tue 26/10/2021

Ireland

The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Lyric Hammersmith review - matchless revival of a contemporary classic

“You can’t kick a cow in Leenane without some bastard holding a grudge for 20 years,” sighs Pato Dooley (Adam Best) prophetically; he has already started making his escape from that particular Galway village, doing lonely stints on London building...

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First Person: Rachel O'Riordan on the enduring power of a sad, funny, and extraordinary play

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a vicious, sad and extraordinary play.On the surface, Martin McDonagh's play, first seen 25 years ago and revived now in a collaboration between Chichester Festival Theatre and my home base, the Lyric Hammersmith...

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Shining City, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - occasional sluggishness alongside a true star turn

When Brendan Coyle, playing a modestly magnetic widower and sales rep called John in this revival of Conor McPherson's 2004 play Shining City, first appears on stage, he looks thoroughly bewildered. His eyes dart back and forth as he initially...

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Rose Plays Julie review - a sombre story of rape, adoption and a search for identity

Rose (Ann Skelly; The Nevers) is adopted. The name on her birth certificate is Julie and the possibility of a different identity – different clothes, different hair, different accent - beckons. If she could embrace this second life, she thinks, she...

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End of Sentence review - an American father and his estranged son reconcile in Ireland

It’s not until the final moments of End of Sentence that Frank (John Hawkes) lets himself laugh – he’s swimming in the icy waters of an Irish lake - and what a relief it is to hear. Icelandic director Elfar Adalsteins’s debut feature (Sailcloth, a...

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Album: Imelda May - 11 Past the Hour

11 Past the Hour opens with its title song, a delicious, twangy, string-laden Nancy Sinatra Bond theme that never was. The album closes with a lyrically empowered torch song, “Never Look Back”, which rises and rises over a marching band drum tattoo...

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LFF 2020: Nomadland review - Francis McDormand gives a career-defining performance

Chloé Zhao’s The Rider was a film of rare honesty and beauty. Who would have thought she’d be able to top the power of that majestic docudrama? But with Nomadland she has.To call it a loose adaptation of Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland: Surviving America...

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The Other Lamb review - a surreal portrait of an abusive cult

“Thank you, Shepherd, for allowing us to be your wives. Come down upon me and fill me with yourself.” Collective ecstasy – and a lot of wool – is the order of the day in this cult led by Michael, aka Shepherd (Michiel Huisman; Game of Thrones; The...

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Rialto review - beautifully acted but relentless

What news on the rialto? Not much of particular buoyancy or light in the Peter Mackie Burns film Rialto, which takes a grimly focused view of a married Irishman's struggle with his same-sex leanings. Adapted by Mark O'Halloran from his 2011 stage...

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Three Kings, Old Vic: In Camera review - Andrew Scott vividly evokes generational pain

The world premiere of Stephen Beresford’s new hourlong play, livestreamed to home audiences in four performances as part of the Old Vic’s In Camera series, was postponed a couple of times due to Andrew Scott undergoing minor surgery. Thankfully, the...

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The Deceived, Channel 5 review - who's fooling who?

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again, except somebody had renamed it The House at Knockdara. This was the title of the first novel by Michael Callaghan, Cambridge literature don, aspiring writer and serial seducer of his female students....

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Album: Fontaines DC – A Hero's Death

Be careful what you wish for. Turns out the dream that most bands yearn for isn't all it's cracked up to be. Fontaines DC's debut album, Dogrel went large (and won a Mercury Prize nomination and BBC 6 Music's Album of the Year). They toured like...

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