mon 19/08/2019

1940s

Evita, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - a diva dictator for 2019

Following a triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ Superstar, now playing at the Barbican, the Park works its magic on another of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Seventies rock operas. Jamie Lloyd’s stripped-down, super-sleek, contemporary take...

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War and Peace, Welsh National Opera, Royal Opera House - bold epic weakened by loosely-directed characterisations

On the UK's biggest day of shame, it was some relief to tap in to the fury of the Russian people at a much greater national degradation (Napoleon's invasion in 1812, Hitler's in 1941). Though it works even better at the end of the first, "Natasha...

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Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Harold Pinter Theatre review - smart stagecraft, skimpy script

Better than the 2001 film but likely to disappoint devotees of the book, Captain Corelli's Mandolin onstage works best as a reminder of the identifiable stagecraft of its director, Melly Still. Playful, non-literal, and often endearingly physical (...

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Svetlana Alexievich: Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories review - anything but childish

Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories is a collection of oral testimonies conducted between 1978-2004 with Soviet and post-Soviet citizens who were children during the second world war. They recount strange and terrible...

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While the Sun Shines, Orange Tree Theatre review - frothy, yes, up to a point

Terence Rattigan completists, and count myself among them, will leap at the chance to see a rare production courtesy the Orange Tree Theatre of While the Sun Shines, a 1943 monster hit for this great English writer that has languished in semi-...

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Vasily Grossman: Stalingrad review - a Soviet national epic

Stalingrad is the companion piece to Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which on its (re)publication in English a decade ago was acclaimed as one of the greatest Russian (and not only Russian) novels of the 20th century. For its sense of the sheer...

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Blu-ray: The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window (1944) was the first of the two riveting film noirs in which Fritz Lang directed Edward G Robinson as a timid New York bourgeois, Joan Bennett as the alluring woman ill-met on a street, and Dan Duryea as the dandified sleaze...

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Last Stop Coney Island review - the life and photography of Harold Feinstein

This is a real passion project; British filmmaker Andy Dunn spent years building up a relationship with the late American photographer Harold Feinstein, filming him at work and interviewing friends, family and colleagues. The result is a loving...

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Blu-ray: Detour

“Whichever way you turn, fate sticks out a foot to trip you,” Al Roberts (Tom Neal) says in Detour (1945), as if his native pessimism and self-destructive choices had nothing to do with his inexorable descent into hell.Edgar G Ulmer’s minimalist...

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The Aftermath review - it looks great but it lacks bite

Is it time for the rebirth of the old-fashioned wartime weepie? If so, this time next year The Aftermath will be dragging a clanking heap of statuettes round Hollywood, attached to the rear bumper of its 1940s army staff car. If not…A cynical person...

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Traitors, Channel 4 review - Cold War thriller fails to reach room temperature

It’s 1945 and World War Two is nearly over. Somewhere in England, Fiona Symonds (“Feef” to her friends) is training to be a spy and be dropped behind enemy lines. Her training involves such amusements as being woken in the night by having a bucket...

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The Good Person of Szechwan, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Barbican review - slick Russian Brecht

"In our country the capable man needs luck," belts out Shen Te, the Good Person of Szechwan in the most powerful song of Brecht's epic "parable play" of 1941. "Only if he has powerful backers can he prove his capacity." Never was that more true than...

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