sat 28/05/2022

1950s

Grease, Dominion Theatre review - a super night out, great songs well sung and spectacular dancing

Barry Gibb was at the considerable peak of his era-defining songwriting powers when he provided the song that played over the opening titles of the iconic 1978 film, so it's a wise decision by director, Nikolai Foster, to go straight into "Grease is...

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Osborne, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - an eclectic mix

The Mancunian tribute to Ralph Vaughan Williams – a symphonic cycle shared by the BBC Philharmonic and Hallé – reached its conclusion with the Eighth Symphony last night. But, unlike most concerts in the RVW150 sequence, in this one (the final...

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Hallé, Wilson, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - valedictory Vaughan Williams

The baton passed, metaphorically, to the Hallé last night in the Vaughan Williams symphony cycle shared between them and the BBC Philharmonic to mark the composer’s 150th anniversary. Literally, that baton was in the same hand as on the last date,...

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Great Freedom review - love behind bars in Germany

A story of forbidden love, Great Freedom takes place almost entirely in a prison. The film's background is encapsulated in the word “175er/ hundertfünfundsiebziger”, still to be found in German dictionaries and collective memories as a...

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Blu-ray: The Sun Shines Bright

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” the John Ford scholar Tag Gallagher quietly observes in the penetrating – and deeply moving – video essay he contributes to Masters of Cinema’s Blu-ray disc of Ford’s 1953 masterpiece The Sun Shines Bright. It’s...

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Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-65, Barbican review - revelations galore

The Barbican’s Postwar Modern covers the period after World War Two when artists were struggling to respond to the horrors that had engulfed Europe and find ways of recovering from the collective trauma.Perhaps inevitably, a considerable amount of...

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Music Reissues Weekly: Dick Raaijmakers aka Kid Baltan, and Tom Dissevelt

In 1957, popular music was given a jolt when the first electronic pop record was recorded. “Song of the Second Moon” was created and composed by the Dutch musician Dick Raaijmakers who was working at NatLab, the research laboratory of the...

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Magpie Murders, BritBox review - not only a whodunnit, but also a two-dunnit

Finding a fresh twist on the traditional detective mystery is virtually impossible, but Anthony Horowitz made a bold stab at it with Magpie Murders. Horowitz has masterminded this TV adaptation of his 2016 bestseller, which ingeniously (and...

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Music Reissues Weekly: Stan Tracey Trio - The 1959 Sessions

What’s now been titled The 1959 Sessions represents an unreleased studio album completed by the Stan Tracey Trio on 5 and 8 June 1959 at Decca’s London studio at Broadhurst Gardens. If issued then, it would have been the swift follow-up to the trio’...

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Blu-ray: Hungarian Masters

Three films, each restored to glorious 4K, make up Second Run’s Hungarian Masters set. Billed as “essential works by three of Hungarian cinema’s most renowned filmmakers”, each film earns that praise in its own way.Zoltán Fábri’s ...

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Blu-ray: Johnny Guitar

Watching this restored print of Nicholas Ray’s delirious Western reminded me of the discovery that those pristine white statues of the Ancient World had once been painted in gaudy colours. When I first saw Johnny Guitar, it was one of those movies...

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The Midsummer Marriage, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – Tippett’s cornucopia shines in fits and starts

British opera’s attempted answer to The Magic Flute, and its presentation as the opening gambit of Edward Gardner’s eminent position as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, leave me queasily ambivalent.After all the smoke and...

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