heavenly Horses, Buddhist caves, sand dunes, the world’s first printed book, a silk factory and temples galore including one that was the great mosque in Xi’an, were but some of the ingredients in a...

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CD: PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project

PJ Harvey's ninth album is one with a message. I know this because it marks the first time that my pre-release copy of an album has come with a lyric booklet, despite the fact that it is perhaps the least oblique thing that the Dorset-born...

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Pink Mist, Bush Theatre

The war in Afghanistan has not exactly been neglected by contemporary British theatre, and the plight of returned soldiers is a standard trope of new writing. These distant wars function in our culture like worse-case scenarios, an excoriating...

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A War

Tobias Lindholm is something of a specialist in exploring the fate of enclosed groups under stress, charting how the dynamics of behaviour between men develop in crisis. I say men, though the Danish director’s name may still be better known in some...

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Best of 2015: Art

From weaselly shyster to spineless drip, the biographies of Goya’s subjects are often superfluous: exactly what he thought of each of his subjects is jaw-droppingly evident in each and every portrait he painted. Quite how Goya got away with it is a...

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The Sweethearts, Finborough Theatre

Entertaining our troops overseas has already proved a fruitful subject for drama, and not only for its show-within-a-show potential. Peter Nichols’ Privates on Parade – revived in the West End three years ago – combined latrine-level...

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

A unicorn, on fire; the wet slap of flesh on hospital linoleum; homoerotic manhugs from wounded soldiers. The latest and greatest in the legendary Metal Gear Solid series starts odd. But brilliantly odd.Waking in a hospital bed, covered in bandages...

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Three Tales, Ensemble BPM, IMAX Science Museum

Poised vibrantly enough between the buried-alive monotony of Philip Glass and the dynamic flights of John Adams, Steve Reich’s Three Tales deserves a special place in music-theatre history ("opera" it is not). Ironically, since it deals with the two...

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Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women, BBC Two

If the mark of a good documentary is that it teaches you something new, then the awkwardly titled Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women was a very good documentary indeed. For instance, before watching it I had no idea that the famous “women’s rights...

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