The Spectator

18 May 2019

Cometh the hour

The biggest threat to Boris Johnson’s leadership bid is Boris himself


Postcard from the edge: The Rings of Saturn (Shingle Street — unused photograph), 1994

Arts feature

From haunted to haunter: the afterlife of W.G. Sebald

The mystique lives on, but two shows of his photographs attempt to take us behind the curtain of his writing process

‘A was an Artist’, from William Nicholson’s An Alphabet, 1897


The duo that broke the mould of poster design

William Nicholson’s work combined the wit and precision of Manet with Dickens’s sense of character

Natalia Osipova, cursed with a frightful Ascot fascinator, a Halloween shock-wig of black pipe cleaners, in Medusa as the Royal Opera House Credit: ©ROH, 2019 Photograph by Tristram Kenton


Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s #MeToo Medusa is a bad hair day from Hades

A Christopher Wheeldon revival pleases, but the overrated Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern fails to soar

Credit: RoBeDeRo


The mosque where it’s the men who make the tea

Plus: the power of concerts in prisons and a drama so good I binge-listened to it

Sharon D. Clarke and Wendell Pierce in Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic Credit: © Brinkhoff Mogenburg


Willy Loman would have been fine if he’d worked in a laundry: Death of a Salesman reviewed

Plus: the Globe’s Henry IV (i) is a pillow-up-the jumper am-dram effort (though its Falstaff is one of the truest you'll see)

Andras Schiff Credit: Robert Ghement/EPA/Shutterstock


Anderszewski went at Beethoven’s Diabellis with a nail gun

And Andras Schiff is another venerated pianist likely to let you down when playing overfamiliar repertoire

Emma Thompson as Vivienne Rook in Russell T. Davies’s Years and Years. Credit: BBC/Red Productions/Guy Farrow


A clunky exercise in box-ticking: Russell T. Davies’s Years and Years reviewed

Plus: The Virtues shows, yet again, that nobody does visceral like Shane Meadows

A delightful time machine to a distant past: Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets


A Saturday-night variety show: Take That at the O2 reviewed

Plus: Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets reminds us that no one else ever sounded like early Pink Floyd

The tropes of noir and the spaghetti western are passed through a magical prism: a scene from Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego’s Birds of Passage


Startlingly fresh and jaggedly strange: Birds of Passage reviewed

This Colombian thriller passes the tropes of noir and the spaghetti western through a magical prism