mon 27/05/2019

Russia

Donbass review - war stories from the Ukrainian front

The latest from the prolific Sergei Loznitsa, Donbass is a bad-dream journey into the conflict that’s been waging in Eastern Ukraine since 2014, barely noticed beyond its immediate region. The titular break-away region, also known as “Novorossiya” (...

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Banine: Days in the Caucasus review - revolutions, pogroms and love

By fifteen Ummulbanu Asadullayeva — or Banine, to call her by the name under which she wrote and translated — had already lived more than most of us will in a lifetime. She’d experienced great love, married, been both a refugee and returnee,...

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Red Joan review - Judi Dench can't lift lumbering espionage drama

The decades-long stage relationship between Judi Dench and Trevor Nunn translates to surprisingly little with Red Joan. This is veteran theatre director Nunn's first film since Twelfth Night in 1996. Top-billed in a supporting role, Dench brings her...

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The White Crow review - gripping depiction of the brilliance of Nureyev

Genius is as genius does, and Rudolf Nureyev made sure nobody was left in any doubt about the scale of either his talents or his ambitions. Based on Julie Kavanagh's biography Rudolf Nureyev: The Life, The White Crow pairs director and actor...

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Rachvelishvili, ROH Orchestra, Pappano, Royal Opera House review - perfect night and day

There's now something of a gala atmosphere when the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House takes to the Covent Garden stage with its music director Antonio Pappano. Admittedly some of the players are not the same as when he took up his tenure, but the...

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The Cherry Orchard, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Barbican review - stunning absurdist Chekhov

There is no doubt that this Cherry Orchard, whirled into town by Roman Abramovich from Moscow, is going to be divisive. If you, like the two elegant old gentlemen sat next to me on press night, have come to see the Pushkin Drama Theatre’s...

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Kempf, Devin, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Sinaisky, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - aglow but not alight

In the fourth performance of their UK tour, with Vassily Sinaisky replacing an indisposed Yuri Temirkanov, the St Petersburg Philharmonic gave a warm and rousing performance at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Prokofiev’s First Symphony – written in "...

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Counting Sheep, The Vaults review - visceral recreation of an uprising

Is there a connection between revolution and theatre? The answer has to be yes – a visceral one. The supremacy of symbols, the collective strength of a crowd, a sense that some kind of pressure valve is being released to challenge the dominant...

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CD: Kikok - Sauna

Russian trio Gnoomes have created small waves over the last couple of years with their woozy psychedelia. One of its defining factors is the way the band have utilised Soviet-era synthesizers. During the Cold War it wasn’t only weaponry and the...

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Swan Lake, English National Ballet, London Coliseum review - a solid, go-to production

Diversity, and the need for more of it, is a hot potato in the theatre arts. Kudos, then, to English National Ballet and its director Tamara Rojo for the 23 nationalities represented within its ranks. And for the poster advertising the company’s...

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Boris Akunin: Black City review - a novel to sharpen the wits

It is 1914 – a fateful year for assassinations, war and revolution. The fictional Erast Petrovich Fandorin, the protagonist of Boris Akunin’s series of historical thrillers, is an elegant, eccentric sometime government servant, spy and diplomat, as...

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Fiddler on the Roof, Menier Chocolate Factory review - family matters in this sensitive musical revival

There’s a welcome alternative to panto hijinks in this gem of a Trevor Nunn musical revival – more attuned to the biting hardships of winter, and to the elegiac aspect of change, than to festive jollies. Which is not to say that there isn’t rousing...

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