sat 18/05/2024

race issues

Blu-ray: Chocolat

Claire Denis’ 1988 debut is a sensual madeleine to her Cameroonian childhood, with its taste of termites on butter, sound of birdsong and insect chitter, and the camera’s slow turn and rise into vast vistas. It’s also a colonial reckoning, setting...

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Power of Sail, Menier Chocolate Factory review - alternately stiff and startling

The Menier Chocolate Factory has made something of a habit of late out of trawling unexpected corners of the contemporary American repertoire. A happy result of that last May was the local premiere of the Off Broadway show ...

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Foam, Finborough Theatre review - fascism and f*cking in a Gentlemen's Lavatory that proves short of gentlemen

In a too brightly tiled Gentlemen’s public convenience (Nitin Parmar’s beautifully realised set is as much a character as any of the men we meet), a lad is shaving his head. He’s halfway to the skinhead look of the early Seventies, but he hasn’t...

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For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, Garrick Theatre review - exhilarating, moving show makes West End return

When For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy first moved to the West End in 2023, it felt like a risky venture. It had started in the tiny New Diorama, and later packed out the Royal Royal Court, but was a...

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The Big Life, Stratford East review - musical brings the joy and honours the past

Is there a healthier sound than that of laughter ringing round a theatre? There are plenty of opportunities to test that theory in Tinuke Craig’s riotous revival of The Big Life, two decades on from its first run at this very venue. Much has...

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Samuel Takes a Break... in Male Dungeon No. 5 after a long but generally successful day of tours, The Yard Theatre review - funny and thought-provoking

You do not need to be Einstein to feel it. If the only dimension missing is time, 75% of a place’s identity can invade your very being, hollow you out, replace your soul with a void. It happened to me at Auschwitz and it’s happening to Samuel at...

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Just For One Day, The Old Vic review - clunky scenes and self-conscious exposition between great songs

So, a jukebox musical celebrating the apotheosis of the White Saviour, the ultimate carnival of rock stars’ self-aggrandisement and the Boomers’ biggest bonanza of feelgood posturing? One is tempted to stand opposite The Old Vic, point at the...

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The Settlers review - a western populated only by anti-heroes

From its opening shot – of a flock of sheep backlit by the sun’s rays – The Settlers is visually stunning. But the beauty ends there; as the narrative unfolds, it becomes clear that everything else about this episode in Chile’s history is cruel and...

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Entangled Pasts 1768-now, Royal Academy review - an institution exploring its racist past

In Titian’s painting Diana and Actaeon,1559, a cluster of naked beauties bathes beside a stream. Scarcely visible in the right hand corner is a black woman helping the goddess hide her nudity from Acteon who has stumbled into her private glade. The...

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The Most Precious of Goods, Marylebone Theatre review - old-fashioned storytelling of an all-too relevant tale

As last week’s news evidenced, genocide never really goes out of fashion. So it’s only right and proper that art continues to address the hideous concept and, while nothing, not even Primo Levi’s shattering If This Is a Man, can capture the scale of...

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The Color Purple review - sensational second time round for Alice Walker's novel on screen

How many re-tellings can Alice Walker's The Color Purple take? A helluva lot, as the candid Sofia, one of the work's seminal characters, might put it.Adapted by Steven Spielberg for the screen in 1985, and then as a Broadway musical that had two...

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Dreaming and Drowning, Bush Theatre - dense and intense monologue about Black queer identity

Kwame Owusu’s 55-minute one-hander does just what it says on the tin: it features a young student who dreams he is drowning. But its brevity is no bar to its being a dense and intense experience, worthy winner of last year’s Mustapha Matura Award....

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