Published in The Observer February 16, 2020
It’s often said that Nora’s slam of the door as she walks out on her husband and children at the end of A Doll’s House has echoed down the centuries. In Stef Smith’s smart new version of Ibsen’s 1879 play, her story certainly reverberates: Smith reimagines Nora in 1918, in 1968, and in 2018.
Continue reading “Review: Nora: A Doll’s House, Young Vic”
Published in The Observer January 28, 2020
If you’ve read so much as a sentence of Eimear McBride’s writing, it is likely to have burned into your brain. Her first two novels, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing and The Lesser Bohemians, were both written with a ferocious immediacy, in hurtling, viscerally direct prose that captures pre-verbal thought processes “far back in the mind”, as McBride put it.
Continue reading “Review: Strange Hotel, Eimear McBride”
Artist Martin Creed’s show defies easy categorisation. He shares some thoughts, from the problem with trousers to the inadequacies of language to explanations of his sculptures. He plays some songs: some illustrate his musings, some are aural non-sequiturs. Continue reading “Review: Martin Creed’s Words and Music, EIF”
As I swing in a hammock, overlooking the Mekong river, the rather poetic name given to this patch of Laos seems apt: Si Phan Don, or 4,000 Islands. Continue reading “Finding paradise on the 4,000 Islands of Laos”
When Belgian director Ivo van Hove last brought a Shakespeare production to London, he warned his actors: “We are now going into the cage of the lions. We are going perhaps to be devoured – or we tame them.” Continue reading “Ivo van Hove on working with David Bowie and tearing up Shakespeare”
“If there’s anything worse than a staunch woman … S-T-A-U-N-C-H – there’s nothing worse, I’m telling you. They don’t weaken. No matter what. ” So said “Little Edie” Beale in the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens – but generations of viewers have not agreed with her, taking this staunch woman fully to their hearts. So much so that it spawned a hit musical. Continue reading “Grey Gardens: how a hit musical adapts the cult 1975 documentary”
“People don’t know how to eat any more.” It’s a bold statement – but, then, that’s typical of Gizzi Erskine. The food writer, TV presenter and trained chef doesn’t mince her words. She credits this tendency for being a bit “gobby” as having helped launch her career more than a decade ago, when she was picked up for Channel 4’s Cook Yourself Thin TV series. Several hit recipe books followed, all with the basic premise that good food, cooked well, can be healthy and delicious. Continue reading “Gizzi Erskine is taking on the ‘clean eating’ fanatics”
The childhood years
Age 8 to 13 / 1994 to 1999
My childhood festival-going all took place at Womad. My parents may have gone to Isle of Wight in 1969 without so much as a tent to sleep under – but they didn’t want to go feral with me and my brother. When a friend told them that Womad was safe and lovely and had craft workshops for kids, they were sold. We decamped in style, taking a giant frame tent, a batik awning and half a sofa. Continue reading “My life in festivals: Super Noodles, Super Furry Animals and supervisory parents”
The experience of colour as we usually understand it is a visual one: objects have colour, artists use colour, and we can recall a colour in our mind’s eye. But for some people, colour is a more multi-sensory affair, linked to sound, texture, taste or shapes. Music has a hue – like the parping of a trumpet that evokes a shower of burnt orange. Numbers, letters and days of the week have their own shade: the number one is white, the letter L is blue and Monday is red. Continue reading “How synaesthesia inspires artists”