Arts

Arch enemies: Euston Arch (left), torn down to make way for London’s most miserable train station (right)

Should Euston Arch be raised from the dead?

Arts feature

Yes   William Cook Rejoice! Rejoice! Fifty-four years after its destruction, Euston Arch has returned to Euston. Well, after a fashion. Four blocks from this lost portico, salvaged from a murky river bed in east London, have been deposited outside… Read more

Chichu Art Museum, Naoshima. Photo: Fujitsuka Mitsumasa

Welcome to Japan’s best kept cultural secret: an art island with an underground museum

Arts feature

In his introductory remarks to the Afro–Eurasian Eclipse, one of his later suites for jazz orchestra, Duke Ellington remarked — this was in 1971 — that east and west were blending into one another, and everyone was in danger of… Read more

Much compared to a photocopier: Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum

Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum is very good news - for the Met

Museums

About six years ago the first section of the now celebrated High Line was opened in New York and made a palpable hit both locally and internationally. Locally it revealed what one might have guessed, that the inhabitants of Manhattan’s… Read more

Scapegoat for all of urban life’s ills: Le Corbusier, c.1950

How dedicated a fascist was Le Corbusier?

Architecture

The ‘revelations’, 50 years after he drowned, that Le Corbusier was a ‘fascist’ and an anti-Semite are neither fresh nor startling. Indeed they’re old hat. And it defies credibility that the authors of three recent books about this tainted genius… Read more

Christian Thielemann leading the Staatskapelle Dresden  (Photo: Getty)

What really happened in the Berlin Philharmonic election

Music

The morning after the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra failed to elect a music director, I took a call from Bild-Zeitung, Berlin’s most popular tabloid, seeking analysis. Later, they asked me to write a full-page op-ed. Now shut your eyes a moment… Read more

She makes Medusa look like a dinner lady: Kate Fleetwood as Tracy Lord in ‘High Society’

Fine production of a painful play: Death of a Salesman at the Noel Coward reviewed

Theatre

Here come the Yanks. As the summer jumbos disgorge their cargoes of wealthy, courteous, culture-hungry Americans, the West End prepares to bag a fortune. Death of a Salesman is just the kind of timeless post-war classic that Americans adore, isn’t… Read more

Thousands of protesters gather for an anti-war demonstration in New York, 2003

We Are Many reviewed: does anyone think this anti-Iraq War film will change anything?

Cinema

Big-screen documentaries never change the world. Blackfish has not shortened the queues to see maltreated killer whales leap through hoops at SeaWorld. Super Size Me reduced neither the all-American waistline nor the profit margin of McDonald’s. The Cove did not… Read more

Peter Pan (Photo: Clive Barda)

Half-brilliant, half-bewildering: Peter Pan at Welsh National Opera reviewed

Opera

In Beryl Bainbridge’s novel An Awfully Big Adventure the producer Meredith Potter issues a doughty injunction on the subject of staging Peter Pan: ‘I am not qualified to judge whether the grief his mother felt on the death of his… Read more

The Royal Ballet: Woolf Works (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Rapture - and loathing: Woolf Works at the Royal Ballet reviewed

Dance

People have been saying that Wayne McGregor’s new Woolf Works has reinvented the three-act ballet, but not so. William Forsythe reinvented the three-act ballet 20 years ago with Eidos: Telos, a mesmerising masterpiece that I found myself recalling as I… Read more

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, BBC1

A bit silly: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell reviewed

Television

BBC One’s 2015 choice of Sunday-night drama series is beginning to resemble the career of the kind of Hollywood actor who alternates between reliable crowd-pleasers and more eccentric personal projects. The year started with the return of the much-loved Last… Read more

Prof. Sunil Khilnani (Photo: Getty)

The history of India in 50 personalities

Radio

The idea of using objects — salt, cod, nutmeg, silk — to turn history lessons into something popular and accessible has been around for at least a generation. It’s a great way to avoid complicated chronologies and the need to… Read more

One of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s Scots pines in the French Pavilion

Martin Gayford finds a few nice paintings amid the dead trees, old clothes and agitprop of the Venice Biennale

Arts feature

At the start of Canto XXI of the ‘Inferno’, Dante and Virgil look down on the pit of Malebolge, the Eighth Circle of Hell, in which sinners guilty of simony, hypocrisy and graft are punished. The last of those spend… Read more

Jackie Mason at the Hollywood Palace in 1964: ‘A good comedian must tell the truth’

Jackie Mason reveals the secret of stand-up: avoid fried food

Arts feature

A lot of people ask what it takes to be a stand-up comic — I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no idea. What I do know is that whatever it is, a lot of people love to think they’ve either… Read more

Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Do you see me laughing? Mike Leigh’s Pirates of Penzance at the ENO reviewed

Opera

Forget the pollsters and political pundits — English National Opera called it first and called it Right when it programmed Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance to open just days after the general election. Who else is the target… Read more

Seeking a berth in Valhalla: Nicholas Hoult as Nux in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Mad Max: Fury Road reviewed - your inner 12-year-old will be in heaven

Cinema

No one goes slack-jawed in wonder at the movies any more. In our cyber-enabled times, kid designers can mega-pixelate any old apocalypse on to the screen of your local Imax. It puts the new Mad Max in a strange relationship… Read more

The Angry Brigade

Merchant of Venice at the Globe reviewed: a tip-top production - and a high quality script too

Theatre

If Julian, Dick, George and Anne had become terrorists they’d have called themselves The Angry Brigade. It’s such a Wendy house name. The quartet of violent outcasts met in a Camden squat in the late Sixties and moved to Stoke… Read more

Spirited, indomitable and proud: matriarch Julie Young

Benefits Street reviewed: if anyone’s being exploited, it’s the taxpayers, says James Delingpole

Television

My favourite scene in the first episode of the new series of Benefits Street (Mondays, Channel 4) — now relocated to a housing estate in the north-east, but otherwise pretty much unchanged — was the one where the street’s resident… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

What happened to the children who survived the Holocaust?

Radio

‘I call Zelma Cacik who may be living in London,’ says the announcer, in the clipped RP accent of the BBC in the 1940s. ‘I call her on behalf of her 16-year-old cousin…’ The voice betrays no emotion, no feeling,… Read more

heckler

The Heckler: Shakespeare's duds should be struck from the canon

The Heckler

I love Shakespeare. But when he pulls on his wellies and hikes into the forest I yearn for the exit. A Midsummer Night’s Dream has a moonlit, sylvan location populated by a syrupy crew of hectic fairies, humourless bumpkins, panting… Read more

Titanic: Orson Welles as Falstaff in ‘Chimes at Midnight’ (1966)

Don’t believe Orson Welles, says his biographer Simon Callow — especially when he calls himself a failure

Arts feature

Orson Welles would have been 100 this month. When he died in 1985, aged 70, the wonder was that he had lasted so long. His bulk was so immense, his productivity so prodigious in so many areas, his temperament so… Read more

‘Claros’ (woodcut), 2015, by Gillian Ayres

Modernism lite? Modigliani at the Estorick Collection reviewed

Exhibitions

The British painter Nina Hamnett recalled that Modigliani had a very large, very untidy studio. Dangling from the end of his bed was a web inhabited by an enormous spider. ‘He explained that he could not make the bed as… Read more

Chris Rock as Andre Allen alongside Rosario Dawson as Chelsea Brown

Top Five reviewed: Chris Rock hits rock bottom

Cinema

The oeuvre of Chris Rock may not be fully known in this parish. He was the African-American stand-up who made a packet out of saying the unsayable about race. Richard Pryor kicked down the door, but it was Rock who… Read more

'American Buffalo' Play by David Mamet performed at Wyndham's Theatre.London,UK

American Buffalo at Wyndham’s reviewed: ‘magnificent, multicoloured, vast and tragic’

Theatre

David Mamet is Pinter without the Pinteresque indulgences, the absurdities and obscurities, the pauses, the Number 38 bus routes. American Buffalo, from the 1970s, is one of Mamet’s early triumphs. Don is a junkshop owner who believes a customer cheated… Read more

Rosie Kay's 5 Soldiers (Photo: Tim Cross)

Rosie Kay’s 5 Soldiers: brutishly physical and powerfully striking

Dance

In dance, it’s usually the moment the boys start fighting that challenges your suspension of disbelief. Synchronised fencing (MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet), unison goosestepping (Grigorovich’s Spartacus), even the Sharks and Jets in Robbins’s West Side Story, are formation set-pieces designed… Read more

Inside Apollo’s head: designer Steffen Aarfing following Szymanowski’s stage instructions

‘Bewitching’: Krol Roger at the Royal Opera reviewed

Opera

‘What gives your lies such power?’ asks the bewildered Sicilian leader in Szymanowski’s opera Krol Roger. The question is addressed to a charismatic shepherd, on trial for propagating a lascivious new religion of unbridled sensuality. Roger’s wife, Roxana, has already… Read more

And then there were four: One Direction (Photo: Getty)

If One Direction lost one more member, would they be quorate?

Music

Where were you when you heard that Zayn Malik had left One Direction? No, me neither, but as my teenage daughter reports, an entire generation of female youth appears to have been traumatised by the event. Not that she gives… Read more

Cop out: Paul Abbott's latest drama No Offence stars Joanna Scanlan, Alexandra Roach and Elaine Cassidy

Channel 4’s No Offence reviewed: ‘hugely entertaining and wildly unconvincing’

Television

With Clocking Off, Shameless and State of Play among his credits, Paul Abbott is undoubtedly one of the most respected TV writers in Britain. Not even his biggest fans, though, could argue that he’s one of the subtlest. On the… Read more

Prince Alemayehu (Photo: Getty)

This radio programme almost made me like Piers Morgan

Radio

An extraordinary black-and-white photograph of a young black boy taken on the Isle of Wight by Julia Margaret Cameron in 1868 shows him in exotic clothes and a heavy silver-bead necklace, like a chain-of-office or a prisoner’s collar. He looks… Read more