tue 03/08/2021

race issues

Limbo review - quiet but voluble

Displacement looms large over every quietly impressive frame of Limbo, writer-director Ben Sharrock's magnetic film about a young Syrian man called Omar (Amir El-Masry) who finds himself biding his time in the remotest reaches of Scotland on the way...

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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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South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre review - gloriously revived and also refreshed

We’ve come to learn what socially distanced means but, 72 years ago, the distance that concerned Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers was that between racial groups in the United States. With a catalogue of hits behind them, they turned to ...

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Hairspray, London Coliseum review - brighter and more welcome than ever

A revival of a multi-award winning musical, with a big star or two, may look like a safe choice to re-open London’s largest theatre, the Coliseum, but there was a tingle of jeopardy in the air, exemplified when the show catches you by surprise...

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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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Out West, Lyric Hammersmith review – not quite a hat trick

It is an index of the ambition of some venues that they are not only reopening their doors, but also staging plays that remind us of the talents of our best writers and actors. Although the stage monologue has recently been almost as infectious as...

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Danielle Evans: The Office of Historical Corrections review - what happens when history comes knocking

There’s something refreshing about fiction you can easily trace back to the question “what if?” What if this or that existed? What would happen? What could? That question doesn’t have to send you down memory lane, wondering about roads not...

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Album: Garbage - No Gods No Masters

At no point in their near-30-year career have “shy” or “retiring” been adjectives you could apply to Garbage - and yet, on this their seventh record, the Scottish-American rockers go to places that they never have before. With songs taking on...

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The Underground Railroad, Amazon Prime review - a horrifying ride through America's heart of darkness

Many a director might have considered that televising Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad was impossible, but Barry Jenkins, Oscar-winning director of Moonlight, has proved it can be done. His 10-part series for Amazon Prime is a...

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Extract: Blackface by Ayanna Thompson

Nearly a year has passed since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on 25 May. Nearly 200 have passed since the birth of “blackface minstrelsy” as a performance mode: white actors applying racial prosthetics to perform and make a mockery of...

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Album: Genesis Owusu - Smiling With No Teeth

The debut album by Australian-Ghanaian artist Genesis Owusu is so musically restless it’s exhilarating. What’s clear is this guy doesn’t want to be placed in a box, marked hip hop or anything else. Over a wild variety of music, he adopts multiple...

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Typical, Soho Theatre online review - powerfully poetic and painful

As the events of last year made clear, the police have a problem with race on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK, BAME people are more than twice as likely to die in police custody while being forcibly restrained than people from other social...

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