Reviews & features: Issue 583

201 reviews

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La Didone

16 Aug 2007

‘I developed special software for the last couple of pieces,’ says Elizabeth LeCompte, artistic director of New York avant-garders the Wooster Group. ‘Final Cut Pro and Isadora, you know, I was the initial developer.’ Actually, she was nothing of the…

Billy Brag

16 Aug 2007

Billy Bragg was described by The Times as ‘a national treasure’. That particular phrase would surely bring a wry smile to his face, not least because the topic currently vexing the lifelong political campaigner and singer-songwriter is the fundamental…

School of Comedy

16 Aug 2007

In this age of Asbos, hoodies and teenage gang warfare it’s probably illegal to encourage youngsters to swear and be rude in front of adults, but this is exactly what the grown-ups behind School of Comedy plan to do. The show is billed as ‘an adult…

Impressing the Czar

16 Aug 2007

‘You’re going to get really lost,’ predicts Aki Saito, principal dancer with the Royal Ballet of Flanders. She’s talking about the average person’s reaction to William Forsythe’s three-act extravaganza, Impressing the Czar. ‘You won’t know what to…

In control

16 Aug 2007

Samantha Morton

Samantha Morton is in control. The critically lauded, hard working and in-demand British actress plays the long suffering wife of troubled singer of legendary Manchester band Joy Division in the Ian Curtis movie, Control. Fresh from winning the Best…

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Ratatouille

16 Aug 2007

The adventures of an aspiring rodent chef whose gastronomic endeavours make him the toast of Paris is hardly a conventional dish to serve up to audiences. But Pixar’s attention to character and detail has already created such unlikely characters as…

The Elves and the Shoemaker

16 Aug 20075 stars

When it comes to classic tales, The Elves and the Shoemaker is high up on most people’s lists. Just picturing those little elves beavering away, creating tiny shoes, is enough to excite little ones, and send big ones down memory lane. Well you don’t…

Duncan and Wilma Finnigan

16 Aug 2007

Scottish filmmaking

Meet the Finnegans: Duncan and Wilma Finnigan, the John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands of Coatbridge. Scotland’s best kept filmmaking secret. The couple’s films inhabit a strange hinterland between community video amateurishness, Forsythian whimsy and…

Henry Rollins

16 Aug 2007

It’s a wonder Henry Rollins has time to sleep. When the Black Flag legend is not writing books, hosting his own television and radio shows, acting in Hollywood and hopping from gig to gig, he is performing his quick-witted spoken word pieces around the…

Owen Sheers

16 Aug 2007

‘Sitting at a desk talking to myself’ is how poet, novelist, playwright and journalist Owen Sheers defines writing. It seems his desk has served him well. His latest work is a radio play about WWII poet Alun Lewis; and a collaboration with composer…

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Early music

16 Aug 2007

Early music has never been an area that the Edinburgh International Festival has paid much heed to, despite the fact that the genre undoubtedly enjoys a strong following among the music-loving masses. Even commercial radio – Classic FM – has…

Josie does Edinburgh

16 Aug 2007

Two weeks in, The List’s columnist is tired, sick and dreaming of taking hallucinogens in the desert. Other than that, she’s having a ball

The Bacchae

16 Aug 20072 stars

There have been many and varied interpretations of Euripedes’ classic over the years. There’s the conventional reading, contrasting the straight-laced and controlling personality against the sensual hedonist (witness the various productions of the 90s…

Phantom Love

16 Aug 2007

One of the undoubted highlights of this year’s experimental Black Box strand is US filmmaker Nina Menkes’ black and white internationally roaming surreal familial drama Phantom Love. Menkes has been described as one of ‘the most provocative artists…

Mother and the Addicts

16 Aug 2007

After 13 years of stellar service to the indie scene, Chemikal Underground are throwing a party to celebrate their 100th release. Well, if you’d introduced the world to new music by acts such as Mogwai, Arab Strap, The Delgados, Bis and Aereogramme…

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Edinburgh International Film Festival moves to June

16 Aug 2007

After 60 years at the forefront of the biggest show on earth, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has announced plans to go it alone. From next year, the EIFF will be held in June rather than August with the rest of the Edinburgh…

IS THIS ABOUT SEX?

16 Aug 20074 stars

Christian O’Reilly’s contemporary sex farce isn’t a lot more than the kind of piece we saw from Brian Rix in the 70s, which, in those days, attracted pop cultural phrases like ‘adult’ and ‘sophisticated’. Even so, it contrives to be amusing from end to…

Romeo and Juliet

16 Aug 20074 stars

Having finally got over Baz Luhrmann’s version, it feels like we can move on to a new approach to this popular, if flawed, old Shakespearean standby. If Peter Meineck’s version for Aquila doesn’t quite make for a new ‘standard’, it certainly…

Hamlet Solo

16 Aug 20075 stars

To do justice to Hamlet is no easy task, but to render the Danish play as a one man performance is almost laughable in its ambition. There is, of course, the obvious novelty value to witnessing Hamlet being performed by one man. But Hamlet Solo is far…

Marina Lewycka

16 Aug 2007

Marina Lewycka’s debut A History of Tractors in Ukrainian won over hearts and minds with a witty and largely autobiographical tale of a long settled immigrant family clashing over the encroaching senility of its obsessive and stubbornly romantic head.

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POPPEA

16 Aug 20075 stars

One of the most powerful leaders in the world abuses his position by having an affair and ignoring the will of the people – it’s a concept as familiar today as it was 2000 years ago for the Romans, on whose machinations Claudio Monteverdi based his…

Jason Manford

16 Aug 20074 stars

Too much success early on in a career can be a double-edged sword. Jason Manford first came to attention two years ago with an inspired, Perrier-nominated debut in which he exploded various urban myths and apocryphal tales. As a fan of that auspicious…

Mark Watson

16 Aug 20074 stars

Mark Watson deserves his moment. Having proved to be one of the true innovators on the Fringe with his marathon comedy sessions, off-the-cuff novel writing and participation in daft quizzes, his solo hour of stand-up has grown in stature and scope in…

Richard Long: Walking and Marking

16 Aug 20074 stars

Even at 60, Richard Long is a towering, physical man. He has trekked across the Sahara, Lapland, and the Himalayas, crossed Ireland in 12 days and lost himself in the Gobi desert and the Norwegian wilderness. For the past 40 years Long has been making…

Jim Jeffries

16 Aug 20075 stars

You may consider yourself not easily offended. You may feel that nothing shocks you, and that there is nothing left to say that is truly controversial or distasteful. If this is the case consider yourself well and truly wrong. Since his appearance at…