wed 29/05/2024

21st century

Sansara, Manchester Collective, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - sense of a unique experience

Manchester Collective have come a long way since their early days of chamber music in dark and dingy Salford basements and former MOT test centres. But they haven’t forgotten what made those pioneering performances special: the sense of a unique...

Read more...

Multiple Casualty Incident, The Yard Theatre review - NGO medics in training have problems of their own

We open on one of those grim, grim training rooms that all offices have – the apologetic sofa, the single electric kettle, the instant coffee. The lighting is too harsh, the chairs too hard, the atmosphere already post-lunch on Wednesday and it...

Read more...

Spirited Away, London Coliseum review - spectacular re-imagining of beloved film

Legions of Ghibli fanatics may love the heartwarming My Neighbour Totoro and the heartbreaking Grave of the Fireflies, but they revere Spirited Away, their, our, The Godfather and The Wizard of Oz rolled into one. Totoro has been magnificently...

Read more...

Testmatch, Orange Tree Theatre review - Raj rage, old and new, flares in cricket dramedy

Cricket has always been a lens through which to examine the legacy of the British Empire. In the 1930s, the infamous Bodyline series saw the new nation, Australia, stand up to its big brother’s bullying tactics. In the 1970s, the all-conquering West...

Read more...

Player Kings, Noel Coward Theatre review - inventive showcase for a peerless theatrical knight

Shakespeare’s plays have ever been meat for masher-uppers, from the bowdlerising Victorians to the modern filmed-theatre cycles of Ivo Van Hove. And Sir John Falstaff, as Orson Welles proved in Chimes at Midnight, can be the star of his very own...

Read more...

Cassie and the Lights, Southwark Playhouse review - powerful, affecting, beautifully acted tale of three sisters in care

"In care". It’s a phrase that, if it penetrates our minds at all, usually leads to distressing tabloid stories of children losing their lives at the hands of abusive parents (“Why oh why wasn’t this child in care?”) or of loving parents separated...

Read more...

Marwood, Power, Watkins, Hallé, Adès, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - sonic adventure and luxuriance

For the second big concert of his “residency” with the Hallé this season, Thomas Adès chose one major piece of his own, rather than a set of shorter ones. Tevot, a 21-minute one-movement work written for the Berlin Philharmonic 18 years ago,...

Read more...

Andrew O'Hagan: Caledonian Road review - London's Dickensian return

Andrew O’Hagan’s new novel, Caledonian Road, feels very much intended to be an epic, or at the very least has designs on being a seminal work, documenting the modern (European) human condition. Character and storyline-rich, dense, and morally...

Read more...

Cruel Intentions, The Other Palace review - uneasy vibes, hit tunes and sparkling staging

Transgression was so deliciously enticing. Back in the Eighties when I saw Les Liaisons Dangereuses in the West End on three occasions, life was simpler – or so us straight white men flattered ourselves to believe. Consent was for unproblematic...

Read more...

Nachtland, Young Vic review - German black comedy brings uneasy humour and discomfiting relevance

If Mark Twain thought that a German joke was no laughing matter, what would he make of a German comedy? That quote came to mind more than once during Patrick Marber’s production of Marius von Mayenburg’s 2022 play, Nachtland. I know it’s...

Read more...

Colin Currie Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - toccatas for triangles and teacups

I have never seen the Wigmore Hall stage more crammed with instruments than for this Colin Currie Quartet concert. Sadly the auditorium was not similarly packed, the hall’s admirable initiative of broadening its repertoire away from mainly dead...

Read more...

Samuel Takes a Break... in Male Dungeon No. 5 after a long but generally successful day of tours, The Yard Theatre review - funny and thought-provoking

You do not need to be Einstein to feel it. If the only dimension missing is time, 75% of a place’s identity can invade your very being, hollow you out, replace your soul with a void. It happened to me at Auschwitz and it’s happening to Samuel at...

Read more...
Subscribe to 21st century