Arts feature

Crown jewels | 25 January 2018

Peter Paul Rubens thought highly of Charles I’s art collection. ‘When it comes to fine pictures by the hands of first-class masters,’ he wrote from London in 1629, ‘I have never seen such a large number in one place.’ In Charles I: King and Collector the Royal Academy has reassembled only a fraction of what

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Craig David: The Time Is Now

Grade: D– You’re in a minicab, on the way home from some bash that was considerably less pleasing than you had anticipated. The driver has the radio on and this limp, witless, landfill R&B crap is hammering into your sinuses. You want to tell him to turn it off right now but don’t because you

Her big, fat Highland wedding

Gurn loves Effy, Effy is engaged to James but James is away with the fairies: a recipe for love tragedy. Tamara Rojo’s English National Ballet hasn’t danced August Bournonville’s La Sylphide since 1989 (before most of today’s dancers were born or thought of). The easy elevation and unshowy brilliance of the Danish style do not

Question time | 25 January 2018

Last year was a bit of a year for Radio 4 anniversaries; maybe most notably, Desert Island Discs celebrated 70 years on air. But oddly enough, so did another show. Round Britain Quiz, which you may remember vaguely from your childhood, or possibly your parents’ childhood, also reached 70 in 2017. There have been one


The Pinter conundrum

The Birthday Party is among Pinter’s earliest and strangest works. It deconstructs the conventions of a repertory thriller but doesn’t bother to reassemble them. The setting is a derelict seaside town on the south coast. Petey, a thick deckchair attendant, runs a guest-house with his ageing wife, Meg. She’s a zero-IQ cook whose signature dish


Body language | 25 January 2018

One of the Royal Opera’s greatest virtues is the care it takes with its revivals, even those that are virtually annuals, such as Jonathan Kent’s Tosca, the unnecessary replacement for Zeffirelli’s classic production. Kent’s version, with elaborate sets by the much-missed Paul Brown, was unveiled in 2006 and now has its ninth revival. It is


Old hat | 25 January 2018

These days, when it comes to people who used to be on the telly, the answer to the classic newspaper question ‘Where are they now?’ tends to be a fairly predictable one: they’re still on the telly — if, that is, you look carefully enough. They’re also quite likely to be travelling abroad with a


Small talk | 25 January 2018

Downsizing is a film with the most brilliant premise. What if, to save the planet, we were all made tiny? What if we only took up a tiny amount of space and flew in tiny planes and produced tiny amounts of rubbish? And what if we could live in the sort of mansions that would


As time goes by | 25 January 2018

If you were to ask me by the end of the week what I had written about in this column at the beginning I would probably look blank, fumble desperately through a foggy recollection of plays, news items, snatches of interviews and then reply, ‘I’ve no idea.’ This business of forgetting so soon what was