mon 21/05/2018

World War Two

Effigies of Wickedness, Gate Theatre review - this sleek cabaret conceals desolation behind a smile

The show’s subtitle – “Songs banned by the Nazis” – is a catchy one, and somewhere under the confetti, the stilettos, the extravagant nudity, the sequins and even shinier repartee that are wrapped around Effigies of Wickedness like a mink coat on...

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Life and Fate / Uncle Vanya, Maly Drama Theatre, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - the greatest ensemble?

Towards the end of the Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg's Life and Fate, a long scene in director Lev Dodin's daring if necessarily selective adaptation of Vasily Grossman's epic novel brings many of the actors together after a sequence of...

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DVD/Blu-ray: They Came to a City

Ealing Studios veteran Basil Dearden may have directed it, but 1944’s They Came to a City is mostly a JB Priestley film, an engaging blend of the mundane and the metaphysical. The work’s stage origins are clear; apart from the newly-written prologue...

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Absolute Hell, National Theatre review - high gloss show saves over-rated classic

Rodney Ackland must be the most well-known forgotten man in postwar British theatre. His legend goes like this: Absolute Hell was originally titled The Pink Room, and first staged in 1952 at the Lyric Hammersmith, where it got a critical mauling....

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society review - artery-furring whimsy

There’s a serious film to be made about the German occupation of the Channel Islands. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is not that film. The absolute gobful of a title more than hints at artery-furring whimsy. Its provenance is...

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theartsdesk in Bremen: 150 years of A German Requiem

They did things differently in 1858. Between the movements of Brahms's surprising new Requiem in the Biblical German of Martin Luther, resounding in Bremen's Romanesque Cathedral on Good Friday, came "Erbarme dich" from Bach's St Matthew Passion,...

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Pressure, Park Theatre review - David Haig terrific in his own drama

There are few things more British than talking about the weather. What makes this play about a meteorologist interesting, however, is its historical setting: the eve of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. Although stories from the...

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Agnès Poirier: Left Bank review - Paris in war and peace

There are too many awestruck cultural histories of Paris to even begin to count. The Anglophone world has always been justly dazzled by its own cohorts of Paris-based writers and artists, as well as by the seemingly effortless superiority of...

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DVD: The King's Choice

It’s fascinating to compare this Norwegian film, which despite being Oscar-nominated (it made the Best Foreign Film shortlist of nine, but not the final five) has slipped out without a cinema release in the UK, with Darkest Hour. Set over a crucial...

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Darkest Hour review - Winston airbrushed for the 21st century

The Great Man theory of history is applied by Darkest Hour director Joe Wright to his star Gary Oldman as much as their subject Winston Churchill. Oldman’s performance is the sole, sufficient reason to see a film in which little else finally lingers...

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Cinderella, Sadler's Wells review - Matthew Bourne puts Cinderella through the Blitz

Even if Matthew Bourne were never to choreograph another step, he could fill theatres in perpetuity by rotating old stock. Cinderella, made in 1997, was the follow-up to his break-out hit Swan Lake but, never quite happy with it, he reworked it in...

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Call of Duty: WWII review - war is an unpleasant business

Like an incoming artillery shell, nothing screams “Christmas is coming!” like another Call of Duty game crash landing on the shelves. The mega-budget war franchise makes more money than Santa at this time of year and just to add to the annual...

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