Arts reviews


Too much chat

Ed Hall, boss of the Hampstead theatre, places before our consideration a new play by Athol Fugard.


Rare voices

The Church of England is not known for being tirelessly dogmatic in the face of shifting public opinion, just for being buffeted by it.



Jonas Kaufmann’s ascent to the position of the leading German lyric-dramatic tenor has been surprisingly gradual. I first saw him in Edinburgh in 2001, giving a Lieder recital in the Queen’s Hall, and was immediately astonished that I hadn’t heard of him before. For the next few years, I heard him there in more recitals, and in concert performances of Der Freischütz, Capriccio and culminating as Walther in Die Meistersinger in 2006.


All in the mind

‘All of us have had the experience of confusion or bafflement when we repetitively forget something, do something that (consciously) we absolutely did not want to do or lose something important to us.’ Indeed. ‘Freud took these episodes seriously and showed how these apparently innocent events provide windows into our unconscious minds.’ Ah.

The mighty Bausch

Sadler’s Wells Contrary to some claims, the late Pina Bausch did not invent Tanztheater.


Act of vision

A wretched, stinking, mouldy, crumbling slice of old Glasgae toon has dropped on to the Lyttelton stage. Ena Lamont Stewart’s play, Men Should Weep, is an enthralling act of homage to her slum childhood and it follows the travails of the Morrison family, all nine of them, wedged into two filthy rooms in Glasgow’s east end.


Look and learn

The greatest myth to affect Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) is the one of his own life: the romantic bohemian who escaped to the South Seas.


Interview: Rachael Stirling – happy with her lot

It’s noisy here in the bar at the Old Vic; the air is teeming with thespy gossip and laughter and clinking glasses.


Finding a voice

It’s one of the most haunting sounds I’ve ever heard — the plangent wail of a female Sufi singer from Afghanistan.


Ahead of their time

‘Museum decides against building new extension’ is not the stuff of newspaper headlines, so most of you will be unaware that the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff has been creating a distinct museum of art on the top floor of its existing Edwardian building. A few weeks ago, the Welsh museum relaunched its Impressionist and Modern galleries after an imaginative paint job and a rehang, and next year it will open a new suite of contemporary galleries in its former archaeology wing. For £6.5 million — £1 million from the Welsh Assembly government — it will have bought itself 40 per cent more space (comparing favourably with another national museum currently poised to pour £50 million of Department of Culture, Media and Sport money into a hole in the ground in Bankside). But the National Museum Cardiff can afford to economise. It doesn’t need flash architecture to attract attention; its collections are attraction enough.