Although three of the main characters are barristers and a fourth is an actor playing a QC on TV, only two of the 15 scenes in Nina Raine’s new play take place at court. This is a legal drama about the way in which lawyers take their work home and their homes to work.
What bliss! A biopic of Morecambe and Wise in two episodes of an hour each (16 and 17 April). One would think there was little left to say about the lives and careers of mid-twentieth-century Britain’s most famous television comic duo, but these programmes demonstrate that the Eric and Ernie barrel is not fully scraped. Well, not quite.
About a third of the way into Park Chan-wook’s exquisite-looking period drama, The Handmaiden, I felt certain I was watching a masterpiece unfold. By the end of its two-and-a- half-hour span I realised (oh, alas!) it was anything but. The slide in quality and credibility really is that stark.
This excellent two-part mock-documentary (14 and 16 April, available at www.thingsunseen.co.uk or through the Premier Christian Radio website, www.premierchristianradio.com) purported to examine events that had taken place at Easter 2016 in West Trent.
Films about the Passion are, in ways literal and metaphorical, excruciating. Whether it’s the sanitised biblical epics of old Hollywood (The Greatest Story Ever Told), the brutal gorefest of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, or last year’s sincere but savourless Risen, cinema has struggled to make the Easter story live.
As someone who grew up in Leeds, the idea of a Yorkshire-accented Jesus seemed entirely right and proper to me when I saw The Mysteries, Tony Harrison’s Yorkshire-dialect verse version of the medieval biblical playlets performed by crafts guilds from York, Wakefield, Chester and Coventry.
Easter TV this year kicks off with a fascinating documentary on Maundy Thursday (Bronx To Bradford: Friars On A Mission, BBC1, 10.45 p.m.) about the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, who were founded by eight Capuchin priest friars in New York in 1987.
Finding, in theatre listings, one play about cross-generational relationships and another about the last day of school, you might think that such subject matter has already been over-done. So the question raised by two new productions is: to what extent can innovative staging reinvigorate familiar material?
The treasures of Rome, I’ve discovered while living here, are often best enjoyed if you simply allow them to reveal themselves to you, rather than approaching them with a sightseer’s bucket list. So often in this city I’ve gone in search of a particular piece of art only to find myself dazzled by something else; I open one door, only to find another three waiting.
Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1881 operetta fits nicely with our idea of the librettist as old curmudgeon: a grumpy satire on willowy, long-haired young men mincing about London being intense and arty, and turning the heads of idiotic girls. Naturally, the “poets” in question turn out to be frauds of the first water, motivated by pure self-love.
The word “robot” was first used in 1920; but when Science Museum curator Ben Russell started to research the history of humanoid machines for the current blockbuster exhibition, he discovered something he was not expecting. The first creator of these objects, he found, was the Catholic Church. The year was around 1560; the place, a monastery – probably in Spain.
Imagine that, in the week after the European Union referendum, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy had published verses in which the symbolic figure of Britannia reflected on the wildly different responses from different parts of her realm. Such a publication might have ranked among the great literary interventions in politics.
Earlier this year, the death of Sr Frances Carr left only two remaining members of her Shaker religious community, which was established in Maine in 1783. The Shakers being bound to celibacy, renewal by numbers has been a challenge.
Built in the late 1990s, Manchester’s Intu Trafford Centre is an altogether baroque edifice, marble-domed, crammed with allegorical frescos, architectural stylings borrowed from sources as detached from each other as art deco and ancient Egypt and what was, at the time of its installation, the world’s largest chandelier.
It seems a particular cruelty of fate that a country with such a rich cultural heritage as Italy should lie along not one, but two tectonic fault lines. When earthquakes strike, as they did across central Italy last year, the human tragedy is compounded by the loss to history.
Plays sometimes make such an impact that even non-theatregoers will know the title. The 1960s threw up two – Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead – new productions of which opened within 48 hours of each other last week.
Impressions of paradise Premium16 March 2017
Newman’s poetic vision of death was the tumultuous conclusion to Manchester’s four-day Elgar Festival.
Outsize Athena sits magical and mysterious, half-human, half-machine, bolts for her knees and sturdy, chiselled lines on her geometric face. She is a masterpiece by Eduardo Paolozzi, whose work has been assembled at the Whitechapel Gallery in London for a major retrospective (to 14 May).
As the Shakespeare role that actors most want to play conveniently appears in the play that audiences are keenest to see, theatregoers are never far from a Hamlet: Andrew Scott’s attempt on the title role follows those by Benedict Cumberbatch and Paapa Essiedu.
The origins of oratorio are a fascinating episode in the history of music. They lie in St Philip Neri’s progressive, modernising reaction to the Reformation, his followers recognised as the order of the Congregazione dell’Oratorio by Pope Gregory XIII in 1575.
To arrange or not to arrange? Premium02 March 2017 | by Lucy Lethbridge
Not that long ago most marriages in Europe were arrangements made between families rather than individuals. The expectation of a romance bespoke-tailored is recent. Neither approach gives any guarantee of lasting conjugal happiness, but in the congregation of Birmingham Mosque, marriage and family is where tradition and modernity collide.
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