tue 27/02/2024

1940s

The Good Person of Szechwan, Lyric Hammersmith review - wild ride in hyperreality slides by

As the UK undergoes yet another political convulsion, this time concerning the threshold for ministers being shitty to fellow workers, it is apt that Bertolt Brecht’s parable about the challenges of being good in a dysfunctional society hits London...

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Betty Blue Eyes, Union Theatre review - musical revival pigs out on nostalgia

People can’t find the food they want in the shops. Nobody has enough money. Public services are under pressure. And there’s a big Royal occasion to take our minds off things.England 2023? Nah, England 1947, as rationing applies to meat and fruit...

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Blu-ray: The Queen of Spades

If post-war baroque cinema had been a school or movement rather than a style, its male icon would have been Anton Walbrook. Before Max Ophüls cast the suavely menacing Austrian actor as the master of ceremonies in La Ronde (1950) and as King Ludwig...

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The Last Stage review - a former prisoner returns to the death camp

Seventy-eight years ago, on January 27,1945, Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Red Army. The iconic images of the ovens with charred skulls and emaciated survivors peering through barbed wire were filmed by Russian cameramen over the...

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Allegiance, Charing Cross Theatre review - George Takei's childhood story makes a heartfelt musical

Like families, nations have secrets: dirty linen that they prefer not to expose to the light of day. Patriotic myths need to be protected, heroic narratives shaped, good guy reputations upheld. In 1942, the USA rounded up Japanese-Americans and...

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A Streetcar Named Desire, Almeida Theatre review - Patsy Ferran rises above fussy staging

It’s a long way from the dank chill of an English winter to the stultifying heat of a New Orleans summer, but we’ve been here before at this venue. Five years on from their award-winning Summer And Smoke, Rebecca Frecknall is back in the director’s...

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Watch on the Rhine, Donmar Warehouse review - Lillian Hellman's 1940 play is still asking awkward questions

We’re reminded, in a grainy black and white video framing device, that, as late as the summer of 1941, the USA saw World War II as just another European war. As brilliantly illustrated in Phillip Roth’s The Plot Against America, not only was such...

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Adam Sweeting's Top 10 Films of 2022

1. Nightmare AlleyIt’s the late 1930s, and the America depicted here is still lost in the purgatory of the Great Depression. Director Guillermo del Toro has described it as “a straight, really dark story”, but it grips like a sinister,...

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It’s a Wonderful Life, English National Opera review - Capra’s sharp-edged sentiment smothered in endless schmaltz

Looking for a sparkly operatic musical, well sung and played, slick and saturated in a range of mainstream styles that stop short in the year the movie masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life was released, 1946? Then Jake Heggie’s 2016 confection may be...

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Hewitt, Hallé, Schuldt, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - lightening the gloom

If there was a certain doom-laden dimension to Clemens Schuldt’s Bridgewater Hall programme with the Hallé ( … Requiem … Mozart in D minor … Strauss describing Death and …), it was easily lightened by the conductor’s own approach and personality....

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Pioro, Julien-Laferrière, BBC Philharmonic, Schwarz, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - joy on a Saturday night

This was at first sight a somewhat ordinary looking programme for the BBC Philharmonic: Beethoven, Brahms … even Stravinsky doesn’t frighten a Saturday night audience in Manchester these days. They come for a good night out and quite a lot...

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From Here to Eternity, Charing Cross Theatre review - Pearl Harbour musical fails to fly

Whorehouses, gay prostitution and suicide – you can see why James Jones’ bestselling 1951 novel was bowdlerised by the publishers and sanitised into subtext by Hollywood for the Oscar-laden movie released a couple of years later. As the extensive...

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