Arts feature

Ready for anything

Henrietta Bredin talks to Simon McBurney about his latest challenge: doing Beckett for the first time I am standing in Simon McBurney’s kitchen, discussing pigs (he’s not only kept them but also slaughtered them, butchered them and made over 20 different sorts of salami), memory and language (both capacious and exact in his case), watching

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Mixed message

Turner and the Masters Tate Britain, until 31 January 2010 Professor David Solkin, this exhibition’s curator, opens his introductory chapter in the catalogue (a substantial tome, packed with scholarly exegesis, special exhibition price £19.99 in paperback) in the following way:  The first 15 words of that quote should be emblazoned over the lintel of every

Plazas in pain

Letters of a Love Betrayed Linbury Studio Carmen Royal Opera House Wozzeck Royal Festival Hall A hectic operatic week, three down and two (to be reviewed next week) to go, began lamentably with what I’m in danger of coming to think of as the archetypical Linbury experience. That hideous place, a kind of operatic Nibelheim

Bottom of the barrel

Couples Retreat 15, Nationwide Couples Retreat and, if you have an ounce of sense, so too will you. Retreat from this movie, and retreat as fast as your little legs will carry you. I didn’t actually intend to see this film this week. I intended to see Terry Gilliam’s Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, but events

Crash, bang, wallop

The Power of Yes Lyttelton My Real War 1914–? Trafalgar Studios Here comes Hare. And he’s got the answer to the credit crunch. His energetic, well-researched and richly informative new work opens with an actor playing the writer himself (curious frown, Hush Puppies) as he sets out to discover why the markets jumped off a

Moving pictures

Dance Umbrella Cloud Gate Theatre of Taiwan, Barbican Theatre Cabane P3, University of Westminster Cloud Gate Theatre of Taiwan is not new to the UK dance scene. Yet, as stressed in an inflated, self- celebratory programme note, Wind Shadow marks a neat move away from the performance formulae seen in their previous productions. Created in

Best place to be

Someone somewhere recently asked me in a public forum whether I would prefer to be a singer, the conductor or a member of the audience at the concerts we give. He himself was of the opinion that he would rather be a singer, saying that the music we do is so complicated that only someone

Ferocious fauna

Two things puzzle me about vegetarians. Whenever they come to visit us, we always provide a vegetarian dish for them. But if you go to a vegetarian’s home, no one says, ‘I know you won’t like this lentil and halloumi lasagne, so we’ve cooked you steak and chips.’ Never. As for those who don’t eat

Yiddish vitality

Schmooze, schlep, schlock — all words that have such an evocative, onomatopoeic meaning and all from Yiddish, a language without a country, an army or a navy, which refuses to die even after one-third of its native speakers were annihilated by the Nazis. Schmooze, schlep, schlock — all words that have such an evocative, onomatopoeic

Sinking morale

The Royal Horticultural Society is like the Church of England. It seems always to have been there, a fixed, reassuring point in a changing world. Even to those who do not belong to it, it seems a Good Thing and it is hard to imagine national life without it. Among those who know it, it