Gertrude stein

A play for bureaucrats: David Hare’s Straight Line Crazy reviewed

It’s good of Nicholas Hytner to let Londoners see David Hare’s new play before it travels to Broadway where it belongs. Few Brits will know the subject, Robert Moses, an urban planner of the 1920s who built the roads and bridges that gave New Yorkers access to seaside resorts in Long Island. This is a play for bureaucrats. Nit-picking and box-ticking are the main points of interest. Squiggles on forms. Correct signatures at the bottom of proof-read documents. Hare is copying George Bernard Shaw and his script is a celebration of rhetoric above all other qualities. Dialogue-junkies will enjoy the screeds of quickfire chatter that keep the play motoring along.

When Paris was the only place to be

For more than 100 years Paris has been as much a symbol and a myth as a geographical reality. The enchantment dates back to the end of the 19th century, when ‘le bordel de l’Europe’, in words quoted by Marie-José Gransard, was transformed into ‘la capitale de l’amour’. In Twentieth Century Paris she traces the growth of the community of mostly foreign artists and writers who created this international brand. By the 1890s Paris had recovered from defeat by Prussia and the atrocity of Bismarck’s bombardment in 1870 and had become the capital of more than ‘l’amour’.It ran a colonial empire powerful enough to deprive the Kaiser of his ‘place