Arts feature

Dispatch from Venice

Roderick Conway Morris on how the city is trying new ways to overcome its economic crisis When the Venice Biennale was founded in 1895 it was in many ways a response to the crisis facing the city. No longer an independent republic and marginalised in the newly re-unified Kingdom of Italy, Venice was seeking ways

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Celebrating diversity

Summer Exhibition Royal Academy, until 16 August Every year the Summer Exhibition arrives with promises of innovation and difference, every year it’s much the same. People gamely ask ‘what’s it like this year?’, and the imaginative struggle for a novel way to describe it. Yet its great strength is its unchangeability — the extraordinary (occasionally

Brooding Prince

Hamlet Wyndhams Arcadia Duke of York’s ‘No one can do the definitive Hamlet. It’s too big for that. But you can do an enormous amount.’ Wise words. Jude Law’s as it happens. All Hamlets fail and it’s a great tribute that Law’s fails remarkably little. His stage presence is thrilling, intense and highly athletic, and

Blood will have blood

Julius Caesar Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Romulus and Remus, at least in the flesh, aren’t usually numbered among the dramatis personae of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The famous sculpture of the she-wolf suckling Rome’s founding twins is a not unfamilar sight in modern productions. It’s also favoured by Lucy Bailey as an iconic image for launching her

In praise of Diaghilev

I wish I had been at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris on the evening of 18 May 1909 for the dress rehearsal of the new Saison Russe, organised by Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev, or ‘de’ Diaghilev as he liked to be called. I wish I had been at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris on the evening

Blank canvas

Lulu Royal Opera House It’s not often that I have felt so disinclined to write a piece about the past week’s opera-going, especially when it was an occasion I had looked forward to so much: Berg’s second opera Lulu, one of the strangest works in the repertoire, but even if not a masterpiece — it’s

Poster hero

Looking for Eric 15, Nationwide Looking for Eric is Ken Loach’s latest film, and while one worships Ken Loach generally and his early work in particular — Cathy Come Home; Family Life; Kes; all of which will still blow your socks off today — I’m just not at all sure about this. I mean, it’s

Electric guitar heaven

Like most addicts I have become accustomed to smuggling stuff into my own house. In the old days it was bottles of Scotch or wine. More recently it has been a couple of hundred quid’s worth of CDs after a binge in HMV.  The trouble with CDs is that they take up so much space.

Access all areas

‘Visualisation’ is the latest buzzword at BBC Radio. ‘Visualisation’ is the latest buzzword at BBC Radio. ‘Audiences,’ announces the press release, ‘will be able to watch some of their favourite radio shows being broadcast.’ (Note the use of the word ‘audiences’; we’re no longer thought of as mere listeners.) There’ll be ‘glanceable’ content, webcam streams,

Fantastical joke

‘Hi, my name is Kröd Mändoon, and I’ll be your liberator this evening!’ says the hero of Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire (BBC2, Thursday) as he bursts into a dungeon. ‘Hi, my name is Kröd Mändoon, and I’ll be your liberator this evening!’ says the hero of Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming

Show stopper

You have probably idly wondered, as you stood in a queue for the loos at Chelsea Flower Show, why the Royal Horticultural Society stages its greatest flower show of the year in the week before the Whitsun Bank Holiday. Late May is good for irises, Oriental poppies, alliums, hardy geraniums, seed-raised verbascums, lilacs, wisteria and


Liz Suggests

A few years ago I was given the Rough Guide to Shakespeare by Andrew Dickson. If you, like me, need to be reminded of the plot of some of Shakespeare’s plays it is an invaluable guide, giving a synopsis, a history of adaptations, further reading material and a list of filmed versions. And this summer