mon 21/10/2019

Afghanistan

CD: PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project

PJ Harvey's ninth album is one with a message. I know this because it marks the first time that my pre-release copy of an album has come with a lyric booklet, despite the fact that it is perhaps the least oblique thing that the Dorset-born...

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Pink Mist, Bush Theatre

The war in Afghanistan has not exactly been neglected by contemporary British theatre, and the plight of returned soldiers is a standard trope of new writing. These distant wars function in our culture like worse-case scenarios, an excoriating...

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A War

Tobias Lindholm is something of a specialist in exploring the fate of enclosed groups under stress, charting how the dynamics of behaviour between men develop in crisis. I say men, though the Danish director’s name may still be better known in some...

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Best of 2015: Art

From weaselly shyster to spineless drip, the biographies of Goya’s subjects are often superfluous: exactly what he thought of each of his subjects is jaw-droppingly evident in each and every portrait he painted. Quite how Goya got away with it is a...

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The Sweethearts, Finborough Theatre

Entertaining our troops overseas has already proved a fruitful subject for drama, and not only for its show-within-a-show potential. Peter Nichols’ Privates on Parade – revived in the West End three years ago – combined latrine-level...

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

A unicorn, on fire; the wet slap of flesh on hospital linoleum; homoerotic manhugs from wounded soldiers. The latest and greatest in the legendary Metal Gear Solid series starts odd. But brilliantly odd.Waking in a hospital bed, covered in bandages...

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Three Tales, Ensemble BPM, IMAX Science Museum

Poised vibrantly enough between the buried-alive monotony of Philip Glass and the dynamic flights of John Adams, Steve Reich’s Three Tales deserves a special place in music-theatre history ("opera" it is not). Ironically, since it deals with the two...

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Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women, BBC Two

If the mark of a good documentary is that it teaches you something new, then the awkwardly titled Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women was a very good documentary indeed. For instance, before watching it I had no idea that the famous “women’s rights...

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Last Tango in Halifax, Series 3, BBC One / Homeland, Series 4 Finale, Channel 4

Back for its third series [***], Sally Wainwright's saga of Yorkshire folk continues to tread a precarious line between syrupy soapfulness and a family drama with sharp little teeth. Its excellent cast helps to carry it over the worst of the soggy...

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The Choir: New Military Wives, BBC Two

This feelgood programme hit all the buttons with almost unerring precision, as we followed Gareth Malone's project to prepare a military wives choir for a special prom, commemorating the World War One centenary on 3 August 2014. On the way we...

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Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race / The Spaceman of Afghanistan, BBC Four

Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race (*****) arrived at a strange time. With its remarkable accumulation of Soviet archive material and interviews with key figures, including Alexei Leonov, the first man to walk in space, the programme must...

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Our Girl, BBC One

If Molly Dawes (Lacey Turner) had to find one act of heroism with which to fully incorporate herself into her new squadron before the credits rolled, she couldn’t have planned it better: winched aboard a helicopter, her fist in the groin of the one-...

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