sun 19/01/2020

biography

Just Mercy review - soul-stirring true story about race and justice in America

Just Mercy, the latest film from Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), is based on a New York Times bestseller. It has a star-studded cast. It’s emotionally moving as well as intellectually accessible. But it’s no easy film to watch. “They can call...

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Nathalie Léger: Exposition review – mysteries, rumours and facts

Nathalie Léger’s superbly original Exposition is a biographical novel meditating on the nature of biography itself. Its plot – if indeed its 150 pages of intense reflection bordering continuously on stream of consciousness can be called a plot – is...

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Hugh Grant: A Life on Screen, BBC Two review - hiding in plain sight?

This charming BBC Two hagiography – which may be a contradiction in terms – opened on a montage of praise, with just a hint of irony for the hugely successful actor Hugh Grant. He was born in Hammersmith Hospital, although neither he nor his father...

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Robert Service: Kremlin Winter review – behind Putin's masks

When U.S. president George W. Bush looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin he famously “saw his soul”. In his latest meditation on modern Russia, Britain's top Kremlinologist Robert Service gets as close to the Russian president’s soul as may be...

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First Person: Simon Stephens - the contemplation of kindness

Light Falls is the sixth play that I have written for the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester and the fourth that its outgoing Artistic Director, Sarah Frankcom, will direct.She directed On the Shore of the Wide World, Punk Rock and Blindsided. In...

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Chantal Ackerman: My Mother Laughs review - too umbilically linked?

My Mother Laughs was first published in Chantal Ackerman’s native French in 2013. This year it has been translated into English for the first time, twice. Silver Press’ elegant version is framed by a foreword by the poet, Eileen Myles (who also has...

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Hisham Matar: A Month in Siena review – memories, framed

A Month in Siena is a sweet, short mediation on art, grief, and life. Ostensibly describing the time and space of its title, Matar touches on vanishings and lacunae in his past. Early on, he links the disappearance of his father in Cairo in 1990 to...

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Van Gogh’s Inner Circle, Noordbrabants Museum review - the man behind the art

Vincent van Gogh (b. 1853) could be difficult, truculent and unconventional. He battled with mental illness and wrestled with questions of religion throughout his life. But on good form he was personable. He was said to be an excellent imitator with...

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What Girls Are Made Of, Soho Theatre review - euphoric gig-theatre

It’s now Edinburgh Fringe transfer season in London, but here’s one they made earlier: Cora Bissett’s Fringe First-winning autobiographical play from the 2018 Festival about her time in 1990s indie band Darlingheart. Though the broad shape of this...

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Preludes, Southwark Playhouse review - journeying into the mind of Rachmaninoff

Where does music come from? That’s the vital question posed to Sergei Rachmaninoff in Dave Malloy’s extraordinary 2015 chamber work, as the great late-Romantic Russian composer – stuck in his third year of harrowing writer’s block – tries to...

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A. N. Wilson: Prince Albert review - entertaining bio is a total treat

Albertopolis! The Royal Albert Hall, the Albert Memorial and countless Albert Squares, Roads and Streets all commemorate Britain’s uncrowned king. In this mesmerising biography, novelist and historian A. N. Wilson’s admiration and affection for...

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Evita, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - a diva dictator for 2019

Following a triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ Superstar, now playing at the Barbican, the Park works its magic on another of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Seventies rock operas. Jamie Lloyd’s stripped-down, super-sleek, contemporary take...

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