fri 19/04/2024

biography

Spencer Jones: Making Friends, Soho Theatre review - award-winning comedian mines his post-lockdown escape to the country

Lockdown feels more like a dream now: empty streets; bright, scarless skies; pan-banging at 8pm. Did it all happen? One part of our brains insists that it did; another resists such an overthrowing of what it means to be human. Try recalling events...

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Blu-ray/DVD: Priscilla

There’s a scene in Priscilla where Elvis stands above his wife, who is scrambling to put her clothes in a suitcase. Priscilla has just confronted him about a letter she found from the actress Ann-Margret, confirming her suspicion that the King of...

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MJ the Musical, Prince Edward Theatre review - glitzy jukebox musical with a superb star but a void inside

In a secret chamber somewhere, the producers of MJ the Musical may be keeping a portrait of the King of Pop that has acquired all his scars, physical and psychological.Few of them, though, are on show in this version of the ongoing Broadway hit...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Padre Pio

Faith and damnation frequently collide in Abel Ferrara’s films, drawing fiery performances from often starry casts. The New York master who made The Driller Killer and Bad Lieutenant now lives in Rome and, like his Pasolini, Padre Pio is a political...

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Richard Schoch: Shakespeare's House review - nothing ill in such a temple

Richard Schoch, in the subtitle of his new book on Shakespeare’s House, promises something big: “a window onto his life and legacy.” To the disgruntled reader – pushed to the brink by one too many new books on Shakespeare, each nervously...

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Adam Sisman: The Secret Life of John le Carré review - tinker, tailor, soldier, cheat

This book is quite a sad read. I had been looking forward to it, as a posthumous supplement to Adam Sisman’s 2015 biography of John le Carré/David Cornwell, which, at the time, quite clearly drew a discreet veil over his later private life. But the...

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Michael Peppiatt: Giacometti in Paris review - approaching the impossible

We begin with a dead-end. In 1966, Michael Peppiatt – at the time “an obscure young man” – travelled to Paris to meet the crumbling but venerable form of Alberto Giacometti, a letter of introduction written by Francis Bacon tucked into his pocket.He...

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First Person: Marc Burrows on getting to know Sir Terry Pratchett

In a very real sense, Terry Pratchett taught me how to write. I first came across his work when I was 12 years old, in the early 90s.My parents had been given copies of two of the earliest books in his Discworld series, Guards! Guards! and The...

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Fiona Maddocks: Goodbye Russia - Rachmaninoff in Exile review - an affectionate biographical portrait

In 1917, in the face of the Bolshevik revolution closing in on his country estate, Rachmaninoff fled Russia, never to return. He was 44, at his peak as composer, pianist and conductor, but spent the rest of his life in exile in the US and...

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Mad About the Boy review - entertaining cradle-to-grave Noel Coward documentary

Devoted fans may not learn anything that new about Noel Coward from Barnaby Thompson’s documentary Mad About the Boy, but they will doubtless see some new things. And those who know “the Master” only from his early plays, hardy perennials these...

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Loving Highsmith review - documentary focused on the writer's lighter side

Since her death in 1995, Patricia Highsmith has prompted three biographies, screeds of often conflicting psychological analysis and now this documentary from the Swiss-born Eva Vitija. We hear the director say at the outset that by reading her then-...

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Berlusconi, Southwark Playhouse Elephant review - curious new musical satire

One wonders if Ricky Simmonds and Simon Vaughan pondered long over their debut musical’s title. Silvio might invite hubristic comparisons with Evita (another unlikely political leader), but Berlusconi feels a little Hamilton – too soon?...

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