Arts feature

An insidious form of censorship

Dominic Cooke on why we must guard against a self-perpetuating climate of fear and timidity Forty years ago, the Theatres Bill removed from the Lord Chamberlain his centuries-old power to censor the British stage. Under a law unchanged since 1843, every work intended for production in British theatres had first to be submitted to, and

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Moving vista

Joan Eardley The Fleming Collection, 13 Berkeley Street, London W1, until 20 December The interplay between realism and abstraction that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s in British art gave rise to a number of fascinating paintings as artists struggled to resolve the balance to their own satisfaction. The co-existence of these extremes in the

Choice pickings

Merce Cunningham Dance Company Barbican Swan Lake Royal Opera House Scottish Ballet Queen Elizabeth Hall As if by tacit agreement, Dance Umbrella and the Royal Ballet started their new seasons with classics of their respective dance cultures. A regular Umbrella visitor, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company is a safe choice to kick off with, for

Twice as good

Cavalleria rusticana & I Pagliacci English National Opera Don Giovanni Royal Opera Cavalleria rusticana and I Pagliacci tend to be regarded by opera buffs as a couple of blowsy old tarts, still plying their trade long after they could plausibly expect any decent customers, and only to be contemplated or tolerated if they are wearing

Finding Pooter’s house

These days, Charles Pooter, the City clerk and narrator of George and Weedon Grossmith’s The Diary of a Nobody (1892) — the enduring comedy of hum-drum middle-class, late-19th-century life — could never afford to rent (or buy) his six-bedroom house, The Laurels, in Brickfield Terrace, Holloway. The Pooters of this world fled north London a

Fear and menace

Gomorrah 15, Nationwide Gomorrah is a mafia film and while we are well used to mafia films and even like some of them — for example, and if I recall rightly, The Godfather was quite good; do catch it if you can — this is not that sort of mafia film. There are no big

Credit where it’s due

This is a time for making the most of small mercies. One of the greatest of these, as the financial system collapses around us, is the splendid joke that is Robert Peston of the BBC. His extraordinarily camp, over-emphatic delivery would be perfect for reporting glitzy Broadway first nights but seems hilariously at odds with

On the road | 11 October 2008

For some reason October this year is yielding the kind of running about the place more normally associated with the summer festivals. From Naples to St Asaph, from Paris to Evora to St Omer and back to Evora in as many days with the added excitement of a broken-down Eurostar and various throat- and ankle-related

Fickle fortune

‘I couldn’t understand most of it. I mean I could understand each word but not when they were put together,’ says one of the characters in Tulips in Winter on Radio Three on Sunday night. I knew immediately what he meant. There was something wonderful going on in Michelene Wandor’s play word for word, but

In the doldrums

There’s something agreeably aimless, even melancholy, about late Saturday afternoons, after you’ve finished whatever you were doing in the day and before it’s time to go out. I found myself in a hotel room in Yorkshire last week at the crepuscular hour of 5.30, too lazy to do any work, too enervated to shower and


Fun with Vermeer

Girl with a Pearl Earring Theatre Royal Haymarket Waste Almeida Creditors Donmar I don’t know much about art but I know what I dislike. Art history. It forces one to view paintings and sculpture through the medium of literature. Every word spoken in appreciation of art is a step away from true art appreciation, which