fri 24/05/2019

1950s

Summer of Rockets, BBC Two review - pride and prejudice in 1950s Britain

Hallelujah! At last the BBC have commissioned a Stephen Poliakoff series that makes you want to come back for episode two (and hopefully all six), thanks to a powerful cast making the most of some perceptively-written roles.His most recent efforts,...

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Orpheus Descending, Menier Chocolate Factory review - Tennessee Williams scorcher needs more firepower

Where would Tennessee Williams's onetime flop be without the British theatre to rehabilitate it on an ongoing basis? Arriving at the Menier Chocolate Factory in a co-production with Theatre Clwyd, where Tamara Harvey's production has already been...

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Blu-ray: Khrustalyov, My Car!

The title of Khrustalyov, My Car! comes, infamously, from the words uttered by NKVD chief Lavrenty Beria as he departed the scene of Stalin’s death in March 1953, and Alexei German’s film comes as close as cinema can to dissecting the surreal terror...

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Billy Budd, Royal Opera review - Britten's drama of good and evil too much at sea

On one level, it's about Biblically informed good and evil at sea, in both the literal and the metaphorical sense. On another, the love that dared not speak its name when Britten and E M Forster adapted Hermann Melville's novella is either repressed...

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Rock Island Line: The Song That Made Britain Rock, BBC Four review - the early dawn of Britpop

If you were a fan of “Rock Island Line” when it became a pop hit, you’d have to be at least in your mid-70s now. In 1956, Paul McCartney heard Lonnie Donegan perform it live in Liverpool, and Paul’s rising 77. How many below that age know it is moot...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The White Reindeer

Finnish horror is a niche genre if ever there was one. Erik Blomberg’s directorial debut The White Reindeer is a seminal example, a beguiling, unsettling little film that’s two parts local colour to one part metaphysical thriller. Blomberg cut his...

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The Pilgrim’s Progress, RNCM, Manchester review – a theatrical triumph

The Royal Northern College of Music’s spring opera is a theatrical triumph and musically very, very good. It’s 27 years since they last presented what Vaughan Williams called his "morality" – that was a triumph too, and they made a CD of it which I...

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The Crucible, The Yard Theatre review - wilfully over-stirred

The Crucible is a play that speaks with unrelenting power at times of discord, most of all when the public consciousness looks ripe for manipulation. Never more appropriate than now, you might think – and in a year in which the work of Arthur Miller...

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DVD/Blu-Ray: La Vérité

For admirers of Henri-Georges Clouzot or Brigitte Bardot, this Criterion restoration of their rarely seen 1960 collaboration is a must have. La Vérité may not be Clouzot’s greatest film, the pace is a little slow and for British viewers...

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The Rubenstein Kiss, Southwark Playhouse review - slick spy drama doesn't quite come together

It's an ideal time to revive James Phillips's debut The Rubenstein Kiss. Since it won the John Whiting Award for new writing in 2005 its story, of ideological differences tearing a family apart, has only become more relevant. Joe Harmston directs a...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Human Desire

In an interview with Fritz Lang towards the end of his life, he dismisses Human Desire as a film he was contractually obliged to make and for which he had no great fondness. Certainly it isn’t his masterpiece, but it’s a lot more...

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Pinter Seven, Harold Pinter Theatre review - elaborations of anxiety

It was back to the very beginning for this final instalment of “Pinter at the Pinter”, with its pairing of A Slight Ache and The Dumb Waiter. Both were written at the end of the 1950s, which explained a certain rock’n’roll vibe in the auditorium,...

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