Mini Reviews

Review: Mrs America

TV miniseries, Mrs America created by Dahvi Waller for FX on Hulu productions, depicts real events that take place in 1971 when Richard Nixon was president of the United States. It focuses on Republican author and activist Phyllis Schlafly who from 1971 to 1982 coordinated a robust opposition to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) championed by the Women’s Liberation Movement.

The…

Talk: Doris Derby at The Photographers' Gallery

A fortnight before “lockdown” people gathered for an event at The Photographers’ Gallery to hear photographer, teacher and activist Doris Derby talk about her life and work to artist Hannah Collins. Little did we know how much our world was about to change in the weeks to come: in hindsight the event was unique and well-timed. Derby’s pictures are part of the “We Will Walk: Art and Resistance in…

Theatre review: My Brilliant Friend

Elena Ferrante’s addictive Neapolitan Quartet novels have been adapted for the stage. The two part play at the Olivier Theatre takes its title from the first book in the series: My Brilliant Friend Part One covers the first two novels while Part Two looks at the last two. Together both parts run for five and half hours encompassing a timespan of sixty years. Sounds hectic? It is. But the story is…

Film review: Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s latest offering Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is a mixed bag of a film, with contradictory motivations. The film is his most self-indulgent to date, taking its title and some of its inspiration from the Sergio Leone classics ‘Once Upon A Time in the West’ and Once Upon A Time in America’ as well as highlighting his other obsessions: Hollywood and L.A. The film has been criticised…

Book review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

‘The Testaments’, Margaret Atwood’s much anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale concludes the dystopian fable set in Gilead, a fictionalised United States. The book is an engaging read, continuing with the same themes, namely the subjugation of women in a patriarchal society, and some of the same characters as The Handmaid’s Tale. The 2019 Booker prize was controversially awarded jointly to The…

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Janet Murray. An obituary for my friend and tutor

An obituary of the journalist and lecturer Janet (Jan) Murray who dies at the Marie Curie Hospice in London on the 1st of July 2016

Review: The Trouble with Scott Capurro at The Bill Murray @CamdenFringe

“They’re just jokes – I’m not even gay!”

Scott Capurro greets “all my imaginary friends in the front row” as he skips onstage at The Bill Murray. The front row is conspicuously empty – who after all would be so foolish as to sit there? But there’s no escape later in the set when he begins to interact with members of the audience. Before long a man who came out at the age of 30 is describing…

Committee a Musical at the Donmar Theatre

Committee A Musical is the Donmar’s new play based on a Parliamentary Inquiry into the high profile childrens charity Kids Company. 

Book review: Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje’s second book Running in the Family (1982) is set in Sri Lanka where he was born in 1943, and is ostensibly a family memoir. In truth, the book's free form narrative structure also embraces fiction, history, anecdotes, and travelogue, interspersed with a selection of Ondaatje’s poems.

Ondaatje’s heritage is Dutch and Ceylonese: his father was Tamil and his mother, Doris…

Book review: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

Pacey and fizzily plotted, Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill is a breathless romp of a novel. The year is 1746, and Mr Smith, a glib tongued and amiable English charmer, is newly pitched up in Manhattan with an order for one thousand pounds in his pocket.

Trump’s First Year and the Foreign Media

Has the foreign press done enough in terms of holding Donald Trump to account in his first year as US president? Trump’s approval ratings have remained static despite the FBI investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election, sleaze allegations and his generally unpresidential conduct. Even the publication of Michael Wolff’s book ‘Fire and Fury’ hasn’t fazed him. This topic was central to…