sat 24/07/2021

England

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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Afterness, Orford Ness review - a breath of fresh air, literally

The boat ride lasts only a few minutes, but it takes you to another world. Orford Ness is an island of salt marsh and shingle banks off the Suffolk coast inhabited by birds, rabbits, hares and a few small deer.But the landscape is dotted with...

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Raya, Hampstead Downstairs review - a richly fraught reunion

Thirty years on, Alex and Jason meet at a university reunion and cab it back to Jason’s old student house where Alex is thinking “probably…” and Jason is thinking “probably not…”  - each, it turns out, with good reason. We look on as the clumsy...

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The Reason I Jump review - compelling and controversial

Back in 2017, a non-speaking autistic teen, Naoki Higashida wrote and published The Reason I Jump. He hoped it would offer some insight into the minds of people with autism. The book was subsequently translated by Keiko Yoshida and her husband,...

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The Father review - gripping dementia drama

Florian Zeller: the name might not be familiar in the world of cinema. But watch this space. His stage play Le Père was widely praised, made its way to Broadway and, following the success, the young French director has adapted it into The Father, a...

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Anne Boleyn, Channel 5 review - whispery and weepy

"Get out!" The order, spoken some way into the third and final episode of Channel 5's entry into the Tudor drama sweepstakes, Anne Boleyn, certainly seizes one's attention. Not only is our doomed heroine snapping under pressure on the way to one of...

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Album: Paul Weller - Fat Pop (Volume 1)

“The Changingman” came to sound a little rich in the years after it introduced Stanley Road, as Weller settled into a style which grew atrophied enough to define “Dadrock”. The alias fits these days, though, as the man who pulled the plug on The Jam...

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The Pursuit of Love, BBC One review - extravagantly entertaining

Nancy Mitford's 1945 literary sensation looks poised to be the TV talking point of the season, assuming the first episode of The Pursuit of Love sustains its utterly infectious energy through two hours still to come. Adapted and directed by the...

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Blu-ray: The Chalk Garden

Enid Bagnold’s 1955 English play The Chalk Garden, a Broadway hit before it opened in the West End, is usually described as a comedy because of Bagnold’s acerbic dialogue and droll appreciation of intricate employer-servant dynamics. If most of the...

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