sun 25/06/2017

history

Who Should We Let In? Ian Hislop on the First Great Immigration Row, review – how history repeats itself

Immigration…immigration… immigration… that’s what we need! Not the words of record-breaking, tap-dancing trumpeter Roy Castle, rather it’s the gist of a Times leader from 1853 (admittedly, fairly heavily paraphrased). It was just one of the eye-...

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Brenda Maddox: Reading the Rocks review - the revelations of geology

Reading the Rocks has a provocative subtitle, “How Victorian Geologists Discovered the Secret of Life”, indicating the role of geology in paving the way to an understanding of the evolution of our planet as a changing physical entity that was to...

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John Man: Amazons review - the real warrior women of the ancient world

As Wonder Woman hits screens worldwide, the publication of a book that explores the myth and reality of the Amazon seems timely. The latest of John Man’s works of popular history is opportunistic enough to end with a fascinating account of the...

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A Handful of Dust, Whitechapel Gallery review - grime does pay

Why is dust so fascinating yet, at the same time, so repellent? Maybe the fear of choking to death in a dust storm or being buried alive in fine sand provokes a visceral response to it. My current obsession with dust comes from having builders in my...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Naked Civil Servant

For those of us still mourning John Hurt, this lovely HD restoration of the actor’s favourite film is a real joy. Made in 1975 for Thames Television, it’s stood the test of time remarkably well. Funny, moving and often cited as a turning point in...

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Common, National Theatre review - Anne-Marie Duff fails to ignite

History is a tricky harlot. She is bought and sold, fought for and thrown over, seduced and betrayed – and always at the mercy of the winners. In a general election week, it is hard to deny that still now we are the progeny of the possessive...

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DVD/Blu-ray: My 20th Century

Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi’s 1989 debut feature My 20th Century (Az én XX. Századom) opens on a grandiose scene depicting the first public demonstration of Thomas Edison’s electric light-bulb. We see the wonder of onlookers as they ...

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Peter Ackroyd: Queer City - London's gay life over two millennia

2017 is proving the year of celebrating queer. To mark 50 years of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, we are enjoying a host of cultural and historical reminders, from Tate Britain to the British Library, and many locations in between, all...

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An Octoroon review - slavery reprised as melodrama in a vibrantly theatrical show

Make no mistake about it, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a playwright to watch. London receives its first opportunity to appraise his vibrant, quizzical talent with this production of An Octoroon, for which he received an OBIE in 2014 (jointly with his...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Lino Brocka - Two Films

With some re-releases, the fascination is not only discovering the work of a director, but also the environment and context in which he or she worked. This immaculate BFI restoration of two films by the Filipino master Lino Brocka (1939-1991) is a...

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Richard III review - Greg Hicks gruesomely impressive as power-crazed ruler

There may never have been a time when Shakespeare’s Richard III did not have contemporary relevance, but surely never more than it does right now. And it’s to the credit of director Mehmet Ergen that this production doesn’t go to town on it, but...

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Occupational Hazards, Hampstead Theatre review - vivid outline in search of a fuller play

"This is the most fun province in Iraq" isn't the sort of sentence you hear every day on a London stage. On the basis of geographical breadth alone, one applauds Occupational Hazards, in which playwright Stephen Brown adapts global adventurer-turned...

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