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Saturday Review


Sharp, critical discussion of the week's cultural events

Sharp, critical discussion of the week's cultural events
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London, United Kingdom




Sharp, critical discussion of the week's cultural events




Red, On Chesil Beach, A Very English Scandal, The Aviator, Teeth at The Wellcome

Alfred Molina plays artist Mark Rothko in Red at London's Haymarket Theatre Ian McEwan has adapted his own novel On Chesil Beach for the big screen, starring Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle as newlyweds whose wedding night nuptials are complicated by memories and misunderstandings The story of the scandal of 1970s Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe and his apparent homosexual affair with male model Norman Scott is now a TV series starring Hugh Grant. A Very English Scandal is written by...


Anon, Life and Fate, Patrick Melrose, Jesmyn Ward: Sing Unburied Sing, Asterix at London's Jewish Museum

Is a world without crime a utopia or a dystopia if the price is total constant surveillance by the state? British thriller Anon is set in a world where wanting to be anonymous makes you the subject of society's suspicions. It stars Clive Owen as a detective investigating gruesome murders. Russian theatre director Lev Dodin's production of Vasily Grossman's novel Life and Fate comes to the UK for a very limited run Benedict Cumberbatch stars in David Nicholl's adaptation of the Patrick...


Jason Reitman's Tully, Mood Music, Rachel Cusk, Perspective at RIBA, BBC4 Dance Season

Jason Reitman's new film Tully stars Charlize Theron as a mom coping with pressures of modern motherhood and at the edge of her sanity until a night nanny appears and everything seems to be looking up Mood Music is Joe Penhall's newest play which has just opened at London's Old Vic Theatre. It deals with the tricky business of the music biz and who can be credited with the success of a hit song. Whee there's a hit, there's a writ Rachel Cusk's novel Kudos is the third part in her trilogy...


Beast, The Writer, Curtis Sittenfeld, Rodin and the art of ancient Greece, The Rain

British film Beast, set on Jersey observes a dark and complicated relationship between a troubled young woman and a local man suspected of committing ghastly crimes The Writer is Ella Hickson's new play at London's Almeida Theatre. Does the patriarchy work against the interests and power of women writers? Curtis Sittenfeld's collection of short stories You Think It, I'll Say It, covering subjects including unhappily married couples to happily unmarried couples, revenge and a female...


Tina Turner, Let The Sunshine In, Aminatta Forna, Colourising historical photographs, The Woman In White

Let The Sunshine In, directed by Claire Denis is a French film starring Juliette Binoche as a divorced Parisienne dealing with love and looking for a relationship that will work for her The latest West End jukebox musical Tina is about the tumultuous life of Tina Turner and her transformation from Anna Mae Bullock - born into rural poverty in the Southern USA - into half of Ike-and-Tina-Turner and a disastrous violent marriage into a world-conquering solo superstar Aminatta Forna's new...


Quiz, Custody, Lost in Space, Nikesh Shukla, Surface Work

Quiz is the latest play from James Graham. Its subject matter is the edition of Who Wants To be A Millionaire in which a lot of coughing went on. We the audience are asked to vote on whether we think the major is guilty or not of trying to beat the system. French film Custody is a searing and unflinching look at a disintegrating marriage and the emotional and psychological consequences on all those in the family 1960's sci-fi TV series Lost In Space is returning. And this time it's on...


Thoroughbreds, The Way of the World, Richard Powers, City in the City, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Black comedy thriller film Thoroughbreds is about 2 American teenage girls who hatch a plot to kill one of their step-fathers. Is it easier to hire an assassin or do it themselves? And will emotions get in the way of such a potentially messy business? Congreve's The Way Of The World at London's Donmar Warehouse is a restoration comedy. But how funny can one make a wildly convoluted 300 year old plot about inheritance funny for today's theatre goers? Richard Powers' latest novel is The...


Isle of Dogs, The Inheritance, To Throw Away Unopened, Hope to Nope

The American auteur Wes Anderson's new stop motion animation feature film "Isle of Dogs" is set in a dystopian future Japan and features the voices of Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Greta Gerwig, Scarlet Johansson and Edward Norton - as dogs marooned in a garbage dump called Trash island. This is Anderson's second animation after his adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox, and tells the story of 12 year old run away Atari on a mission to save his dog, Spots, after a deadly dog flu virus...


A Wrinkle In Time, The Great Wave, Philip Hensher, Come Home (BBC1), America's Cool Modernism

Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kayling star as deities who are millions of years old in the £108m mega-budget film: A Wrinkle In Time. It's a story which mixes physics, time travel, female empowerment, and bullying at school. Does the presence of Oprah et al make it divine or dreadful? The Great Wave is a new play by Japanese Ulsterman Francis Turnly about the kidnapping in the 1970s of Japanese citizens by the North Korean authorities. Some returned, others were (and maybe...


Frankenstein in Manchester, Palme d'Or winner The Square, The Immortalists, Tacita Dean, Annihilation

A new theatrical adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at The Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre aims to be one of the most faithful versions to the original novel. What does this add to our understanding of the play and of the Creature? This year's Palme d'Or winning film The Square, is a Swedish satirical drama dealing with the world of contemporary art and our personal boundaries and responsibilities. Chloe Benjamin's latest novel 'The Immortalists' follows the lives of a group of...


Sweet Country, High Society at Rijksmuseum, Macbeth at National, Wendy Cope, David Byrne

Australian film Sweet Country is an Australian Western set in the 1920s - can there be justice when an aboriginal man kills a white farmer in self defence. High Society is a new exhibition at The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam - a series of life-size portraits from the masters of art history from Rembrandt to Manet and Velasquez. The National Theatre's latest production stars Rory Kinnear and Anne Marie Duff in Macbeth. Wendy Cope's first collection of poetry in 7 years is Anecdotal Evidence...


Fanny and Alexander, The Nile Hilton Incident, Toby Litt, Minimalism, Cross Dressing

Fanny and Alexander opens at London's Old Vic Theatre. Adapted from Ingmar Bergman's award-winning 1982 film, how well does such a sumptuous film transfer to the stage? Also coming from Sweden is our film this week (well, to be more accurate, it's a Swedish/German/Egyptian co-production). The Nile Hilton Incident tells the true story of an Egyptian policeman investigating the death of a nightclub singer in Cairo, as The Arab Spring is beginning. But the justice system seems intent on...


Dark River, The B*easts, BBC TV's Civilisations, Fire Sermon, Pop! Art in Chichester

Ruth Wilson stars in British film Dark River; a tragedy about a family coping with death on a rundown farm in Yorkshire, The B*easts at London's Bush Theatre is an exploration of the pornification of culture and the sexualisation of children. Kenneth Clark's landmark 1969 BBC TV series Civilisation explored the history of Western art, architecture and philosophy since the Dark Ages. It's now been remade as Civilisations. Fire Sermon is a novel by Jamie Quatro about a mother devoted to her...


Lady Bird, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Kettle's Yard, Howard Brenton: The Shadow Factory, Troy

Greta Gerwig's latest film stars Saoirse Ronan. Lady Bird has been Oscar-nominated but will it impress our panel of reviewers? Alfred Döblin's 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz is considered one of the finest novels ever written. How does a brand new translation improve it? For more than 35 years, Kettle's Yard in Cambridge was the home of Jim and Helen Ede and they opened it to the public allowing everyone to enjoy their art collection. Following 2 years of closure and a multi-million...


Collateral, Loveless, Gundog, Catapult, T-Shirt: Cult-Culture-Subversion

David Hare's first episodic television drama Collateral is a BBC and Netflix co production starring Carey Mulligan, John Simm, and Billie Piper. Set in contemporary London it explores the challenges posed by mass migration as a result of war, poverty and persecution. Hare references ground breaking television such as Cathy Come Home, The Boys From The Blackstuff and A Very British Coup as inspiration: will Collateral prove as innovative and as game changing? Winner of the Jury Prize at...


Journey's End, Julius Caesar, Julian Barnes, Charles I at the Royal Academy, Trauma on ITV

Journey's End opened as a play in 1928. Set in the trenches of the First World War, there's a new film version which will hold a different resonance for modern viewers as for those theatre-goers 90 years ago . The horrors of war never really change, how do artists successfully interpret it anew? The latest production at London's Bridge Theatre is of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. There have been a lot of recent productions -what do our reviewer think makes this one special? Julian Barnes new...


Peter Carey, Gursky, Last Flag Flying, John, Altered Carbon

Peter Carey's novel A Long Way From Home tells the story of a husband and wife taking part in a round-Australia endurance race in the 1950s The Hayward Gallery in London reopens after a multi-million pound refit with an exhibition of work by the photographer Andreas Gursky. Giant photographs on brutalist walls Richard Linklater's film Last Flag Flying is about three Vietnam veterans who come together to bury a son who has died in the conflict in Iraq. It stars Laurence Fishburne, Brian...


Coco, Tim Pears, All's Well That Ends Well, Hauser and Wirth Somerset, The Bastard of Istanbul

Disney Pixar's latest release is their first with an all-Latin cast. Coco explores the Mexican tradition of The Day of The Dead and a young boy's coming to terms with his heritage The new novel from Tim Pears is the second in his proposed trilogy. The Wanderers is the story of two young people in pre-WW1 England and the horses that are part of their lives All's Well That Ends Well has opened at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at London's Globe Theatre Hauser and Wirth Somerset has opened a new...


Rita, Sue and Bob Too; 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri; Lily Tuck; History In The Making; Britannia

The controversy surrounding London's Royal Court Theatre's staging of Andrea Dunbar's semi-autobiographical play Rita Sue and Bob Too led to it being postponed and then rapidly reinstated. Written in 1982 when she was 19, can it now be seen as a period piece? 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is a darkly comic film starring Frances McDormand, written produced and directed by Martin McDonagh Lily Tuck is a winner of The National Book Award in the USA. Her latest novel Sisters imagines a...


Digital arts: Crown Heights, The Boat, Google Cultural Institute, The Miniaturists

A digital edition of Saturday Review presented by Antonia Quirke. Crown Heights is a new on-demand film based on an episode of NPR's This American Life, telling the true story of Trinidadian teenager Colin Warner's twenty year wrongful incarceration. The Miniaturists takes a long-running short play night and turns it into a podcast with five new short plays from up and coming British playwrights. The reviewers explore the world's greatest and strangest museums, galleries and monuments with...


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