thu 05/08/2021

new writing

10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami

Mieko Kawakami sits firmly amongst the Japanese literati for her sharp and pensive depictions of life in contemporary Japan. Since the translation of Breasts and Eggs (2020), she has also become somewhat of an indie fiction icon in the UK, with her...

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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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ANNA X, Harold Pinter Theatre review - lacking in substance

There just isn’t enough there, with ANNA X. Daniel Raggett’s production is the third and final of the RE:EMERGE season at the Harold Pinter Theatre, with Emma Corrin of Lady Di fame in the lead. The graphic design – the brightly-striped faces of...

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Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing review – core writing from England's regions

“On the Ordinance Survey map, it has no name”, writes Andrew Michael Hurley, of the wood that nevertheless gives its name to his essay. “Clavicle Wood” provides the first chapter in the Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing. It is...

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The Invisible Hand, Kiln Theatre review - balanced on a knife edge

A lot’s changed since Kiln Theatre boss Indhu Rubasingham directed The Invisible Hand’s first UK outing in 2016, not least the theatre’s name (it was known as the Tricycle back then). But in Rubasingham’s capable hands, American Ayad Akhtar’s taut...

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Constellations, Vaudeville Theatre review - a starry revival

A cosmologist and a beekeeper walk into a barbecue. Or a wedding. The beekeeper is in a relationship, or married, or just out of a relationship, or married again. The cosmologist shares the secret of the universe with him: it’s impossible to lick...

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J'Ouvert, Harold Pinter Theatre review - formless yet fabulous

A welcome West End upgrade is the order of the day at J'Ouvert, the debut play from Yasmin Joseph whose 2019 premiere at South London's Theatre 503 additionally marked the directing debut of the actress Rebekah Murrell. And now here it is, all but...

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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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After Life, National Theatre review - thanks for the memories

Limbo, in Jack Thorne’s latest play, is a room lined ceiling-high with drawers, a sort of morgue rebooted as a vast filing system. It apparently provides comfy accommodation for the souls waiting to pass over, and its activities are run in tight...

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First Person: Director Maria Aberg on drawing fresh inspiration for the future

When theatres in the UK closed last March, I found myself in a vacuum. Having been a freelance theatre director for over 15 years, I was used to busy – juggling a hectic schedule of directing shows with the reality of being a mum to two toddlers....

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First Person: playwright Tanika Gupta on being back in the rehearsal room once more

On the first day of rehearsals for Out West at the Lyric Hammersmith in May, myself and fellow playwrights Roy Williams and Simon Stephens stood, masked up and lateral flow tested for Covid, and listened as the Lyric Hammersmith's artistic director...

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Milestone review - parable of an aging trucker

Watching Milestone, a new Netflix original directed by Ivan Ayr, I was reminded of the films of the great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. This story about an aging truck driver facing redundancy whilst grieving for his wife attempts the still...

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