Arts feature

Show business

Sport has never held much appeal for me, so I rarely venture into stadiums. But I do appreciate their peculiar power: I was present at the 2012 Paralympics when George Osborne ill-advisedly turned up to award a medal while engaged in a campaign against disability benefits, and was roundly booed by the entire stadium. It

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Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous, which is about to make its cinema debut, is a comedy about women being useless. I watched it obediently in the 1990s — mostly for the clothes — and realise now, with more jaded eyes, that I was invited to laugh only at female failure. Failure is not a bad subject for comedy


Face value | 22 June 2016

When Richard III’s bones were unearthed in a Leicester car park, Frankie Boyle suggested the headline ‘Bent royal found at dogging hotspot’. Rupert Goold opens his version of the play by restaging the 2012 excavation as if to inform us that the past and the future are held together by something called time. That glib


The eyes have it | 23 June 2016

Tchaikovsky knew what he thought of the title character of his Eugene Onegin. ‘I loved Tatyana, and was furiously indignant with Onegin who seemed to me a cold, heartless fop,’ he wrote to a friend; and directors, by and large, have been happy to leave it at that. And why not? Dishy but emotionally unavailable


Animal crackers

The other evening I was driving back in heavy rain from my pilates class when I noticed something rather upsetting in the gated road that goes through our estate. I stopped and got out of the car for a closer look. Yes, as I feared, it was a dead duck. Some bastard had squished her


Jumbled up

‘In the end, nothing goes with anything,’ Lucian Freud remarked one afternoon years ago. ‘It’s your taste that puts things together.’ He would perhaps have been a little startled to find those words inscribed on the wall of Painters’ Paintings at the National Gallery, but they are very apt. The exhibition reassembles the works of


Home alone

The Secret Life of Pets is the latest animation from Illumination Entertainment, which also brought us Minions and Despicable Me, but whereas they were smart, funny, charming and original, this is not that smart, not that funny, not that charming and not that original. It’s an average caper that feels familiar and suffers mightily from


Madeleine moments

I’d just heard (on catch-up) Jenny Abramsky (a former director of BBC radio) telling Gillian Reynolds (the esteemed radio critic of the Telegraph) why radio is so special to her: ‘It takes place in my head. It paints pictures in my mind. It talks to me as an individual. It surprises me. It stretches me.’