wed 17/07/2019

Russia

The Mother, QEH review - Natalia goes psycho

The publicity said it would be dark. But who would have guessed The Mother would be this dark? With its tally of dead and dying babies, gouged eye sockets and flayed skin, Arthur Pita’s latest dance-drama vehicle for the phenomenal Natalia Osipova,...

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Boris Godunov, Royal Opera review - cool and surgical, with periodic chills

Suppose you're seeing Musorgsky's selective historical opera for the first time in Richard Jones's production, without any prior knowledge of the action. That child's spinning-top on the dropcloth: why? Then the curtain rises and we see Bryn Terfel'...

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Three Sisters, Maly Drama Theatre, Vaudeville Theatre review - a Chekhov of luminous clarity

Lev Dodin has been artistic director of the famed Maly Drama Theatre for some three and a half decades now, over which time the St Petersburg company has earned itself the highest of international reputations. London audiences have been fortunate to...

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The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Cheek by Jowl/Pushkin Theatre, Barbican review - theatre satire updated

Director Declan Donnellan has a rich record of working with Russian actors: his previous walk on the Slavic side, the darkly powerful Measure for Measure that came to the Barbican four years ago, was preceded by some magnificent versions of...

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Natalia Goncharova, Tate Modern review - a prodigious talent

The times they are a-changin’. On show at the Barbican is a retrospective of Lee Krasner’s stunning paintings and, for the first time ever, Tate Modern is hosting two major shows of women artists. At last, the achievements of great women are...

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Chernobyl, Episode 4, Sky Atlantic review - life in the death zone

Chernobyl (Sky Atlantic) is the most unmissable show on TV. Perhaps it’s because the Soviet nuclear catastrophe in 1986 was so blood-freezingly horrific that the filmmakers didn’t need to fictionalise or exaggerate.This penultimate episode was bad...

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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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