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London Reviews

Shukshin’s Stories – Barbican Theatre, London

Writer: Vasiliy Shukshin  Director: Alvis Hermanis Reviewer: Gus Mitchell Russia is not a country primarily known for its humour. Even its most famous ‘comic’ playwright (Chekhov) wrote primarily of wasted and frustrated lives, lost, lonely individuals, and the universal pity of our self-delusions. It was with great interest and a slight wariness, then, that I sat down for Shukshin’s Stories, ...

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London Film Festival 2019 – Le Mans ’66

Writers: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller and James Mangold Director: James Mangold Reviewer: Richard Maguire Gaskets blow, brakes fail and loyalties are tested in this exciting history of how Ford pitched itself against Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans, the 24-hour sports car race. Featuring heavyweights Matt Damon and Christian Bale, Le Mans ’66 has all the makings of ...

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London Film Festival 2019 -Waiting for the Barbarians

Writer: J.M. Coetzee Director: Ciro Guerra Reviewer: Maryam Philpott Humans have always been afraid of otherness, somewhere beyond the frontier there are wild creatures waiting to ensnare us. Just who are the monsters is a concept that fills literature and popular culture, from Orwell and Atwood to Dr Who and now J.M. Coetzee. The notion that true barbarism is the ...

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London Film Festival 2019 – The Song of Names

Writer: Jeffrey Caine Director: François Girard Reviewer: Richard Maguire In the 1990s, François Girard directed and co-wrote Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, a game changer for both biopics and movies about music. In comparison his new film, The Song of Names, based on the novel by Norman Lebrecht, lacks verve and experimentation. Its story of a man trying ...

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London Film Festival 2019 – The Two Popes

Writer:  Anthony McCarten Director: Fernando Meirelles Reviewer: Maryam Philpott Jonathan Pryce has rather cornered the market in famous Argentinians, where he was once Juan Peron to Madonna’s Evita, now he’s playing the most powerful man in religion, the Pope in Fernando Meirelles’ new film The Two Popes. Written by Anthony McCarten based on his own play from 2017, the movie ...

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London Film Festival 2019 – The Aeronauts

Writers:  Tom Harper and Jack Thorne Director: Tom Harper Reviewer: Maryam Philpott When Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones joined forces in 2014 for The Theory of Everything, it was Redmayne who had the best of it, winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking. In Tom Harper’s new film The Aeronauts it is Jones who takes the laurels with ...

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Velvet – Above the Stag Theatre, London

Writer and performer: Tom Ratcliffe Director: Andrew Twyman “Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington” Noël Coward advised famously, but he could well have added “not your son either”. Tom Ratcliffe’s hour-long monologue, first seen at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, maps out some of the pitfalls awaiting young actors who are trying to make it in their ...

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Islander – Southwark Playhouse, London

Book: Stewart Melton Director: Amy Draper Music and Lyrics: Finn Anderson Reviewer: Karl O'Doherty An exciting burst of sound, folklore and danger tells the story of an island under threat, about to be torn apart for the second time in its history. Blending reality and mythic fantasy, the musical calls back to a time when stories and imagination were the ...

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