The Spectator

21 July 2018

The rehabilitation of Assad

He’s back – with Russia’s army and America’s blessing

Arts

Life is a cabaret: Barry Humphries and Meow Meow

Arts feature

Barry Humphries on Trump, transgender ‘rat-baggery’ and causing maximum offence

The Australian polymath has a three-week residency at the Barbican delving into the pre-cataclysmic art of Weimar Germany. He talks to Lloyd Evans

Live Music

An embarrassing and misshapen dud: Opera Holland Park’s Isabeau reviewed

Plus: Anna Meredith’s new work for the First Night of the Proms scrolled through all the currently admissible tonal idioms

Television

Channel 4 doesn’t do ‘news’ in any meaningful sense of the word – it’s pure propaganda

The BBC isn’t any better – with one honourable exception: the Daily/Sunday Politics and This Week, which of course the BBC have decided to cancel

Lee Bul’s ‘Monster: Pink’ (foreground) and ‘Crashing’ (background)

Exhibitions

If you like monstrosities, head to the Hayward Gallery

But the monsters are the best of Lee Bul’s work, which tend to overcomplication

Radio

The marketisation of BBC radio is a recipe for creative disaster

BBC productions will now always be about profit and not how best to inform, educate or entertain

Family fortunes: Ben Miles, Adam Godley and Simon Russell Beale in The Lehman Trilogy

Theatre

Extraordinary power and simplicity: Lehman Trilogy reviewed

Plus: a new musical at the Arts Theatre that’s only for committed head-bangers

Live Music

Paul Simon says farewell with a daring and inventive show

At times, however, his Hyde Park gig felt like a brilliant show that had been booked in entirely the wrong place

Cinema

Dreary, familiar, empty watch – until Streep appears: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again reviewed

It was Meryl Streep’s heft and transcendence, I now realise, that made the first film