Saturday Review

Saturday Review


Presenter Tom Sutcliffe and guests offer sharp, critical discussion of the week's cultural events


La La Land, Manchester By The Sea, Michael Chabon, Wish List at The Royal Court, Charles Avery  

We can help you to decide between two films touted for Oscars glory: La La Land revives The Hollywood musical and Manchester By The Sea starring Casey Affleck- If you have to choose, which one deserves your custom? Michael Chabon's latest novel Moonglow is sort-of autobiographical - the lies, deception, rumours, legends, confessions and confusions that all families create are explored through a life lived in The American Century. Katherine Soper (a 24-year-old former perfume seller) won The UK's biggest playwriting competition with Wish List; a play informed by what she calls the government's "systematic assault" on disabled and mentally ill people. It's being staged at London's Royal Court Theatre Artist Charles Avery's work is an ongoing evolving depiction of an imaginary island. Through drawings, sculptures and texts. he has created its topology, cosmology and inhabitants. He has a new exhibition of his imaginings. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Kate Williams, Maria Delgado and David Benedict. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Trackers of Oxyrhynchus, Endless Poetry, Taboo, History of Wolves, On Kosovo Field.  

Tony Harrison's play The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus is revived at London's Finborough Theatre 87 year old Chilean film director Alejandro Jodorowsky's latest film Endless Poetry is the second instalment of a planned five part autobiographical series Tom Hardy stars in BBC TV's new drama Taboo, Emily Fridlund's History of Wolves is the growing-up tale of a lonely Minnesota schoolgirl BBC Radio drama On Kosovo Field is a 5-part fantasy play by Finn Kennedy which includes a score by PJ Harvey, whose notes, photos, poetry and songs helped to inspire it Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Viv Groskop, Ekow Eshun and Louise Doughty The producer is Oliver Jones.

Highlights of 2016  

A look at the highlights of 2016 according to our panel and our listeners. And there are some delightful surprises. Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Kerry Shale, Sarah Crompton, Sarfraz Mansoor and listeners from around the UK with their suggestions. Saturday Review's Picks of The Year Films The Revenant Alejandro Inarritu Spotlight Tom McCarthy I Daniel Blake Ken Loach Queen of Katwe Mira Nair Nocturnal Animals Tom Ford Deadpool starring Ryan Reynolds Snowden starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt Sausage Party Hell or High Water David Mackenzie Arrival Denis Villeneuve Fire At Sea Gianfranco Rosi A United Kingdom Amma Asante Anomalisa Charlie Kaufman Julieta Pedro Almodovar Finding Dory A Bigger Splash Luca Guadagnino Theatre A Streetcar Named Desire Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester King Lear Talawa co-production Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester King Lear starring Glenda Jackson at Old Vic, London Harriet Martineau Dreams of Dancing Live Theatre Newcastle This Restless House Glasgow Citizens Theatre Any Means Necessary Nottingham Playhouse Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour National Theatre, London Midsummer's Night Dream The Globe Theatre, London Imogen The Globe Theatre, London Shakespeare Trilogy, Donmar Warehouse, London No Man's Land, National Theatre, London (NT live performance) Backstage in Biscuit Land, Soho Theatre, London Groundhog Day (musical) Old Vic, London Flowers for Mrs Harris, Sheffield Crucible Richard III, Almeida Theatre, London Faith Healer, Donmar Warehouse, London Travesties, Menier Chocolate Factory, London Television Stranger Things - Netflix Westworld - HBO The Young Pope - Sky The Crown - Netflix War and Peace - BBC The Night Of - HBO Black Mirror - Netflix Planet Earth II - BBC Happy Valley - BBC Transparent - Amazon Fleabag - BBC The Missing - BBC Flowers - Channel 4 National Treasure - Channel 4 Angie Tribeca - E4 Motherland - BBC Exhibitions Georgia O'Keeffe, Tate Modern, London Picasso Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London Abstract Expressionism, Royal Academy, London Hieronymus Bosch, Het Noordbrabants Museum, Holland Towards Night, The Towner Gallery, Eastbourne In Reading Prison, Artangle Winifred Knights, Dulwich Picture Gallery Inside: Artist and Writers in Reading Prison - Artangel The Infinite Mix, The Store in the Strand, London Stan Douglas, The Secret Agent, Victoria Miro Gallery, London Victor Pasmore, Towards A New Reality, Nottingham Lakeside Gallery Russia and The Arts, National Portrait Gallery, London The Shchukin Collection, Icons of Modern Art, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris Books Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift Golden Hill by Francis Spufford Swing Time by Zadie Smith Hotels of North America by Rick Moody The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry The Sellout by Paul Beatty The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen The Good Immigrant ed. Nikesh Shukla 1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year by David Hepworth Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner Days Without End by Sebastian Barry Also mentioned: Lemonade (album/film) Beyonce We're Here Because We're Here Jeremy Deller Bob Dylan, winner of Nobel Prize for Literature Horace and Pete Louis C.K David Bowie's Art Collection Blackstar David Bowie You Want It Darker Leonard Cohen The producer is Hilary Dunn.

Art at London's Old Vic, Scorsese's Silence, VR gaming, Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, Alan Bennett  

A revival of Yasmina Reza's Art at London's Old Vic revives the art of the review - is it art? Martin Scorsese's latest film Silence has taken nearly 3 decades to reach the screen. It's the story of two Christian missionaries in 17th century Japan. Is it worth the the long wait? We investigate Virtual Reality gaming - there are many different headsets and games on the market, but which are worth your attention Ghanaian-American novelist Yaa Gyosi's Homegoing is a debut novel that has been garnering a lot of extremely favourable attention from readers and critics alike. It deals with slavery and its intimate weaving into the history of America Alan Bennett's Diaries on Christmas Eve on BBC2 is described as 'a candid look into the mind' of the much-loved author, following him through the year. It includes the revelation that he has always wanted to own a donkey Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Naomi Alderman, Sathnam Sanghera and Emma Woolf. The producer is Oliver Jones Photo credit: Michael Lionstar.

Hedda Gabler, Son of Joseph, Nadeem Aslam, Roger Hiorns, Maigret, Agatha Christie  

Ruth Wilson plays the lead in Ivo van Hove's production of Hedda Gabler at London's National Theatre, Son of Joseph (a French film with religious overtones) takes on the overwhelming might of the latest Star Wars Rogue One. Blockbuster vs indie might not be an equal fight but thank goodness there's something else out this week! How good is it? Nadeem Aslam's latest novel The Golden Harvest is set in modern Pakistan, with the resilience of the human spirit fighting corruption and international interference Roger Hiorns was brought up in Birmingham and his latest exhibition at the city's IKON Gallery looks at his career-long fascinations with human corporeality and its meeting with the mechanical and he proposes a new pathway into how artists can continue to make and behave And we cionsider a couple of the big crime dramas on TV over Christmas - ITV's Maigret (starring Rowan Atkinson) and Agatha Christie's Witness For The Prosecution on the BBC Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Alex Preston, Stephanie Merritt and Jamila Gavin. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Once in a Lifetime, Birth of a Nation, Alice in Space, Mathematics at Science Museum, Walt Disney on BBC2  

A revival of Once in a Lifetime, the 1930s comedy about the movie industry at the beginning of the talkies. A new film with the title "Birth of a Nation" cannot escape the obvious associations with the 1915 DW Griffith silent film of the same name which portrayed The Ku Klux Klan in a heroic light. This production has been dogged by controversy for completely different reasons. Alice In Space by Gillian Beer looks at Lewis Carroll's classic and resets it in the context of its time to shine a fresh reinvigorating light on the work There's an exhibition about Mathematics at London's Science Museum, looking at how it shapes our world BBC2 presents a two part series about Walt Disney - his life and legacy Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Meg Rosoff, Jacqueline Springer and David Benedict. The producer is Oliver Jones.

RSC's Seven Acts of Mercy, Spike Lee's Chi-raq, Robert Rauschenberg, Poets Ben Lerner and Rachael Boast, This Is Us  

The Royal Shakespeare Company presents Anders Lustgarten's new play Seven Acts of Mercy; drawing connections between Caravaggio and modern Liverpool Spike Lee's latest film Chi-raq retells the classic Greek tale of Lysistrata imagining a sex strike organised by the women of Chicago in order to get their menfolk to renounce violence. American painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer and performance artist Robert Rauschenberg is the subject of a retrospective at Tate Modern; the first since his death in 2008 Two books of poetry, one American, one British - Ben Lerner's No Art and Rachael Boast's Void Studies This Is Us has been enormously successful in the USA and has now been bought by Channel 4 - will it be embraced by British viewers? Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Tiffany Jenkins, Damian Barr and Frances Stonor Saunders. The producer is Oliver Jones.

The Children, The Wailing, Rillington Place, Penelope Lively, Victor Pasmore  

Young British playwright Lucy Kirkwood's latest play The Children opens at London's Royal Court Theatre: three old friends discussing the future after an unnamed disaster Korean horror drama film The Wailing has been gaining a lot of international attention - combining a ghost story and zombies and a police drama Tim Roth plays the serial murderer John Christie in BBC TV's Rillington Place. A three part series, it looks at the story from the points of view of Christie, his wife and the lodger who was wrongly hanged for the murders. Penelope Lively's latest collection of short stories is called "Purple Swamp Hen" There's a new exhibition in Nottingham of the work of the late Victor Pasmore, British abstract artist and educator Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Blake Morrison, Barb Jungr and Andrea Rose. The producer is Oliver Jones.

RSC's Tempest, Indignation, Divines, Zadie Smith, Design Museum  

The RSC's production latest Tempest features Simon Russell Beale as Prospero and has a holographic Ariel. Does cutting edge technology sit comfortably inside Shakespeare's play which is so full of magic? Philip Roth's novel Indignation, set in 1950's America is now a film. Dealing with social mores, the desire to rebel and how it affects the rebel Zadie Smith's latest novel Swing Time is a story of the long and complicated friendship between two girls whose lives diverge. Divines is a Cannes Award winning French film set in the banlieue where crime seems the only way out of the social structure The Design Museum has reopened at a new site in Kensington in London - formerly The Commonwealth Institute, it has cost £38m to adapt - does it impress? Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Tom Holland, Sarah Crompton and Louise Jury. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Glenda Jackson as King Lear, The Innocents, Linda Grant, Elton John's photographs in Radical Eye, Close to the Enemy  

Glenda Jackson returns to the stage after 25 years as an MP to play the title role in King Lear at London's Old Vic Theatre. Is she a frail 80 year old or a commanding presence? French/Polish film The Innocents is based on a true story about a convent in post-war Poland where the nuns were raped by Soviet soldiers. Linda Grant's latest novel The Dark Circle tells the story of Lenny and Miriam, two east-enders convalescing in a TB sanatorium in 1940s Kent The Radical Eye, Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection is the new exhibition at London's Tate Modern. Pinner's favourite son has been purchasing work by the world's leading photographers for more than 2 decades and created one of the leading private collections in the world. Stephen Poliakoff's Close to the Enemy on BBC TV is set in London immediately after WWII as a special British Army unit tries to turn former Nazi scientists to work for 'us' now Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Rosie Boycott, Melissa Harrison and Ryan Gilbey. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Nocturnal Animals, Dead Funny, BBC's Black and British, Naomi Alderman, Emma Hamilton: seduction and celebrity  

Tom Ford's new thriller film Nocturnal Animals stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal A revival of terry Johnson's play Dead Funny opens at London's Vaudeville Theatre; does it live up to its name? David Olusoga presents BBC TV's Black and British part of a season of programmes under that title Naomi Alderman's novel The Power imagines a world in which women can conjure electrical charges from their hands - how does it change the gender power balance? Emma Hamilton - Seduction and Celebrity is a new exhibition in Greenwich looking at the life and career. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Rowan Pelling, Christopher Frayling and Helen Lewis. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Amadeus, Lo and Behold, A Horse Walks Into A Bar, Paul Nash, The Moonstone  

There's a revival of Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus at London's National Theatre. It's the story of Mozart's supposed rivalry with fellow composer Salieri and it has a live orchestra on stage accompanying and acting in the play Werner Herzog's latest film Lo and Behold considers the history and future, the successes and failures of the world wide web Israeli author David Grossman's novel A Horse Walks Into A Bar is a story about an edgy stand-up comedian who's playing strange confessional games with his audience Tate Britain has an exhibition of the work of Paul Nash, from his times as a war artist in both world wars and his surrealist paintings to his less well known assemblages The BBC's new period drama has been in the planning stages for a long time; The Moonstone is based on Wilkie Collins' novel, acknowledged as the first and greatest of English Detective novels. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Abigail Morris, Rajan Datar and Maev Kennedy. The producer is Oliver Jones.

David Hare, Ken Loach, The Young Pope, Sebastian Barry, Yves Klein  

David Hare's latest play The Red Barn is an adaptation of a Georges Simenon thriller now at London's National Theatre Ken Loach's new film I Daniel Blake is a typically hard-hitting reflection on the political state of modern Britain. It won this year's Palme d'Or, will it win over the reviewers? The Young Pope is a new series from Sky Atlantic starring Jude Law as the first American pontiff; new, controversial and unconventional Pope Pius XIII (born Lenny Belardo) Award-winning Irish novelist Sebastian Barry's newest work Days Without End is set in 1850s America following soldiers fighting in the Indian Wars and then in the Civil War. We visit the Yves Klein retrospective at Tate Liverpool. He was a leading member of the Nouveau Realisme movement (and invented his own shade of blue) before dying at the age of 34 Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Shahidha Bari, Demetrios Matheou and Polly Samson.

One Night in Miami, The Mountaintop, Black Mirror, Ali Smith, Beyond Caravaggio  

We're looking at two plays about black America this week: Kemp Powers' One Night In Miami imagines a meeting in 1964 between boxer Cassius Clay, activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke & American Football star Jim Brown as they decide how they can each change the world. Katori Hall's The Mountaintop is set 4 year's later and imagines Rev Martin Luther King's last night alive, in a hotel room in Memphis Charlie Brooker's distopian TV show Black Mirror was a huge success when it began on Channel 4. The new series has moved on to Netflix - a different scale of budget and a different audience. Can it have the same effect? Ali Smith's Autumn is the first in a quartet of seasonal novels. It imagines a contemporary Britain struggling to deal with its identity London's National Gallery's Beyond Caravaggio exhibition explores the influence of Caravaggio on the art of his contemporaries and followers. Razia Iqbal's guests Emma Dabiri, Ekow Eshun and Hardeep Singh Kohli. The producer is Oliver Jones.

The Girl on The Train, Travesties, Picasso Portraits, Nicotine, Divorce  

The Girl on The Train starring British actress Emily Blunt is based on Paula Hawkins's best selling thriller which has sold more than 10 million copies world wide. The film is set in New York, rather than London, and explores the voyeuristic obsessions of its alcoholic central character as she observes her former neighbourhood from a train window on her daily commute. Tom Stoppard wrote Travesties in 1974, inspired by the true story of James Joyce's involvement in a production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest in Zurich in 1917. A revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory is directed by Patrick Marber and stars Tom Hollander as Henry Carr the British consular official who played Algernon and fell out with Joyce during the production. A major exhibition of portraits by Pablo Picasso opens at the National Portrait Gallery, with over 80 portraits by the artist in all media including the Cubist portrait from 1910 of the German art dealer and early champion of Picasso's work Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. In Nicotine by Nell Zing - whose work is admired by Jonathan Franzen - the author sets her third novel in a house in New Jersey inhabited by a group of anarchist smokers, united in defense of their right to smoke. When Penny Baker inherits the house from her father she becomes enmeshed in the political fervor and commitment of her fellow squatters. And in Divorce, a new Sky Atlantic TV drama written by Sharon Horgan, Sarah Jessica Parker stars as Frances, a woman who suddenly begins to reassess her life and her marriage, and finds that making a clean break and a fresh start is harder than she thought. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Kamila Shamsie, Tim Lott and Charlotte Mullins. The producer was Hilary Dunn.

Free State of Jones, Abstract Expressionism, Transit, Crisis in Six Scenes, Villette  

Free State of Jones is an American war film inspired by the life of Newton Knight and his armed rebellion against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, during the American Civil War. Written and directed by Gary Ross, the film stars Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali and Keri Russell. Crisis in Six Scenes is Woody Allen's first television series. Made for Amazon Studios it also stars Miley Cyrus and Elaine May and is set during the turbulent years of the late 1960s in the USA. The Royal Academy of Arts in London presents the first major exhibition of Abstract Expressionism to be held in the UK for six decades and features work by Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still amongst many others. Award winning writer Rachel Cusk's new novel Transit documents a writer and her two young sons moving to London following a family collapse. There are many transitions to negotiate - personal, moral, artistic, practical as the writer endeavours to construct a new reality for herself and her children. Marking the bicentenary of Charlotte Bronte's birth, her novel Villette is brought to life in a striking new adaptation for the Courtyard Theatre in Leeds. Yorkshire writer Linda Marshall-Griffiths reimagines Charlotte Brontë's ground-breaking novel whilst remaining true to its unique insights into loneliness, yearning and the redemptive power of love. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Katie Puckrik, Alex Clark and Francis Spufford. The producer was Hilary Dunn.

Robert Harris: Conclave, When Father Comes Home From The Wars, Little Men, Damned, The Infinite Mix  

Robert Harris's latest novel, Conclave is about the appointment of a new pope and all the rivalry and ambition that goes on behind the scenes When Father Comes Home From The Wars at London's Royal Court Theatre is the story of a slave in Texas in 1862 who has to fight alongside those who support slavery Little Men tells the story of 2 boys growing up in New York whose friendship grows as their relationship between their respective parents deteriorates Channel 4's new comedy series (more bitter than sweet) Damned features Jo Brand and Alan Davies as jaded social workers try to cope with circumstances beyond their control London's Hayward Gallery is currently closed for repairs, so they've opened a pop-up gallery nearby, showing ten audiovisual installations in an abandoned office space: The Infinite Mix exhibition Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Jonathan Beckman, Alice Jones and Susannah Clapp. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Hunt for The Wilderpeople, Eimear McBride, Bedlam, National Treasure, Dr Faustus  

New Zealand's most successful home grown film ever reaches the UK: Hunt for The Wilderpeople is a story about identity, intergenerational friendship and loss in the bush Eimear McBride's first published novel won an array of literary prizes. Her follow-up The Lesser Bohemians is told in a similar style - will it attract a similarly delighted critical response? Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond is a new exhibition at London's Wellcome Collection which looks at how the legacy of Bethlem Hospital has shaped the mental health landscape in this country National Treasure on Channel 4 is a drama that imagines a well-known TV personality coming under suspicion for historical sexual abuse allegations Which actor plays Faustus and which plays Mephistophilis in the RSC's production of Dr Faustus at The Barbican is decided live onstage each night in a unique way. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Louise Doughty, John Mullan and Catherine O'Flynn. The producer is Oliver Jones.

V+A Revolution, Hell or High Water, Jonathan Safran Foer, Inn At Lydda, BBC TV comedy pilots  

Jeff Bridges stars as a Texas Ranger on the hunt for a couple of bank robber brothers in a modern day western Hell or High Water Jonathan Safran Foer's Here I Am combines a domestic breakdown with an international world-shattering incident. London's V+A Museum's new exhibition You Say You Want A Revolution looks at global changes between 1966 -1970 when the world seemed to be be in a state of political upheaval The Globe Theatre's new production, The Inn At Lydda is an imagining of Tiberius Caesar's journey to meet Jesus. But he arrives just after the crucifixion The BBC is celebrating 60 years since Tony Hancock's TV sitcom debut with a clutch of comedy pilots - are they a continuation of a noble tradition or a pale imitation? Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Philip Hensher, Kate Williams and Muriel Zhaga. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Ian McEwan, Sausage Party, Reading gaol, The Entertainer, The Collection  

Ian McEwan's latest novel Nutshell tells the story from the point of view of a foetus. Sausage Party is the sweariest, most vulgar cartoon film you will ever have seen. From the imagination of Seth Rogen, it imagines the world of sentient food Artangel's project 'Inside- artists and writers in Reading Prison' is staged at the gaol where Oscar Wilde was incarcerated. It features work by contemporary artists reflecting on the themes of imprisonment and separation. Kenneth Branagh reprises another role associated with Laurence Olivier; playing Archie Rice in John Osbourne's The Entertainer. He can't escape the comparisons but can he live up to expectations? The Collection is a new TV drama series dealing with the not-so-glamorous world of haute couture.

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