sat 21/09/2019

17th century

Bartholomew Fair, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - Jonson's chaotic slice of 17th-century life

It was a bold choice by director Blanche McIntyre to stage Ben Jonson's seldom performed, sprawling slice-of-life play in the bijou Sam Wanamaker Playhouse rather than Shakespeare's Globe's main stage – even if she has pared down both the script and...

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Artists in Amsterdam, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - a slight but evocative sketch

Done well, a one-room exhibition can be the very best sort, a small selection of paintings allowing the focused exploration of a single topic without the diluting effect of multiple rooms and objects. In this respect, Artists in Amsterdam rather...

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Charles I: Downfall of a King, BBC Four review - beheaded monarch upstaged by exotic presenter

“I want to discover how our government could fall apart and the country become bitterly divided in just a few weeks,” historian Lisa Hilton announced at the start of her BBC Four account of the traumatic demise of Charles I. In a mere 50 days in...

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theartsdesk in Treviso - cultural patronage, Italian style

Fortunate those Italian towns and cities whose Renaissance rulers looked to the arts to enrich their domain. Now neglect of cultural heritage can be laid at the doors of successive governments, but regional enlightenment can make a difference even...

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First Person: Liam Byrne on bringing Versailles to the City's 'Culture Mile'

When you dedicate your life to studying and performing on a musical instrument that essentially went extinct at the end of the 18th century, nostalgia plays a certain unavoidable role in your daily routine. I don't mean fetishistic historicism - I'm...

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Looking for Rembrandt, BBC Four review - painter's biog is a mini-masterpiece

This final episode of BBC Four's Looking for Rembrandt, exploring the life and work of the Netherlands’ greatest painter, was a mini-masterpiece in itself. We rejoined the story in the mid-1650s, when Rembrandt found that his days of popular acclaim...

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Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now, Gagosian Gallery review - old master, new ways

What are we to make of the two circles dustily inscribed in the background of Rembrandt’s c.1665 self-portrait? In a painting that bears the fruits of a life’s experience, drawn freehand, they might be a display of artistic virtuosity, or – more...

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The Crucible, The Yard Theatre review - wilfully over-stirred

The Crucible is a play that speaks with unrelenting power at times of discord, most of all when the public consciousness looks ripe for manipulation. Never more appropriate than now, you might think – and in a year in which the work of Arthur Miller...

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All Is True review - all's well doesn't end well in limp Shakespeare biopic

All may be true but not much is of interest in this Kenneth Branagh-directed film that casts an actor long-steeped in the Bard as a gardening-minded Shakespeare glimpsed in (lushly filmed) retirement. Seemingly conceived in order to persuade...

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The Double Dealer, Orange Tree Theatre review - high spirits and low morals

It's been 40 years since The Double Dealer last had a major airing (indeed, perhaps any airing) in London, so on the basis of novelty value alone, the Orange Tree's end-of-year offering is worth our attention. But as always with Restoration comedy,...

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Macbeth, Shakespeare's Globe review - sexually-charged production draws power from the shadows

Macbeth has rarely seemed quite as metrosexual as in this gorgeous shadow-painted production that marks Globe artistic director Michelle Terry’s first production in the Sam Wanamaker theatre. Even in a play that walks the tightrope between its...

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Don Quixote rides again, and again

It’s a story of a mad old man who imagines himself to be a knight errant. On his quests he sees virgins in prostitutes and castles in roadside inns. His adventures have spawned an adjective that describes delusional idealism, typified by the...

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