Get Carter | 1 February 2018

Das Rheingold at the Royal Festival Hall was, all told, a disappointment, but it might not have been had there been one or two more rehearsals, and a replacement of one of the singers. Vladimir Jurowski plans to perform the whole Ring cycle in due course with the LPO, but he needs to remember that

Arts feature

The right stuff | 1 February 2018

Geoff Norcott is lean, talkative, lightly bearded and intense. Britain’s first ‘openly Conservative’ comedian has benefited enormously from the Brexit vote and he’s popular with television producers who need a right-wing voice to balance out the left-leaning bias of most TV output. ‘It’s funny meeting TV types,’ he tells me. ‘They say, “We really want


Drivel time

The NT’s new production, John, is by a youngish American playwright, Annie Baker. We Brits tend to assume that ‘john’ is American for ‘toilet’ so perhaps lavatorial treats are in store. The setting is a provincial hotel run by a blithering old dear whose only guests are two grumbling yuppies with marriage problems. The plot


Friends reunited | 1 February 2018

Perhaps you missed the fuss because there has been so little publicity about it. But last week, at Davos, the President of the United States was granted the extraordinary privilege of an audience with Britain’s leading interviewer, media communicator and cultural icon, the David Frost de nos jours Piers Morgan. On Sunday night we finally


The bigger picture | 1 February 2018

Walking around the Andreas Gursky exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, I struggled to recall what these huge photographs reminded me of. Gursky has built a career on colossal, panoramic pictures of subjects that are extremely ordinary — the view from a departure lounge of the empty runway at Schiphol airport, for example. Or, yet more


Power dressing

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread is a lush psychosexual drama starring Daniel Day-Lewis as a pampered, tyrannical, pernickety 1950s couturier whose life is disrupted when he falls for a waitress who, in the most unexpected way, proves his match. It is a wonderfully fixating film in every respect, and wholly non-formulaic. And it miraculously transforms


Self discovery

It’s a pity Will Self didn’t embark on his bus tour round Britain before the Brexit vote. If he had, we might have all had a better understanding of what’s going on in the shires. In his series of ten short programmes on Radio 4, Great British Bus Journey (produced by Laurence Grissell), Self sets