tue 24/04/2018

prison

From the House of the Dead, Royal Opera review - Janáček's prison oddity prompts hot tears

A political prisoner is brutally initiated into the life of a state penitentiary, and leaves it little over 90 minutes later. Four inmates reveal their brutal past histories with elliptical strangeness - each would need an episode of something like...

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DVD: The Work

“Doing work” is the phrase that inmates of California’s New Folsom Prison have adopted to describe the group psychotherapy sessions that have been run there for more than 15 years now. Given that Folsom is a Level-4 penitentiary, in which murder is...

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From the House of the Dead, Welsh National Opera review - elderly staging, music comes up fresh

This week is Prison Week in the Christian Churches, and it would be nice, if fanciful, to think that WNO programmed their revival of Janáček’s From the House of the Dead with that in mind. More likely the thinking was that it fitted well enough into...

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A Tale of Two Cities, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre review - it was the longest of times

Much loved, yes. But Dickens’s novel is probably little read by modern audiences and so a chance to see a new adaptation of this tale of discontent, riot and general mayhem set in the French revolution and spread across London and Paris in the late...

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Orange Is the New Black, Season 5, Netflix review - counterpoint in a three-day prison riot

Rippling outward from the initial story of a seemingly nice WASP woman who finds herself having to adapt in a women's prison, Orange Is the New Black quickly developed into the most multilayered, almost indigestibly rich of American TV dramas. By...

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Fidelio, Longborough Festival review - death to the concept of concepts

Opera directors must, I suppose, direct. But one could wish that they kept their mouths shut, at least outside the rehearsal studio. The condescension in Longborough’s programme-book interview with the director (Orpha Phelan) and designer (Madeleine...

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The Night Of, Sky Atlantic

On the face of it a murder mystery, The Night Of develops steadily into a panoramic survey of the American justice and prison system and attitudes to race and class. Produced by BBC Drama and HBO, it's based on the BBC's 2008 series Criminal Justice...

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Bobby Sands: 66 Days

There’s much more to Brendan J Byrne’s engrossing, even-handed documentary Bobby Sands: 66 Days than its title might at first suggest. The timeline that led up to the death on 5 May 1981 of the IRA prisoner provides the immediate context – an...

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The Fear of 13

David Sington’s The Fear of 13 is many things – blisteringly immediate, compelling, emotionally devastating – but at times it may have you pondering whether it fits into any traditional “documentary” category.Over the hour-and-a-half of its run, it...

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Storyville: Russia's Toughest Prison - The Condemned, BBC Four

The initial challenge – and there should be no underestimating the scale of it – of Nick Read’s documentary Russia's Toughest Prison - The Condemned must have been getting into a location which the great majority of its inmates will never leave....

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DVD: Starred Up

Director David Mackenzie tells us in this disc’s extras that Starred Up is his first genre film, and Fox’s low-rent sleeve art suggests that this could be another dreary, thuggish Britflick. The prison drama clichés come thick and fast, from the...

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Starred Up

Director David MacKenzie has made a prison drama for those who don’t like the genre and an ace in the hole for those who do. Starred Up is an example of how quality filmmaking captures an audience no matter what the topic – and here, that quality...

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