Arts feature

Portrait of a director

Mark Glazebrook talks to Sandy Nairne, who explains why the NPG is part of the life of London David Piper, director of the National Portrait Gallery 1964–67, was a brilliant historian and museum director who, while writing a book called The English Face, found that there’s no such thing. It vanished like the smile on

In tune with poetry

Henrietta Bredin talks to Ian Bostridge about his passion for Lieder and his plans for the future On an eye-wateringly bright and freezing cold day, Ian Bostridge contrives to look svelte and leggily elegant despite the fact that he confesses to wearing a thick layer of thermal underwear next to the skin. As soon as

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Art for the masses

Alexander Rodchenko: Revolution in Photography Hayward Gallery, until 27 April There’s a whole separate exhibition in the downstairs galleries of the Hayward. It’s called Laughing in a Foreign Language and is supposed to explore the role of laughter and humour in contemporary art through the work of 30 so-called international artists. As an exhibition, it’s

Aural danger

The Guardian had an interesting — and, frankly, terrifying — piece the other day by Nick Coleman, the Independent’s long-serving and shamelessly cerebral rock critic. I used to know Nick slightly: we talked drivel on the same radio show for a while a dozen years ago, and he wrote a piece about my first cricket

Family at war | 27 February 2008

Margot at the Wedding Nationwide, 15 Margot at the Wedding is one of those unsettling and bothersome films which will bother and unsettle you during, afterwards and possibly for much of the next day, like a flea in the ear. If this is your sort of film, then you will like it and if you

Coward tribute

Brief Encounter The Cinema Haymarket The Homecoming Almeida Under the Eagle White Bear Bit of a spoiled brat, the Cinema Haymarket. Can’t decide what it wants. Originally built as a theatre, it defected to the movies for many years but having tired of hosting popcorn blockbusters it’s now receiving plays again. Lovely auditorium, though. Wide

Dead end

Salome Royal Opera House Salome Royal Opera House What is a producer, or, as they more often like to be called these days, director, to do if he is asked to produce/direct a work about which he has no interesting ideas and none comes along during the production process, and the invitation comes from a

Compare and contrast

Flight London Coliseum Flight London Coliseum Ballet galas might be the dream of every spectacle-craving balletomane, but they can easily become a nightmarishly boring series of ‘party pieces’ if they are not properly organised. Luckily, this is not the case when a company such as Ensemble Production takes over, as demonstrated by a number of

Seeking redemption

The Lady’s Not For Spurning (BBC4, Monday) was ostensibly about Margaret Thatcher and the baleful influence she had on the Conservative party after 1990. It was actually about Michael Portillo’s long quest for redemption. This has been going on since May 1997, when he lost his seat. As he pointed out in this documentary, which

Wild life | 27 February 2008

Only this column would persuade me to get up at 6.30 on a Sunday morning. Six-thirty! In my other life I pore over the collected works of the 18th-century writer Dr Johnson, who constantly struggled to persuade himself out of bed before noon. He liked the idea of early rising, and each New Year resolved