sat 16/12/2017

Judaism

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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10 Questions for actress Tracy-Ann Oberman: 'it's made me pretty fearless'

What do you call a woman who murdered Dirty Den, is the darling of TV comedy producers, writes radio plays about the golden age of Hollywood, hosted and judged Channel 4’s Jewish Mum of the Year, was until just a few weeks ago tap dancing through...

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The Exterminating Angel, Royal Opera

"But is any of this normal?," asks poor Beatriz at the end of Act One. Of course not. She and 14 other grand creatures are crossing the space of an aristocratic drawing-room from which, they are coming to realise, there is no escape. At the same...

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Denial

As alternative facts go, few are as grievous as the assertion that the Holocaust didn't happen. That's the claim on which the British historian (I use that word advisedly) David Irving has staked an entire career. Its day in court provides...

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theartsdesk in Venice: Shylock comes home

"In such a night as this..." begins Lorenzo's beautiful speech in Act V of The Merchant of Venice. Watching Shakespeare's play in the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo on a balmy evening under a darkening navy blue sky, with cicadas providing a busy background...

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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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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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Sex and the Church, BBC Two

I’ve got no idea what the opposite of dumbing down might be. Swatting up? Whatever it is, it’s surely going to set the tone for the next couple of Friday nights on BBC Two, where Sex and the Church is as erudite a piece of television as we’re going...

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The Last of the Unjust

It is 30 years since Shoah. In the filmography of the Holocaust Claude Lanzmann's document is the towering monolith. At nine-and-a-half hours, it consists of no archive footage at all, just interviews with witnesses unburdening themselves of...

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Ida

Sometimes a film has you swooning from the very first frame, and Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski's fifth narrative feature is one such film. The story of a nun's self-discovery is captured in delicate monochrome by cinematographers Ryszard...

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David Schneider Makes Stalin Laugh

When Dostoyevsky was asked why he wrote Crime and Punishment he famously replied, “To further my career and get shortlisted for book prizes.” He didn’t, of course. I made that up. But what artist/writer/actor creates a piece of art/writing/acting...

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Nabucco, Royal Opera

"Oh, wretched old man! You are but the shadow of the king”, sings Plácido Domingo’s Nebuchadnezzar about himself in Lear-like abjection before his Goneril-Reganish daughter (the flame-throwing Liudmyla Monastyrska). It’s only true of this brief...

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