wed 01/02/2023

religion

Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - Scrooge goes to Tennessee

We’ve had 75 years to get used to Scrooge McDuck, so we can hardly complain if the Americans indulge in a little cultural appropriation and send Charles Dickens’ misanthrope to Depression-era Tennessee for another whirl on the catharsis-redemption...

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Sons of the Prophet, Hampstead Theatre review - perfect mix of pain and comedy

Pain is, at one and the same time, something to avoid, and also something you can use. Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese-American mystical author of the 1923 best-seller The Prophet, concludes that, despite suffering, “all is well”, but how true is that?...

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Here, Southwark Playhouse review - award-winning kitchen sink drama goes down the drain

The kitchen sink drama has been a standby of English theatre for 70 years or more, but not always with an actual sink on stage. But there it is, in an everyday home that harbours a secret or two in Clive Judd’s debut play, the winner of the 2022...

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Tammy Faye, Almeida Theatre review - Elton John's often dazzling new musical

I’ll confess to a certain schadenfreude when the American televangelists who seemed so foreign to us Brits were led away to be papped on their perp walks, ministers in manacles: One big name after another skewered on their own hubris, gulling the...

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Album: Witch Fever - Congregation

Witch Fever are a seething punk outfit from Manchester whose debut album rampages at the patriarchy with unbridled fury. The tone throughout is summed up in “Sour”, wherein grimy, gloomy riffin’ is accompanied by oblique references to Christianity,...

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The Two Popes, Rose Theatre review - sparkling with wit and pathos

It can’t have been an easy pitch. “Popes. Both foreign, yes. German and Argentinian – sorry, can’t change either. Eighty-something and the other’s a decade younger. Mainly just talking about their pasts and their different approaches to Roman...

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Treason The Musical In Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane review - plenty of musical gunpowder but not enough plot

A semi-staged concert performance of a musical is a little like a third trimester ultrasound scan. You should see the anatomy in development, the shape of what is to come and, most importantly, discern a heart beating at its centre. But you can’t...

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Sister Act the Musical, Eventim Apollo review - the West End meets the Westway

If jukebox shows occupy one end of the musical theatre spectrum and Stephen Sondheim's masterpieces the other, Sister Act The Musical is somewhere in-between.We get songs we know (Alan Menken's score, heard first on the West End and then, in 2011,...

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Phoebe Power: Book of Days review - the clack of walking poles, the clink of scallop shell

The word “shrine” somersaults me back to the path of the Camino de Santiago. I have lost count of the faces that smiled up from photos positioned in the hollow of trees, some with little plastic figurines for company, others set in stone next to a...

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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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Benedetta review - lesbian nuns' sex and faith collide

Paul Verhoeven’s latest provocation is an old-fashioned but vigorous 17th century lesbian nun shocker, based on eye-poppingly explicit testimonies at the Christian church’s sole lesbian trial. It’s his most sustained examination of faith and sex, a...

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Broken Wings, Charing Cross Theatre review - new musical fails to fly

Somewhere in the world right now, one can hear Mister Mister's AOR hit, "Broken Wings" on an MOR radio station, capturing mid-Eighties synth pop perfectly. Few listeners will know that its inspiration is a 1912 autobiographical novel by Lebanese-...

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