sat 25/01/2020

race issues

Rags: The Musical, Park Theatre review - a timely, if predictable, immigrant tale

“Take our country back!” is the rallying cry of the self-identified “real” Americans gathered to protest the arrival of immigrants. It could be a contemporary Trump rally – or, indeed, the nastier side of current British political discourse – but in...

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Just Mercy review - soul-stirring true story about race and justice in America

Just Mercy, the latest film from Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), is based on a New York Times bestseller. It has a star-studded cast. It’s emotionally moving as well as intellectually accessible. But it’s no easy film to watch. “They can call...

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Seberg review - lightweight script, heavyweight performance

It’s 1968, and Seberg leaves her husband, Romain Gary (Yvan Attal) and son, Alexandre (Gabriel Sky) for an audition in Hollywood. She seems happy to be going. Touching down in LAX she joins a group of black activists, led by Hakim Jamal (Anthony...

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A Kind of People, Royal Court review - multiculturalism falls apart

The trouble with prejudice is that you can't control how other people see you. At the start of her career, playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's work was set in her own Sikh community. But, like other playwrights from similar backgrounds, she has tended...

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Fairview, Young Vic review - questioning the assumptions of race

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview comes to the Young Vic with the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama under its belt, and a reputation for putting audiences on their mettle through a build-up of theatrical surprises that culminate in a denouement about...

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The Nightingale review – revenge without redemption

Writer-director Jennifer Kent knows that Australia’s colonial past shouldn’t be beautified, and she drives that fact home in every gloom-drenched shot of The Nightingale (her second feature after The Babadook from 2014). This is an immensely...

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Harriet review - potentially stirring biopic proves a slog

A defining chapter in American history is all but sold down river in Harriet, director Kasi Lemmons' tubthumpingly banal film about the extraordinary bravery and courage of the American freedom fighter, Harriet Tubman. Telling the same story more...

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Lenny Henry, Watford Colosseum review - enjoyable evening with genial host

It’s a long time since Lenny Henry performed live comedy, and a lot has happened in that interval. He has reinvented himself as a serious actor on stage and screen, become a spokesman for the black British experience, was knighted in 2015 and is now...

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Little Baby Jesus, Orange Tree Theatre review - an early play thrillingly alive for now

Time has been not just kind but even crucial to Little Baby Jesus, the 2011 play from the multi-hyphenate talent Arinzé Kene, who since then has gone on become a major name on and offstage: the West End transfer of his self-penned...

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Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy, Gold review - illuminating account of TV's struggle to become multicultural

Sir Lenny Henry, PhD and CBE, is scarcely recognisable as the teenager who made his TV debut on New Faces in 1975. He’s been a stand-up comedian, musician and Shakespearean actor, and even wrote his own dramatised autobiography for BBC One.A...

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The Day Shall Come review – Homeland Security satire lacks bite

A new film by Chris Morris ought to be an event. The agent provocateur of Brass Eye infamy has tended to rustle feathers and spark debate whatever he does. His last film, Four Lions, dared to find comedy in Islamic terrorism in 2010,...

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'Master Harold' ... and the Boys, National Theatre review - timelessly moving

Time has been kind to Athol Fugard's "Master Harold"...and the Boys. It's a stealth bomb of a play that I saw in its world premiere production in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1982 and that has been a regular part of my playgoing life ever since. Yes,...

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