tue 17/07/2018

tragedy

The Jungle, Playhouse Theatre review - new territory

"I am dead," declares Okot before recounting the horrors he survived to reach Calais. Each time, he says, "I died." How many times can you die before you are truly dead? What is it that finally kills you? These are the questions at the heart of...

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Translations, National Theatre review - an Irish classic returns with cascading force

What sort of physical upgrade can a play withstand? That question will have occurred to devotees of Brian Friel's Translations, a play that has thrived in smaller venues (London's Hampstead and Donmar, over time) and had trouble in larger spaces: a...

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King Lear, BBC Two review - modernised TV adaptation is a mixed blessing

Some have contended that King Lear is unstageable, and perhaps it’s unfilmable too. Richard Eyre‘s new version for the BBC sets Shakespeare’s most remorselessly bleak tragedy in a pseudo-modern Britain where historic stately homes co-exist with...

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Antony and Cleopatra, RSC, Barbican review - rising grandeur

Is there a key to “infinite variety”? The challenge of Cleopatra is to convey the sheer fullness of the role, the sense that it defines, and is defined by only itself: there’s no saying that the glorious tragedy of the closing plays itself out, of...

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Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Royal Opera review - one tenor, two samey brutes

Are "Cav and Pag" inseparable? Clearly not, to judge from Opera North's "Little Greats" and elsewhere, but it's still the pairing of choice. Tricky, because as music-theatre, Leoncavallo's drama of rough life entwined with rough art stands high...

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Prom 72 review: Vienna Philharmonic, Harding - uncertain Mahler Six partly redeemed by brass

Outlines of a real face had begun to emerge in Daniel Harding’s conducting personality. His youthful rise to the top initially yielded neutral concerts with the LSO and a glassy, overpraised recording of Mahler’s Tenth in the Deryck Cooke completion...

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King Lear, Shakespeare's Globe - Nancy Meckler's Globe debut is unusually subdued

Every play is a Brexit play. This much we have learnt in the year since the referendum. But in Nancy Meckler’s hands the Globe’s new King Lear becomes the Brexit play – an unpicking of intergenerational responsibility and difference, of philosophies...

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Hamlet, Harold Pinter Theatre review - dislocatingly fresh makeover

Midway through Hamlet a troupe of actors arrives at Elsinore. Coaching them for his own ends, the prince turns director, delivering an impassioned critique: “O! it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious, periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to...

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Hamlet, Glyndebourne review - integrity if not genius in Brett Dean's score

Nature’s germens tumble all together rather readily in more recent operatic Shakespeare. Following the overblown storm before the storm of Reimann’s Lear and the premature angst of Ryan Wigglesworth’s The Winter’s Tale, what's rotten in the state of...

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Medea, Bristol Old Vic - formulaic feminism lets Greek classic down

Greek tragedy provides an unending source of material for the stage: in no other theatrical form have the labyrinths of human nature been so deeply explored: the rich tapestry of archetypal family conflicts, driven by instincts that force helpless...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Ludwig

No-one has ever matched costume drama to psychological depth quite like Luchino Visconti. Much of it has to do with what Henry James termed a "divided consciousness": as a nobleman who became a communist in World War Two and was relatively open...

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Madama Butterfly, Royal Opera

"È un'immensa pietà" - "it's heartbreaking," rather than "it's a huge pity" - sings consul Sharpless of "Butterfly" Cio-Cio San's fatal belief that her American husband will return to her. Heartbreak is what we expected from Ermonela Jaho after her...

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