sat 16/12/2017

Jewish culture

Menashe review - Yiddish-language film with a heart of gold

On paper this film sounds so worthy: a widowed Orthodox Jewish father struggles to convince the Hassidic community elders that he can raise his young son alone after the death of his wife. But it’s the opposite of worthy on screen – Menashe is...

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The Melting Pot, Finborough Theatre review - entertaining morals

Israel Zangwill’s 1908 play The Melting Pot characterises Europe as an old and worn-out continent racked by violence and injustice and in thrall to its own bloody past. America, on the other hand, represents a visionary project that will “melt...

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Modigliani, Tate Modern review - the pitfalls of excess

Modigliani was an addict. Booze, fags, absinthe, hash, cocaine, women. He lived fast, died young, cherished an idea of what an artist should be and pursued it to his death. His nickname, Modi, played on the idea of the artiste maudit – the...

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Dough review - well-intentioned bread-based comedy doesn't rise

Oh dear, writing this review is a bit like being mean to a small cuddly animal. Dough has such very good intentions – characters separated by race, religion and age can find common ground in a bakery – it’s a shame that it doesn’t rise into a tasty...

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DVD/Blu-ray: German Concentration Camps Factual Survey

This is an impeccably restored presentation of the 1945 feature-length documentary that was intended to be shown in German cinemas in order to counter any remaining support for Nazism. Backed by the British Ministry of Information, it was overseen...

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A Dark Night in Dalston, Park Theatre

Michelle Collins, actor and TV presenter, is so strongly associated with her roles in EastEnders and Coronation Street that it is something of a shock to see her live on stage at the Park Theatre, and not behind a bar or in a snug. And although she...

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DVD: Marc Isaacs - Two Films

There’s a nice pairing to these two character-led documentary films, as reflections on concepts of partnership presented from different ends of the spectrum of innocence and experience. Treating innocence, Someday My Prince Will Come (2005) is the...

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The Mighty Walzer: ping-pong in the round

It’s a little over two years since I was approached to adapt The Mighty Walzer by Howard Jacobson for Manchester Royal Exchange. I was living in Liverpool at the time and had recently seen That Day We Sang by Victoria Wood at the Exchange. It was...

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Blood and Gold: The Making of Spain - Reconquest, BBC Four

The second instalment of this three-part series on the history of Spain (from the BBC in collaboration with the Open University) told a tale that is probably still relatively unfamiliar in the Anglophone world. That’s despite the fact that one of...

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Prom 11: Fiddler on the Roof, Grange Park Opera

Stop miking Bryn Terfel. Stop over-miking musicals; the show voices in a hybrid cast don’t need much. Too much ruined English National Opera’s recent Sweeney Todd, and in this Proms adaptation of Grange Park Opera’s summer crowd-pleaser it sent the...

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Out of Chaos: Ben Uri - 100 Years in London, Somerset House

The exhibition Out of Chaos is a powerful dose of specific human experience, here presented almost exclusively in the form of portraits and group scenes. The selection comes almost entirely from the more than 1,300 works of art owned by Ben Uri...

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Now This Is Not the End, Arcola Theatre

Few cities have been so central to the European imagination as Berlin in the 20th century. At the centre of imperial power, then of Weimar, next the hub of Nazi Germany, then for some 50 years a symbol of a divided Cold War world. In Rose Lewenstein...

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