tue 27/02/2024

1950s

The Big Life, Stratford East review - musical brings the joy and honours the past

Is there a healthier sound than that of laughter ringing round a theatre? There are plenty of opportunities to test that theory in Tinuke Craig’s riotous revival of The Big Life, two decades on from its first run at this very venue. Much has...

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Turning the Screw, King’s Head Theatre review - Britten and the not-so-innocent

David Hemmings was, by his own later admission, a knowing and bumptious boy when Britten cast him as the ill-fated Miles in his operatic adaptation of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. The upheaval Hemmings wrought in Aldeburgh’s Crag House when...

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The Hills of California, Harold Pinter Theatre - ladies' night for Jez Butterworth

Art makes for unexpected bedfellows, and so it proves in Jez Butterworth's moving if meandering The Hills of California. Butterworth's first play in seven years owes a lot more to as unexpected a source as the musical Gypsy than it does to such...

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Murder Is Easy, BBC One review - was this journey really necessary?

Well at least they haven’t changed the identity of the killer this time around, but the BBC’s new version of Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel has been modified in other ways. Screenwriter Siân Ejiwunmi-Le Berre and director Meenu Gaur have opted to move...

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Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre review - formidable stagecraft unlocks new depths to the popular series

Stranger Things has shown us over four seasons that the alternate dimension known as the Upside Down can be the seat of many things: terror, mystery, camaraderie, compassion. As it turns out, it can spawn great theatre, too, for Stephen Daldry’s...

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Cold War, Almeida Theatre review - compelling bittersweet tale of love in post-war Europe

There’s a touch of Dr Zhivago about director Paweł Pawlikowski’s screenplay for his 2018 film Cold War. Its plot is driven by the same Lara/Yuri dynamic, of an overwhelming love affair trying to outflank the forces of history. Now it's been...

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Driving Madeleine review - a Paris taxi ride reveals a harrowing life story

Charles (French comedian Dany Boon), a jaded taxi driver in Paris, is stressed out. He owes money, the points on his license are mounting up, he barely has time to see his wife and daughter. When he gets a booking for a far-flung ride involving an...

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Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre review - Nicole Scherzinger stuns in an exceptional production

Jamie Lloyd has the gift that keeps on giving. Hot on the heels of recent productions on Broadway and at the National Theatre, the visionary director is back in the West End with a stupendous reimagining of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s modern classic...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Cry, the Beloved Country (1951)

Movie Blu-rays and DVDs brim with superficially engaging extras that frequently fail to illuminate the main attraction. The opposite is true of Cry, the Beloved Country, which has been restored in 4K and newly released in StudioCanal’s Vintage...

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Music Reissues Weekly: Playing for the Man at the Door - Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick

Between the late 1950s and around 1971, Robert “Mack” McCormick (1930–2015) travelled through his base-state Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, west Louisiana and parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma looking for musicians to record. It wasn’t a random process:...

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The Bartered Bride, Garsington Opera review - brilliant revival of a comedy of cruelty

Smetana’s enchanting bitter-sweet comedy is probably on the danger-list for cancellation by the modern guardians of our moral sanctity. The plot hinges, like Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, on the cash-sale of the hero’s bride (in Hardy, the wife...

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Dialogues des Carmélites, Glyndebourne review - faith overwhelmed by horror

Harrowing and holiness alternate in Poulenc’s unique masterpiece, nominally an opera about nuns during the French revolution, at a deeper level a music-drama about the greatest disturbances in the human condition. Glyndebourne’s cast, conductor and...

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