Culture

Culture

The good, the bad and the ugly in books, exhibitions, cinema, TV, dance, music, podcasts and theatre.

Lloyd Evans

Ugly and humdrum: Brokeback Mountain, at @sohoplace, reviewed

Theatre

Brokeback Mountain, a play with music, opens in a scruffy bedroom where a snowy-haired tramp finds a lumberjack’s shirt and places it over his nose. Then he inhales. Who is this elderly vagrant? And why is he absorbing the scent of an abandoned garment? Two hours later, at the play’s close, we finally learn that

Lloyd Evans

Sad, blinkered and incoherent: Arcola’s The Misandrist reviewed

Theatre

A new play, The Misandrist, looks at modern dating habits. Rachel is a smart, self-confident woman whose partner is a timid desperado named Nick. Both accept that Rachel must make all the important decisions in their lives and she orders Nick to submit to ‘pegging’. After some perfunctory resistance, Nick obeys. ‘Lube me up,’ he

Lloyd Evans

Approaches perfection: Medea, @sohoplace, reviewed

Theatre

Winner’s Curse is a hybrid drama by Dan Patterson and Daniel Taub which opens as a lecture by a fictional diplomat, Hugo Leitski (a dinner-jacketed Clive Anderson). Leitski offers to teach us the subtle art of negotiation. An expert diplomat, he explains, must convince each side that they’re the winners in the negotiation and that

A short history of applause – and booing

Theatre

A dank Tuesday evening in a West End theatre. The auditorium is barely two thirds full. The play is nothing special – certainly not spectacular. Your neighbour is struggling to stay awake. The reception, however, is tumultuous. The audience is on its feet, squealing, whistling and whooping as though someone has just found the cure

The art of the panto dame

Theatre

There is nothing more panto than a dame. The grandmother of today’s dames is Dan Leno (1860–1904), a champion clog dancer and music-hall performer, not much taller than Ronnie Corbett. He was preceded by others, notably James Rogers, who in 1861, in Aladdin,played a character called Widow Twankey, named after a cheap and revolting tea.

Lloyd Evans

The acting rescues it: National Theatre’s Othello reviewed

Theatre

Crude eccentricities damage the potential brilliance of Othello at the National. Some of the visual gestures seem to have been approved by crazies from the neo-fascist fringe. The Moor is first seen doing a work-out with a punch bag but he doesn’t strike the bag, he grabs a broom handle and uses it to perform