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Lloyd Evans

Conquests and coffins

On Tuesday Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor take on Othello at the Donmar. If the show hasn’t sold out already, it soon will. Doubtless the starry cast will help shift a lot of tickets but so will the play’s peculiar ‘self-rationing’ effect. Of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies, Othello is the least often revived. The play

Sex with no appeal

What has come to be known as the Sex Show at the Barbican has received mixed reports. Some people dismiss it out of hand (and unseen) while others profess to enjoy it immensely. One painter I know loved it, but then he is a voyeur both by profession and inclination. I approached it with an

Blast from the past

Percy Wyndham Lewis 1882–1957, Design Centre, Rugby School, until 8 December In the 1915 Vorticist Manifesto, published in the movement’s magazine Blast, Wyndham Lewis (he dropped Percy) wrote: Lewis is one of them, as this first-rate exhibition at his alma mater — he was a pupil for two years from 1897 — amply demonstrates. It

Last farewells

Just outside Florence’s city walls, marooned in the middle of a huge great ring road, lies a foreign field that is for ever England. Well, it’s really for ever Switzerland. The English Cemetery of Florence is owned by the Swiss Reformed Evangelical Church and is officially called the Protestant Cemetery of Florence. But, because the

Compare and contrast

‘We have introduced an artificial and theatrical music into the church, a bawling and agitation of various voices …Amorous and lascivious melodies are heard such as elsewhere accompany only the dances of courtesans and clowns.’ ‘The singers wanted to overshout each other, they were frequently out of tune, the sound uneven, the conducting without any

Present thoughts

’Tis the season to be cheerful, especially if you like shopping. Which, obviously, as a heterosexual white middle-class male in his forties with no money, I don’t much, unless it’s for books or CDs. But at this time of year those of us of a non-shopping persuasion must bury our prejudices, venture out into the

Shine on you crazy diamond

The ambulance creeps to a halt outside the Brixton Academy at 9.15 on the evening of Amy Winehouse’s second London gig on Friday and is greeted with a ripple of excitement by the crowd. ‘She’s arrived’ is the whisper through the queue. And whether by this means or another, Amy does indeed arrive, beetling on

Traditional fare

As the holiday season is all but upon us, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on Christmas movies of the past and the standards that have been set. There was one called Jingle All the Way that I liked very much indeed. It was about a man of foreign heritage who spoke

Good humour, bad taste

L’Elisir d’amore; Das Wunder del Heliane After not seeing Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore for years, I went to two new productions of it in five days. The Glyndebourne one, which I reported on last week, is admirable, but the Royal Opera production is in some ways better still. That surprised me, because the director is Laurent

Lunatics at large

The Dysfunckshonalz!; Some Kind of Bliss; William Blake’s Divine Humanity The spirit of punk and its exhilarating lunacies are brilliantly captured in a new show at the Bush. Mike Packer’s affectionate satire tells the story of The Dysfunckshonalz, a major punk band of 1977, who 30 years on are approached by an American bank eager

Radical prophet

It’s not what you think, we were warned by Jenny Uglow, the far-seeing biographer of Hogarth and Elizabeth Gaskell. Those ‘dark Satanic mills’ and ‘mountains green’ of William Blake’s epic poem were never intended as an anthem in praise of England’s democratic virtues. Blake was neither a conservative, nor nostalgic for an imaginary golden past.

Royal treatment | 1 December 2007

On the very night that Monarch: The Royal Family at Work (BBC1, Monday) was being broadcast whom should I bump into at the Pen International quiz at the Café Royal in the queue for the coats but Stephen Lambert. Lambert, you may remember, was the head of the independent production company RDF who personally edited