“Doodle like da Vinci to strengthen your memory and beat creative block,” recommended the email from Cass Art that recently dropped into my mailbox. Along with colouring, doodling is the latest relaxation fad for stressed adults. Is this just another example of our society’s infantilisation, or is there more to it?
The tormented king (the frightful Philip II) fears his son Carlo is plotting against him, so he calls up the Grand Inquisitor and asks if he has the right, the justification, to have his son killed. “Why not?” says the priest. God did. Then he and Philip lay on an IS-style mass-execution of heretic Flemings to make a point about peacekeeping.
Divorce and family breakdown are horrible, especially if you seek resolution in the courts, which are both gladiatorial and extortionate. In Mr v Mrs: Call the Mediator (21 June) we were shown the alternative: meeting outside the court system and trying to find common ground.
Making fairy tales its business, Disney Theatrical Productions has become something of a business fairy tale. Set up by the movie company in 1993 to turn hit children’s films into stage shows, DTP has made billions from The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins and others.
What is most extraordinary about Rievaulx, the twelfth-century Cistercian abbey in Yorkshire, is that it is there at all. One minute you are cruising down a remote country lane, passing hawthorn bushes and fields full of sheep and the occasional cottage; and the next minute, wham!
In the late 1930s, as Europe teetered towards war, an American woman travelled feverishly around the continent buying up an essential commodity that she believed would be at dire risk in a Nazi-run continent and that would be an essential building-block to a post-war future.
One of the turning points in the public estimation of Tony Blair was when he was challenged in his own constituency by Reg Keys, who had lost a son fighting in Iraq. Keys’ passionate speech at the 2005 election count provided one of the most uncomfortable moments of Blair’s career.
Summer rosé compared Premium09 June 2016
In two weeks’ time, the Great British Public will have made up its mind about continuing or ending membership of the European Union. Many wine enthusiasts are predicting that a Brexit vote would mean new trade tariffs, which could send the price of European wine rocketing.
The theatre director Phillip Breen starts a new production with an exercise book listing, on one page, the characters in each scene and, opposite, how he visualises the staging. For his latest show, though, no stationer’s shop sold a volume that was up to the task.
Another Austen Premium02 June 2016 | by Anthony Quinn
Whit Stillman proved himself a dab hand at high-society comedy as long ago as 1990 with his brittle debut Metropolitan, an ensemble portrait of gilded Manhattan youth trying on adult attitudes for size. A couple more films followed, then a long silence until Damsels in Distress arrived, and underwhelmed, in 2011.
For many, the Cannes Film Festival is suggestive of a slightly tacky glamour. The French have long taken le cinéma seriously, however, and for all the red-carpet posturing, the world’s most famous film festival is indubitably a celebration of an illustrious international art form.
Until 2015, the abbreviation LFBM stood for the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music but the airline sponsor withdrew after three decades and now the “L” stands for London. Without a principal backer, the programme has shrunk a little but audiences and artists have remained loyal both to each other and to a great institution.
There is definitely a gap in the television market for short, dark plays with creepy and fantastical twists. The question is whether there is a market in the gap. Would anyone today watch something like Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected? Or do they get all the weirdness they want from Doctor Who?
“Naked women and pictures of Jesus” is how the teenage George Shaw once summed up the contents of the National Gallery. Little did he dream of growing up to become the gallery’s Associate Artist, awarded a two-year residency on site to prepare an exhibition inspired by the collection.
Lemonade isn’t fizzy. It isn’t sweet. And it isn’t champagne. In contrast to perhaps her most famous song so far, this one is maybe about taking a ring off rather than putting one on. You don’t have to read between the lines. You just have to read the lines. All is not well in the most powerful entertainment business marriage.
Louis Theroux has made a remarkable transition from satirist of minor celebrities to sympathetic listener to people leading difficult lives. His methods, though, have hardly changed: in sometimes meandering programmes, he ingratiates himself into people’s domestic settings, lets them talk, and then asks pointed questions that sometimes stay just this side of impertinent.
After The recent success of theatre and TV versions of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell novels, it is proven that the same book can thrive equally well on stage and screen. Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, though, appeared almost simultaneously in the two media. Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited is a different proposition.
William Shakespeare, his father, mother, wife and daughter are sitting in his kitchen. Anne Hathaway gives the playwright some advice. “Don’t do comedy. It’s not your strong point.” Will is affronted. “It is my strong point, wife. It just needs lengthy explanation and copious footnotes. If you do your research, my stuff is really funny.”
An East Belfast loyalist, shown his baby granddaughter for the first time, is horrified to see the face of Gerry Adams looking back at him. A depressed young man, seeing no option but to end his life, finds access to his suicide auctioned to the highest bidders.
First things first: the lift. Up you go, at the Ikon Gallery, to the sound of a heavenly choir; what a smart idea is this. The piece you are listening to is an installation by Martin Creed, the Quaker artist who won the Turner Prize in 2001; the piece, Work 409, involves the recorded choral voices, which rise as the lift ascends and descend as it falls.
Jack Monroe started writing – I was going to say “her” but as a non-binary transgender she prefers the pronoun “their” – austerity recipe blog in 2012. The goad was a complaint by a Southend councillor that drunks, drug addicts and single mothers were depressing the town’s retail trade.
Poor old Richard Wagner! You spend a third of your life constructing The Ring of the Nibelung – surely the biggest one-man artwork in history – and a mere 150 years later most even of the culturally literate have only a dim (and probably contemptuous) awareness of it as some peculiar, possibly proto-Nazi manifesto stuffed with elves, dragons and gigantic blondes in horned helmets. Oh, and the “Ride of the Valkyries”.
One act of mercy Premium28 April 2016 | by Anthony Quinn
It is the thing you have half-imagined, could scarcely believe, possibly had nightmares about. Son of Saul brings us close – as close as cinema will ever get – to the dragon’s mouth of the Holocaust.
The BBC’s celebration of the Queen’s ninetieth birthday was wonderfully site-appropriate. While BBC1 – among much else – offered Nicholas Witchell’s matey encounter with Prince William, the World Service weighed in with Sir David Cannadine’s sober analysis of Her Majesty’s role as an international stateswoman (20 April).
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