mon 21/05/2018

1920s

Effigies of Wickedness, Gate Theatre review - this sleek cabaret conceals desolation behind a smile

The show’s subtitle – “Songs banned by the Nazis” – is a catchy one, and somewhere under the confetti, the stilettos, the extravagant nudity, the sequins and even shinier repartee that are wrapped around Effigies of Wickedness like a mink coat on...

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Wonderstruck review - beautifully designed but emotionally unengaging

What is it about Brian Selznick’s ornate illustrated fictions that leads good directors to make bad films? Turning The Invention of Hugo Cabret into Hugo was a near disaster for Scorsese, and now comes Todd Haynes’s stifling...

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America's Cool Modernism, Ashmolean Museum review - faces of the new city

Hie thee to Oxford, for it is doubtful that we will see the like of this exhibition again this side of the Atlantic. American art of the 1920s and 1930s was once disregarded in its homeland in favour of Francophile superiority, and once it fell into...

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From the House of the Dead, Royal Opera review - Janáček's prison oddity prompts hot tears

A political prisoner is brutally initiated into the life of a state penitentiary, and leaves it little over 90 minutes later. Four inmates reveal their brutal past histories with elliptical strangeness - each would need an episode of something like...

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Emil Nolde: Colour Is Life, National Gallery of Ireland review - boats, dancers, flowers

Colours had meanings for Emil Nolde. “Yellow can depict happiness and also pain. Red can mean fire, blood or roses; blue can mean silver, the sky or a storm.” As the son of a German-Frisian father and a Schleswig-Dane mother, Nolde was raised in a...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Composer, chansonnier and conductor HK Gruber at 75

You haven't lived until you've witnessed Viennese maverick H(einz) K(arl) Gruber – 75 today (3 January, publication day) – speech-singing, conducting and kazooing his way through his self-styled "pandemonium" Frankenstein!!. Composed for chansonnier...

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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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theartsdesk Q&A: Steven Knight and Cillian Murphy of Peaky Blinders

Like a lot of people, I came late to Peaky Blinders, bingeing on the first two brutal, but undeniably brilliant, series like the proverbial box-set sensation it quickly became. With its focus on the turmoil and fortunes of a particularly unruly...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Lubitsch in Berlin

The German director Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947) is best known for the insouciant screwball comedies he made in Hollywood. Many who haven’t seen his films will have heard of “the Lubitsch Touch” – at its most basic, his winking way of signifying...

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Babylon Berlin, Sky Atlantic review – brilliantly promising Euro-noir

Sky Atlantic’s German import is an intoxicating mix of intrigue and betrayal, set in the excessive days of the Weimar Republic. Gripping stories and extravagant production meet in the opening two episodes of this brilliantly promising Euro-noir....

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Bavouzet, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - playing the long game in Sibelius

Perhaps Sibelius did the right thing, signing off Tapiola in 1926 and then all but closing his account, spending the next three decades sitting and drinking. Over in Paris, his near-contemporary Florent Schmitt carried on, beavering away not only as...

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October, LSO, Strobel, Barbican review - Eisenstein with steel score

Forget the ersatz experience of Sergey Eisenstein's mighty silent films accompanied by slabs of Shostakovich symphonies composed years later. This collaboration between the London Symphony Orchestra and Kino Klassika is as close as we can ever come...

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