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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




First Man, Modern Couples, The Height of the Storm, Penguin Short Stories, Informer

First Man is a film about astronaut Neil Armstrong's life in the lead-up to the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission. The Modern Couples exhibition at The Barbican Gallery shines a spotlight upon the often under-appreciated partners of artistic geniuses whose contribution to their work and achievements has been hitherto unacknowledged or unknown. Jonathan Price and Eileen Atkins star in The Height Of The Storm, a new play by Florian Zeller translated by Christopher Hampton which has just opened in...


A Star Is Born, Harold Pinter, Javier Marias, Survey at The Jerwood, The Bisexual

The latest reworking of the classic film story of a performer-on-the-wain-being-eclipsed-by-his-protege, A Star Is Born features Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper as the two leads. It has received 5 star reviews all over the place; what will our reviewers make of it? There's a double-bill of Harold Pinter plays; The Lover and The Collection opening in London as part of Pinter At The Pinter. A series of one-act plays at the theatre named after the playwright. Berta Isla is the latest novel from...


Two For Joy, Poet In Da Corner, Sarah Perry, Space Shifters, Maniac/Counterpart

Two For Joy is a British film starring Samantha Morton, Billie Piper and Daniel Mays. a study of family tensions, depression and hope Poet In Da Corner is a play that explores how grime music (and Dizzee rascal's award-winning album Boy In Da Corner in particular) changed the life of a young Mormon girl in Essex who transformed from Deborah Stevenson into Grime MC Debris. It's about how an album can turn your life around. Sarah Perry's 2016 novel The Essex Serpent was a runaway prize-winning...


The Little Stranger, Tosca, Lake Success, Making a New World season, The Cry

Lenny Abrahamson's The Little Stranger, based on the novel by Sarah Waters, is set in the austerity-era Britain of 1948. Domhnall Gleeson is Dr Faraday who is called out to a patient at Hundreds Hall, a country manor where his mother once worked as a housemaid. The Little Stranger also stars Ruth Wilson, Charlotte Rampling and Will Poulter. Giacomo Puccini's Tosca in a new production by Opera North opens at the Grand Theatre in Leeds, directed by Edward Dick, conducted by Antony Hermus and...


Lucky, The Clock, Letters of Sylvia Plath, Trust, An Adventure

Christian Marclay's acclaimed 24 hour video installation The Clock at Tate Modern is a montage of thousands of film and television clips that depict clocks or reference time and operates as a journey both through cinematic history as well as a functioning timepiece. The installation is synchronised to local time wherever it is on display, transforming artificial cinematic time into a sensation of real time inside the gallery. John Carroll Lynch's debut feature Lucky stars Harry Dean Stanton...


The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Humans, Killing Eve, Miriam Toews, I Object

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a new film set in the US in the 90s; Cameron (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) is a teenage lesbian sent to a gay conversion centre but not really motivated to try and change Humans has transferred from an award-winning run on Broadway to The Hampstead Theatre in London. An American family gather together for Thanksgiving supper and all the worries and fears bubble to the surface. But it's not all grim soul-searching Phoebe Waller Bridge is the name behind...


Love's Labour's Lost, Cold War, Black Earth Rising, Pat Barker, Surreal Science

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London is an intimate candle-lit theatre space ideally suited for Shakespeare productions. Their latest is Love's Labour's Lost, played largely as broad comedy... how does it handle the pathos? Polish film Cold War won the Best Director Palme d'Or this year. It's a love story set in Soviet era Poland and the obstacles which make reaching for hope and resolution sometimes seem impossible A new TV drama series co-production from BBCTV and Netflix looks at the...


Copenhagen, The Children Act, All Among The Barley, Extraordinary Rituals, Grayson Perry: Rites of Passage

A revival of Michael Frayn's multi award-winning 1998 play Copenhagen at The Chichester Minerva Theatre. 20 years on from the original production how does it stand up and what does it say to the new audiences? Ian McEwan's novel The Children Act has been adapted for the big screen by Richard Eyre, starring Emma Thompson, Fion Whitehead and Stanley Tucci All Among The Barley is Melissa Harrison's new novel. The Costa and Bailey's nominee explores the rhythms of rural life between The Wars and...


At the Edinburgh Festivals: Beggar's Opera, Maladie de la mort, Midsummer, The Eyes of Orson Welles, Raqib Shaw, Andrew Miller

We're in Edinburgh for the festivals. In venues throughout the city there's a barrage of theatre, cabaret, music, books, kids' shows; something for everyone, . We're reviewing Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord's productions of The Beggar's Opera and La Maladie de la Mort as well as National Theatre Of Scotland's Midsummer. Also Raqib Shaw exhibition; Reinventing The Old Masters. We're discussing Andrew Miller's novel Now We Shall Be Entirely Free and the film The Eyes of Orson Welles. AND...


Under The Tree, Aristocrats, Michael Hughes, Big British Asian Summer, Sabrina

Iceland's film industry is not a big player around the globe, but it does create character-driven small-scale works. Under The Tree is a very dark Icelandic comedy film about what happens when neighbours fall out and civility begins to evaporate. There's a revival of Brian Friel's Aristocrats, a play about a Catholic family on its uppers in Donegal just opened at London's Donmar Warehouse. Michael Hughes new novel, Country, is a re-imagining of The Iliad, set in the sticky lethal politics of...


Sicilian Ghost Story, Othello, Succession, Art in Weimar Germany, Andrew McMillan

Italian film Sicilian Ghost Story is based on a real life kidnapping of the son of a Mafia supergrass The new production of Othello at London's Globe Theatre includes Mark Rylance as Iago HBO's Succession is a new series telling the story of a media empire led by an ageing patriarch which is thrown into confusion when he suffers a brain haemorrhage: which of his children is capable of taking over the responsibilities and pressures of running the company? Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany...


Apostasy, Exit The King, Olivia Laing, Memory Palace, Pride and Prejudice box set

Apostasy is a British film about disfellowship in Jehovah's Witness congregations. How do families cope when their religious beliefs come into conflict with contemporary social mores. London's National Theatre is staging its first production of a play by Eugene Ionesco. Adapted and directed by Patrick Marber, Exit The King stars Rhys Ifans as a monarch who knows he will die before the end of the play. Olivia Laing's first novel Crudo was written in real time in 7 weeks during 2017, recording...


Allelujah!, Clock Dance, Liverpool Biennial 2018, The Receptionist, Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema

Alan Bennett's new play Allelujah! opens at the Bridge Theatre in London directed by Nicholas Hytner, with music by George Fenton and choreography by Arlene Phillips. It stars Deborah Findlay, Rosie Ede, Sacha Dhawan, Manish Gandhi and Simon Williams. The Beth, an old fashioned cradle-to-grave hospital serving a town on the edge of the Pennines, is threatened with closure as part of an NHS efficiency drive. Meanwhile, a documentary crew eager to capture its fight for survival follows the...


Incredibles 2, The Lehman Trilogy, Sacred Games, The Head and the Load, Out of My Head

Incredibles 2 is writer / director Brad Bird's long awaited sequel to the Oscar winning Incredibles (2005). Produced by Pixar Animation Studios the film follows the Parr family as they balance regaining the public's trust of superheroes with their civilian family life, only to face a new foe who seeks to turn the populace against them. The voice cast includes Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell and Samuel L. Jackson. Sam Mendes (Skyfall, King Lear, The Ferryman) returns to the...


Whitney documentary, AM Homes, The Jungle, The Horniman Museum, Picnic at Hanging Rock

There's a new Whitney Houston documentary by Kevin MacDonald. It explores her life her stratospheric successes and her demons which led to her premature death AM Homes has a collection of 13 short stories. Days of Awe explores the heart of contemporary America The Jungle is a play about an Afghan refugee attempting to reach the UK from The Jungle - the unofficial shantytown which emerged in Calais. It's a transfer to London's Playhouse Theatre from a sold-out run at The Young Vic The...


Leave No Trace, Rip It Up, One For Sorrow, Tim Winton, Bedtime Stories For The End Of The World

Leave No Trace is a film about love and survival. A father and daughter living in idyllic remote Oregon woodlands come up against authorities who decide their life can't continue as it has done . Directed by Debra Granik (Winter's Bone) The story of the evolution of Scotland's pop music scene is told in a new exhibition; Rip It Up at The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. One For Sorrow is a new play at London's Royal Court Theatre by Cordelia Lynn, about a family who invite a...


The London Mastaba, Joseph O'Neill's Good Trouble, Shebeen, Arcadia, Japan's Secret Shame

Award winning writer Irish writer Joseph O'Neill's 2008 novel Netherland was endorsed by American President, Barack Obama. Good Trouble is his first collection of short stories. Arcadia, the new film from the BAFTA award-winning Scottish director Paul Wright (whose debut feature For Those in Peril premiered at Cannes in 2013), explores our complex connection to the land we live in. Combining over 100 film clips from the last 100 years and a grand, expressive new score by musicians Adrian...


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Hereditary, Thomas Cole, Daisy Johnson, Snatches on BBC4

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie has been adapted for the stage at London's Donmar Warehouse to mark the centenary of Muriel Sparks' birth There's a new horror film which some critics have been comparing to The Exorcist and other touchstones of the genre; is Hereditary as scary as the publicity would have us believe? London's National Gallery is staging two complementary exhibitions: Eden to Empire looks at the work of Thomas Cole, a Lancashire-born painter who became most famous for his...


My Name is Lucy Barton, Alexander McQueen, Rachel Kushner, Aftermath at Tate Britain, City of Ghosts

My Name is Lucy Barton is a one woman play starring Laura Linney in her London stage debut. At London's Bridge Theatre, it's based on the novel by Elizabeth Strout and directed by Richard Eyre There's a new documentary looking at the life and career of designer Alexander McQueen who died in 2010. It includes interviews with familiar faces and also less-well-known family and friends Rachel Kushner's novel The Mars Room is largely set within the American penal system - it's not a nice place to...


Tartuffe, L'Amant Double, William Trevor, Animals and Us, Get Shorty on TV

A bilingual production of Moliere's Tartuffe at Theatre Royal Haymarket, written by Christopher Hampton and updated to a setting in contemporary Los Angeles sounds like a winning formula. It has had some damning reviews elsewhere in the press; what will our reviewers make of it? Francois Ozon's newest film L'amant Double deals with a Hitchcockian plot line involving twin psychiatrists both treating the same beautiful young woman who is having emotional and relationship problems. They also...