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Behind the Beautiful Forevers at the National Theatre

It is always satisfying to see a medium exploited to its fullest.  With Behind the Beautiful Forevers the news is doubly welcome because the man behind the production is Rufus Norris, soon to be the director of the National Theatre.  


This piece has it all.  The topic is current, global, and socially complex.  This story of a Mumbai slum community in the shadow of the…

Film Review: The Good Lie

Set during the South Sudanese civil war in 1987, when orphaned children Amir, Paul, Jeremiah and Abidel flee from their village by foot, across the Sahara desert, and Ethiopia to safety at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. In 2000 they are transported to Kansas City, US, by way of a humanitarian intervention. The film examines the sense of culture shock experienced by Amir, Paul and Jeremiah while in…

Film Review: Selma

Detailing events leading up to the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, by African Americans in their struggle for equal voting rights in US Southern States in 1965, lead by Martin Luther King. David Oyelowo is worthy of an Oscar nomination (but he mysteriously missed out), for his terrific take as the charismatic but flawed civil rights activist, and he renders the rhythm and cadence of Martin Luther King’s captivating speeches. Employing precision and restraint, 'Selma' feels at times like a fly-on-the-wall documentary; building up the tension while the story unfolds. A well-made history film, with an ongoing relevance due to events in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

The Hard Problem at the National Theatre

Stoppard loves a good debate and now he has taken on “the hard problem,”  which is—what is consciousness?  (What does it do and do we need it?)  Through the central character of a woman psychology student  he poses these questions and some of the  counter-questions.  But alas, not surprisingly, he doesn’t answer them.  Instead the piece drifts into the more familiar territory of ethics, religion…

Book news: Harper Lee's 'new' sequel to Mockingbird

Announced on Tuesday; Harper Lee will be publishing Go Set a Watchman, the sequel to her classic 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Called Go Set a Watchman this is Lee’s first draft of Mockingbird but from the perspective of Scout as an adult. Right on cue the backlash has started. Everyone’s favourite teen novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, is apparently not as good as it’s washed up to be. It has a ‘rather inchoate moral system’ according to the Guardian’s Sarah Churchwell. That may be true. I suspect that most of us haven’t reread the novel since we were thirteen, when our own moral compasses were not yet finely tuned and that another generation was won over by the carefully tailored looks of Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in the film version of the book. Be that as it may I will be in the queue on publication day when Harper Lee’s ‘new’ sequel is published. And I will be as eager as any Harry Potter fan for the final instalment.