wed 20/11/2019

biography

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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Varda by Agnès review - a richly moving film farewell

French director Agnès Varda looks back over a cinematic career of seven decades in this a richly moving film farewell, finished not long before her death at the end of March, aged 90. It’s structured around a series of masterclasses in which she...

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On Your Feet!, London Coliseum review - Gloria Estefan bio-musical hits familiar notes

This well-meaning biographical jukebox musical about icons Gloria and Emilio Estefan, which did two years on Broadway and a US tour, is good summer scheduling, what with its Latin-pop bangers, infectious dance routines and “Dreams come true”...

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Ocean Vuong: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous review – the new avant-garde

Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is written as a letter to his mother, who cannot read. She cannot read because, when she was five, her schoolhouse was burnt to the ground in an American napalm raid. “Our mother tongue, then,” writes Vuong, is the “mark of...

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Andy Hamilton, Brighton Festival 2019 review - gently amusing night of reminiscence

Taking place at the Theatre Royal, Andy Hamilton’s show is entitled An Evening with… rather than a straight stand-up and mainly consists of the comedy writer/performer and gameshow regular answering audience questions. During the first half this is...

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