Mini Reviews

Open House 2019: Walthamstow Wetlands

On the approach to Engine House at Walthamstow Wetlands the stark outline of the structure with its chimney tower against a cloudy sky could be from a painting by Constable, if not for the Overground train running directly past the building. The Engine House is now a Visitor Centre at the heart of the Wetlands project which has seen nearly 705,000 visitors to its reservoirs and marshland since it…

Theatre review: Small Island

It is proof of Small Island’s popularity that the Olivier Theatre was filled to capacity, holding 1150 people all waiting to be entertained over three and a half hours on the evening after a blisteringly hot day. The play is adapted from Andrea Levy’s novel of the same name.

Why is Small Island so popular? It might be a favourite book for many people who come to see much loved characters…

Review: Parliament House, Canberra

A must see when visiting Canberra, the Australian capital, is Parliament house. Its distinctive façade with outstretched walls invites people in and has become an iconic image of Canberra. Other exceptional features of this vast construction which was opened by her Majesty the Queen in 1988 include the base of the flagpole on the building’s roof (one of the largest steel structures in the world…

Book review: 'In Our Mad and Furious City' by Guy Gunaratne

Guy Gunaratne’s debut novel ‘In Our Mad and Furious City’ was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker prize but didn’t make it to the shortlist. Nevertheless it has generated a lot of buzz. It's a perceptive look at young manhood today, brimming with heart and hormones. 2015 Booker winner Marlon James says the novel is “so of this moment that you don’t even realise you’ve waited your whole life for it.” 

The…

Exhbition review: Gainsborough's Family Album

Eighteenth century artist Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) is renowned for his portraits of the English Aristocracy dressed in fine silks, ribbons and ruffles. His modern-day equivalent would be someone like photographer Mario Testino. Gainsborough is often reviled by art critics for pandering to the elite. But throughout his career he also painted portraits of his relatives and these engaging…

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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. 

Exhibition review: Cindy Sherman - Untitled Film Stills

One of the highlights of the Cindy Sherman Retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery is a series of seventy small, black and white photographs known as the Untitled Film Stills (1977-80). This is the first time the collection of photographs have been displayed together in their entirety in the UK. These atmospheric pictures with a distinctly cinematic quality launched Sherman’s career…

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…