wed 23/05/2018

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A Very English Scandal, BBC One review - making a drama out of a crisis

There was a time when Hugh Grant was viewed as a thespian one-trick pony, a floppy-haired fop dithering in a state of perpetual romantic confusion. But things have changed. He was excellent in Florence Foster Jenkins, hilariously self-parodic in...

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Lessons in Love and Violence, Royal Opera review - savage elegance never quite glows red-hot

A rope is mercy; a razor-blade to the throat, a kiss; a red-hot poker… But, of course, we never get anything so literal as the poker in George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s elegant, insinuating retelling of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II. The title...

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DVD: The Ice King

Director James Erskine found a fascinating subject in the life of ice-skating legend John Curry and has fashioned it into an absolutely compelling 90-minute documentary. Curry was only 45 when he died of AIDS in 1994, but his professional career, in...

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Picks of Brighton Festival 2018 by writer-director Neil Bartlett

Director, playwright and novelist Neil Bartlett has been making theatre and causing trouble since the 1980s. He made his name with a series of controversial stark naked performances staged in clubs and warehouses, then went on to...

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DVD: 50 Years Legal

Simon Napier-Bell’s film has a huge appetite for its subject, which is, of course, the half-century of gay history in Britain that followed the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality brought by the Wolfenden Report in 1967. 50 Years Legal barely...

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The Wound review - gay love hurts in strong South African drama

The title of South African director John Trengove’s powerful first feature works in more ways than one. In its literal sense, it alludes to the ritual circumcision, or ukwaluka, that accompanies the traditional rite of passage for young Xhosa men,...

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Absolute Hell, National Theatre review - high gloss show saves over-rated classic

Rodney Ackland must be the most well-known forgotten man in postwar British theatre. His legend goes like this: Absolute Hell was originally titled The Pink Room, and first staged in 1952 at the Lyric Hammersmith, where it got a critical mauling....

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120 BPM review - stirring portrait of French activism in the age of AIDS

Activism is back with a vengeance in our parlous political age, so what better time to welcome 120 BPM as a reminder of an impulse that has never truly gone away? A Grand Prize jury winner at Cannes last May and the recipient of multiple awards in...

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The Inheritance, Young Vic review - a long day’s journey into light

About a decade ago, theatre-makers started routinely describing themselves as being in the business of storytelling. And “storytelling” is most certainly the term that best describes Matthew Lopez’s two-part, seven-hour epic The Inheritance....

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DVD: Queerama

Last year, the BFI commemorated the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality with the release of Queerama, part of its Gross Indecency film season. Now available on DVD, the documentary from Daisy Asquith eschews standard...

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Kiss of the Spider Woman, Menier Chocolate Factory review - brilliantly performed and imaginatively staged

No, this isn't the large-scale Kander and Ebb musical, which opened in 1992 in London before transferring for a sizeable run on Broadway. Laurie Sansom's expert production instead both revisits and revises the lesser-known source of that song-and-...

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CD: Erasure - World Beyond

That Erasure have stuck to the tonalities of electropop – and not just electropop, but the extra gay hi-NRG flavour thereof, with Andy Bell's theatrical voice cartwheeling off Vince Clarke's fizzing beats – for seventeeen albums now makes them a...

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