fri 07/10/2022

history

James IV: Queen of the Fight, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh review - revelatory historical drama

"The poem is real," intones entertainer-turned-courtier Ellen solemnly as a prologue and epilogue to Rona Munro’s vivid, vibrant new James IV: Queen of the Fight, presented by Scottish producers Raw Material and Edinburgh’s Capital Theatres in...

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Andrew Murray: Is Socialism Possible in Britain? review - what went wrong and why Corbynism failed

The title of Andrew Murray’s new book poses a question that also vexed Friedrich Engels over 130 years ago. The German co-author of The Communist Manifesto despaired of English socialism, "that abomination of abominations", on the grounds...

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'The first thing I do when I wake up is write.' Hilary Mantel, 1952-2022

Hilary Mantel, who has died at the age of 70, was a maker of literary history. Wolf Hall, an action-packed 650-page brick of a book about the rise and rise of Thomas Cromwell, won the Man Booker Prize in 2009. Three years later its successor,...

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The Two Popes, Rose Theatre review - sparkling with wit and pathos

It can’t have been an easy pitch. “Popes. Both foreign, yes. German and Argentinian – sorry, can’t change either. Eighty-something and the other’s a decade younger. Mainly just talking about their pasts and their different approaches to Roman...

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Olivier Guez: The Disappearance of Josef Mengele review - the Nazi who was never found

Bringing Olivier Guez’s novel The Disappearance of Josef Mengele on a beach holiday may seem like an odd choice (such is the lot of a reviewer). This incongruity transformed into something stranger, however, when I learned that the Nazi doctor Josef...

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Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters...

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Treason The Musical In Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane review - plenty of musical gunpowder but not enough plot

A semi-staged concert performance of a musical is a little like a third trimester ultrasound scan. You should see the anatomy in development, the shape of what is to come and, most importantly, discern a heart beating at its centre. But you can’t...

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Philip Ball: The Book of Minds review - thinking about the box

Years ago, one of the leading mathematicians in the country tried to explain to me what his real work was like. When he was on the case, he said, he could be doing a range of other things – having his morning shave, making coffee, walking to a...

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Bliss, Finborough Theatre review - bleak but tender

When Bliss, a new play adapted from an Andrei Platonov short story by Fraser Grace, made its debut in Russia in early 2020, Cambridge-based company Menagerie were told that their production was “very Russian”.I’m no expert on Russian culture, but I...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Parallel Mothers

Parallel Mothers unfolds at a daringly slow pace, and there are moments in the first half of Pedro Almodóvar’s 2021 drama when you wish that things would speed up. And then you’re wrong-footed by the unexpected shifts in tone and direction, and...

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The Misfortune of the English, Orange Tree Theatre review - don't fret, boys, it's only death

“We all make history, one way or another.” But some of us make more history than others, and a group of 27 English schoolboys who got lost in Southern Germany in 1936 haven’t made much, unfortunately. Scottish playwright Pamela Carter has brushed...

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The Tinderbox review – a call for peace

The beginning of the Israeli-Palestine conflict is officially dated to 7 June 1967, the occasion of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the Six-Day War, but its origins stretch back further.The Palestine War,...

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