fri 17/09/2021

England

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain review - visually arresting biopic

On its surface, a biopic of a late-Victorian artist starring big British talents including Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrea Riseborough and Claire Foy, sounds like typical awards fare for this time of year. Will Sharpe, best-known for directing the dark...

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Second Spring review - intriguing film about a woman with an unusual form of dementia

“We want you to see a doctor. You’ve changed, and not in a good way,” says Kathy’s underwhelming husband, Tim (Matthew Jure).We don’t know what Kathy (Cathy Naden, making her film debut) was like before, but as things stand she seems to be following...

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Album: Martina Topley-Bird - Forever I Wait

Martina Topley-Bird, who started out doing vocals for Tricky’s first single "Aftermath" aged 15, has matured. On her fourth solo album, self-produced, she builds confidently on the dreamy vocal lines that were essential to the Bristol sound of the '...

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Album: Iron Maiden - Senjutsu

Iron Maiden are in very many senses as English, as camp and as ridiculous as Christmas pantomime, even down to the “HE’S BEHIND YOU!” looming of their vast onstage zombie mascot Eddie. Which is not to say there’s nothing to them: far from it. Just...

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Paradise, National Theatre review - war, woe, and a glimmer of hope

Philoctetes, Odysseus, Neoptolemus: the men’s names in Sophocles’ Philoctetes are all unnecessarily long and weighed down by expectations. Poet Kae Tempest’s lyrical new adaptation for the National Theatre focuses on the chorus, spinning out the...

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The Windsors: Endgame, Prince of Wales Theatre review - fitfully pointed fun

Opposite the playhouse where the sometimes-wild royal comedy The Windsors: Endgame has just opened is the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company seafood restaurant. The eatery is of course inspired by Robert Zemeckis's hit 1994 film Forrest Gump, ...

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Anything Goes, Barbican review - an explosion of joy

"Times have changed", we're informed in the cascadingly witty title number of the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, now in revival at the Barbican and bringing with it a pandemic-clearing tsunami of joy.Or have they? Few I am sure would dispute the...

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theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - Purcell, Gabriel Jackson and Duruflé

King Arthur, as every schoolgirl knows, never actually existed, so it made perfect sense that the Gabrieli Consort’s Worcester Cathedral performance of Purcell’s semi-opera about the mythical British king and his battles with the Saxon incomers made...

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Lava, Bush Theatre review - poetic writing, mesmerically performed

What’s in a name? In Benedict Lombe’s incendiary debut play at the Bush Theatre, the answer to this question encompasses a whole continent, an entire existential experience - the Black experience, to be exact - though not in the way that "roots...

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Blu-ray: Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love & War

What we don’t learn about filmmaker Harry Birrell is as tantalising as what is actually revealed during the course of Matt Pinder’s beguiling 90-minute documentary. We hear that Birrell was born in Paisley to a father he never met, who had been...

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Il ritorno d'Ulisse, Longborough Festival Opera review - gods and grunge on the long journey home

They showed Clash of the Titans the other night – not the wretched remake, but the original 1981 sword-and-sandals cheesefest, complete with Ray Harryhausen’s Kraken, Ursula Andress as Aphrodite and that rip-roaring Laurence Rosenthal score. And, of...

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Album: Tom Odell - Monsters

It can be hard to separate this century’s male British troubadours, these children of Thom Yorke with their frail quavers, uniformly insisting on sensitivity, but too often sounding like entitled bleats. Maybe, as James Blake has defensively...

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