tue 07/02/2023

magic

The Art of Illusion, Hampstead Theatre review - a hit from Paris conjures up strange-but-true stories

First came Yasmina Reza’s 1994 long-runner Art; now another French hit, The Art of Illusion, has arrived after eight years in Paris. The two pieces couldn’t be more different: the former is a chatty spat between three sophisticated male friends (...

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Hex, National Theatre review - 12 months after being sent to sleep by Covid, Rufus Norris's show is back

Hovering way, way above us, three aptly named high fairies, in voluminous chiffon, open a show that may not be airy in the metaphorical sense, but invites us to cast our eyes upwards continually – no bad thing to do in the bleak midwinter of 2022....

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Wonderville Magic and Cabaret review - fast-paced show delivers the promised wonder

There’s nothing quite like magic, live, up close and personal. Sure there are the TV spectaculars, the casino resort mega-shows and even The Masked Magician to pull back the curtains, but there’s a frisson in the air when the card that’s in your...

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The Tempest, Shakespeare's Globe review - occasional gales of laughter drown out subtlety

Alexei Sayle, in his angry young man phase, once said that you can always tell when you’re watching a Shakespeare comedy, because NOBODY'S LAUGHING. That’s not entirely true, of course, but sometimes a director has to go looking for the LOLs and...

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The Tempest, Theatre Royal, Bath review - multi-dimensional Shakespeare classic overpowered by comedy

The Tempest, a rich and profound late work, is probably Shakespeare’s most complex and layered play: the combination of power politics, philosophy, magic and romance is dizzying and a challenge to any director who attempts to encompass the...

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Alcina, Glyndebourne review - Handel on the strand

Reviewing the Grange Festival production of Tamerlano the other day, I noted the difficulty Handel poses the modern director with his byzantine plots and often ludicrous love tangles, expressed through music of surpassing brilliance but mostly...

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Glastonbury Festival 2022: an unexpurgated odyssey around the best party on the planet

Last days of June 2022, I sit in my writing hut. My liver is radioactive jelly, my nose reinforced concrete, my leg muscles marathon-cramped, and poisoned perspiration rolls down my forehead, stinging my eyeballs.You’ll already have seen a trillion...

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Album: Alanis Morissette - The Storm Before the Calm

This year marks 25 years since the release of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album. Not content with hitting the road for a celebratory world tour, the Canadian songstress is also releasing a new album – but it’s probably not what you might...

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The Book of Dust, Bridge Theatre review – as much intelligence and provocation as fleet-footed fun

It’s been seventeen years since Nicholas Hytner first directed Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, ambitiously whirling audiences into Pullman’s universe of daemons, damnable clerics and parallel worlds. Now he has...

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Duke of York's Theatre review - pure theatrical magic

This show has been a long time coming. Neil Gaiman had the first inklings of The Ocean at the End of the Lane when he was seven years old and living near a farm recorded in the Domesday Book. Several decades later, he wrote a short story for his...

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The Magician's Elephant, Royal Shakespeare Theatre review - family musical doesn't fully deliver

Trigger warnings have become commonplace in theatres these days, but few chill the blood like the description "a new musical" on a playbill. There are so many things to go wrong, so few ways to get things right and, never far away, the dissenters...

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Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane review - twinkling spectacle with a sincere drama at its heart

Let it snow! The Broadway musical adaptation of the Disney film behemoth Frozen premiered back in 2018 and now, following Covid delays, a rejigged version finally makes its home in the West End – to the delight of the army of miniature Elsas in...

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