sat 01/04/2023

race issues

Infinity Pool review - it's like The White Lotus on bad acid

Director Brandon Cronenberg has inherited his father David’s eye for the twisted and the sinister. After the creepy mind-meld dystopia of 2020’s Possessor, Infinity Pool finds Cronenberg turning his attention to horror-tourism. It’s like The White...

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Two Billion Beats, Orange Tree Theatre review - lively, but overly idealistic

Do the right thing! But doing the right thing isn’t easy – especially if you are a teen. And a female teen who is being pressurised by your mother and your school teacher. It takes courage to make the best decisions, it’s scary and it’s hard.In...

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Allegiance, Charing Cross Theatre review - George Takei's childhood story makes a heartfelt musical

Like families, nations have secrets: dirty linen that they prefer not to expose to the light of day. Patriotic myths need to be protected, heroic narratives shaped, good guy reputations upheld. In 1942, the USA rounded up Japanese-Americans and...

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Watch on the Rhine, Donmar Warehouse review - Lillian Hellman's 1940 play is still asking awkward questions

We’re reminded, in a grainy black and white video framing device, that, as late as the summer of 1941, the USA saw World War II as just another European war. As brilliantly illustrated in Phillip Roth’s The Plot Against America, not only was such...

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Othello, National Theatre review - ambitious but emotionally underpowered

Clint Dyer is the first black director of Othello at the National Theatre, a venue that once staged the piece with its actor founder Laurence Olivier playing the lead role in blackface. We are reminded of this now-reviled practice before...

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A Child of Our Time, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - the spirit still moves

Half a century ago, Michael Tippett’s A Child of our Time felt inescapable. For a youth-choir singer in the London of that period, his wartime “modern oratorio” supplied a reference-point of ambition and achievement to which our exasperated elders...

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Derek Owusu: Losing the Plot review - the finest perfume

Derek Owusu’s debut That Reminds Me won the Desmond Elliot Prize in 2020. When asked what it was that she loved most about Owusu’s semi-autobiographical 117-page book, Preti Taneja, chair of the judges (and winner of the prize herself in 2018)...

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The Doctor, Duke of York's Theatre review - Juliet Stevenson will see you now

Robert Icke is an expert in corporate tragedy. I don’t mean that in a bad way - just that he has a penchant for taking classics (Hamlet, The Oresteia, Mary Stuart) and transporting them, with the help of designer Hildegard Bechtler, to the frosted-...

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James IV: Queen of the Fight, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh review - revelatory historical drama

"The poem is real," intones entertainer-turned-courtier Ellen solemnly as a prologue and epilogue to Rona Munro’s vivid, vibrant new James IV: Queen of the Fight, presented by Scottish producers Raw Material and Edinburgh’s Capital Theatres in...

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The Clinic, Almeida Theatre review - race and the status quo

As Dipa Baruwa-Etti’s latest play, The Clinic, reminds us, the Tory party has a strong showing of Black MPs – Badenoch, Cleverly, Kwarteng. It was finished long before the latest Cabinet appointments, but presciently picked those three names, all...

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The Darkest Part of the Night, Kiln Theatre - issues-led drama has its heart in the right place

Music plays a big part in the life of Dwight, an 11-year-old black lad growing up in early 80s Leeds. He doesn't fit in at school, bullied because he is "slow", and he doesn't fit in outside school, would-be friends losing patience with him.But he...

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The White Card, Soho Theatre review - expelling the audience from its comfort zone

We’re in New York City, in an upscale loft apartment, with that absence of stuff that speaks of a power to acquire anything. There are paintings on the walls, but we see only their descriptions: we learn that the owner (curator, in his word) really...

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