Arts reviews

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Grandfather’s footsteps

12 February 2011 12:00 am

In the good old days, when Hackney still had a proper swimming pool, I used to do lengths every morning with an old boy called Bob.

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Subtle approach

12 February 2011 12:00 am

Those who believe that ballet today is often no more than a grotesque physical display ought to have seen American Ballet Theatre’s performance of Jardin aux Lilas last week.

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Expert witness

12 February 2011 12:00 am

Recent events in Egypt have exposed not just the chasms in our understanding of what’s been going on in the countries of the Middle East, but also the effects of changes in how the BBC is spending the licence fee on reporting ‘fast-breaking’ stories.

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Enlightened patronage

12 February 2011 12:00 am

Alberto Della Ragione (1892–1973) was a naval engineer from Genoa with a passion for music, poetry and the visual arts; he also had the collecting bug.

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Deriding Donizetti

12 February 2011 12:00 am

Someone should write an opera about a once-great opera company, now in artistically suicidal decline.

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Reality check

22 January 2011 12:00 am

Horizon (BBC2, Monday) asked, ‘What is reality?’ and didn’t really have an answer.

Writerly magic

22 January 2011 12:00 am

A frock that shocks, a terror-filled red coat and diamonds of seductive power are all promised next week in an alluring late-night series on Radio 3 (produced by Duncan Minshull).

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Gender problems

22 January 2011 12:00 am

It’s sometimes intriguing to speculate, as you go to an opera in a fringe production of one kind or another, about how much messing around (used neutrally) this or that popular work can take.

Still life

22 January 2011 12:00 am

Ballet is a dying art, according to Jennifer Homans’s bestselling history of ballet, Apollo’s Angels.

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Non-stop larks

22 January 2011 12:00 am

Gently does it. The Fitzrovia Radio Hour takes us back to the droll and elegant world of light entertainment in the 1940s when the airwaves were full of racy detective shows and overheated melodramas about pushy Yorkshiremen and rogue Nazis.

Cruel cuts

15 January 2011 12:00 am

You might be forgiven for thinking that the cuts to broadcasting have already been implemented, with nothing but Mozart on Radio 3 and the Bible on Radio 4 on Sunday.

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Witch craft

15 January 2011 12:00 am

Is Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel an opera for children of all ages, or for grown-ups and for children, or mainly for grown-ups? I went to the Royal Opera’s revival of it just after Christmas, to a 12.30 matinée (there were several), which I took to be for the benefit of children, as well as possibly being an unusual piece of thoughtfulness about transport on the part of the management.

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Forgotten laughter

8 January 2011 12:00 am

The Radio Times now lists 72 channels, and that’s not all of them.

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Film: Farewell to arm

8 January 2011 12:00 am

Unless you’ve been living under a rock — in which case, keep it to yourself; I’m done with rocks — you’ll have already heard about 127 Hours.

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Twin peaks

8 January 2011 12:00 am

It’s that time of year. The great reckoning is upon us. Insurance is being renewed. Tax returns are being ferreted out. Roofing jobs are being appraised and budgeted for. And spouses are being trundled into central London for the annual session of dialysis at the theatre.

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Death watch

8 January 2011 12:00 am

Although I stopped watching TV some years ago, films are a continuing solace and pleasure.

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Whine merchants

8 January 2011 12:00 am

Some albums you love instantaneously, others you have to work at.

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Gardens: Beguiled by olive trees

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Fashion may be Folly’s child, but that never stopped gardeners, when the urge was on them, from planting something à la mode.

Top of the pops

18 December 2010 12:00 am

The most watched programme on British television this year was the special live edition of EastEnders, broadcast in February to mark the soap’s 25th anniversary.

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Unsung poets

18 December 2010 12:00 am

We might actually be glad of the time difference over in Australia this Christmas, so that we can switch on to Aggers and co.

A golden age

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Was there a golden age of English music a hundred years ago? From today’s vantage-point there probably was.

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The long march

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Peter Weir’s The Way Back tells the story of a group of escapees from a 1940 Siberian gulag who walked across Siberia, Mongolia, Tibet and the Himalayas to freedom in British India, a journey of 12 months and 4,000 miles, and a journey that will bring into sharp focus the domitability of your own crappy spirit, particularly if you always take the bus two stops up the hill, as I do.

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All over the place

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Deceptively attractive. Romeo and Juliet tempts directors and leads them on while keeping all its false doors and secret pitfalls out of view.

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Interview: Goodies’ triple triumph

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Here in HMV on London’s Oxford Street, three comedians are signing autographs.

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Culture notes

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Hush: it’s secret