Saturday Review

Saturday Review


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


Dunkirk, Much Ado at London's Globe, Sarah Winman, Rose Finn-Kelcey at Modern Art Oxford, Against The Law  

Christopher Nolan's film Dunkirk dramatises the many acts of heroism and horror of the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of soldiers during World War 2 from French beaches. Many critics are talking about Oscars, will our reviewers agree? The newest production of Much Ado About Nothing at London's Globe Theatre sets the story during the armed struggles of the Mexican Revolution. Sarah Winman's novel Tin Man is a love story between two boys and a woman who changes their love and their lives; it's about relationships, loss and kindness The first posthumous exhibition of the work of Rose Finn-Kelcey at Modern Art Oxford takes a selective look at the breadth of her work over several decades. The BBC's LGBTQ season marking the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act, presents Against the Law starring Daniel Mays as Peter Wildeblood, one the defendants in the 1954 Montagu case. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Lisa Appignanesi, Paul Morley and Alex Clark. The producer is Oliver Jones.

The Beguiled, Joshua Cohen, Soul of a Nation, A Tale of Two Cities, Ozark  

Sophia Coppola's film The Beguiled is set during the American Civil War when a wounded Yankee soldier is rescued by the last few staff and pupils at a largely abandoned school for young women in the deep south. Can hospitality overcome suspicion? And who has the upper hand? Moving Kings, Joshua Cohen's new novel, is set in New York and Israel Soul of a Nation at Tate Modern explores art in the age of Black Power. Work by African American artists exploring and celebrating black identity 1963-1983 Regent's Park Theatre's latest production is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' French Revolution-set A Tale of Two Cities. Ozark is a new series on Netflix about a Chicago lawyer whose debt to a Mexican drug lord means he has to relocate with his family to Missouri Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Ellen E Jones, Sathnam Sanghera and Susannah Clapp. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Committee, Terrence Malick, Neel Mukherjee, Frieze Sculpture, Gay Britannia radio drama  

Committee is a new musical that's opened at London's Donmar Warehouse. Based on the parliamentary investigation into Kids Company. It might seem like an unorthodox source of inspiration , but so were London Road and Jerry Springer Terrence Malick's latest film Song To Song has polarised critics; will our reviewers s be beguiled or bewildered? State of Freedom by award winning author Neel Mukherjee is a novel which explores the interweaving of five stories and five lives via an initially invisible thread. There's a free outdoor exhibition of sculpture in Regents Park with 23 works from contemporary artists. The BBC's Gay Britannia season includes a drama on Radio 3 exploring the troubled creative process behind the 1961 film Victim which dealt with homosexual blackmail. Also a series of radio essays The Love That Wrote Its Name exploring significant and long-lasting gay partnerships among important figures in the arts. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Deborah Moggach,Kate Williams and Geoffrey Durham. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Alone In Berlin, Ink, Christopher Wilson, White Cube, Earl Slick and Lied  

Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson in a film adaptation of Hans Fallada's novel Alone In Berlin - based on a true story of small scale wartime heroism. Ink - a play about Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of The Sun in 1969 and the grubby world of redtop journalism.Opening at London's Almeida Theatre. Christopher Wilson's novel; Zoo, a comedy set in Stalin's dying days, about a boy who inadvertently becomes the food taster for The Man of Iron Dreamers Awake is a new exhibition at White Cube Gallery looking at women in the Surrealist movement and its lasting influence on female artists 2 TV music documentaries about famous rock sideman including Earl Slick (who played guitar with David Bowie, John Lennon and many more) and Becoming a Lied Singer in which Baritone Thomas Quasthoff gives his personal guide to Lieder - poems of nature, love and death for solo voice and piano. Tom Sutcliffe's guests will be Stephen Hough, Georgie Hopton and Natalie Haynes. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Baby Driver, Gloria, Crimes Of The Father, Germany at Tate Liverpool, Gypsy  

Edgar Rice's film Baby Driver is a high-octane thriller about a getaway driver who has to do "one last job" before he can get out of a life of crime. It has a fantastic soundtrack, but is that enough? Gloria at The Hampstead Theatre is a play by Pulitzer-nominated American playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. It's comic drama about ambition, office warfare and hierarchies Thomas Keneally's latest novel Crimes Of The Father deals with a fictionalised sex abuse case against the Catholic church in 1990s Australia Tate Liverpool has a new exhibition: Germany, Portraying A Nation 1919-1933, looking at the work of painter Otto Dix and photographer August Sander capturing life between the wars Netflix new series Gypsy is about a therapist who develops intimate and possibly dangerous relationships with people in her patients' lives Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Rowan Pelling, Rosie Boycott and Cahal Dallat. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Barbershop Chronicles, Slack Bay, Amanda Craig, Sidney Nolan, GLOW  

Inua Ellam's play Barbershop Chronicles has opened at London's National Theatre. It's about the intimate and almost-sacred masculine world of black barber shops around the world. French film Slack Bay is a comedy about a series of mysterious seaside murders. Starring Juliette Binoche, it mixes professional actors with complete novices and slapstick comedy with cannibalism and gender-fluid relationships Amanda Craig's latest novel The Lie Of the Land tells the story of a London couple who move to the country under straitened circumstances and uncover a grisly murder in their new home Birmingham's Ikon Gallery is staging an exhibition of a series of Sidney Nolan portraits, as part of the commemoration marking the centenary of his birth. He was an Australian who moved to the UK at the age of 32 but whose work never reflected his new home. GLOW is a new Netflix series from the makers of Orange Is The New Black, set in the world of women's TV wrestling in the 1980s. It's all big hair, power ballads, coke snorting and grappling. Emma Dabiri's guests are Catherine O'Flynn, Liz Jensen and Sarfraz Manzoor. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Raphael, My Cousin Rachel, Common, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Riviera  

My Cousin Rachel is an atmospheric adaptation for the big screen of Daphne Du Maurier's novel starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin and directed by Notting Hill director Roger Michell. Like her most famous novel "Rebecca" the narrative revolves around a large private estate in Cornwall and a powerful woman whose life is an enigma. Arundhati Roy was the first Indian woman writer to win the Booker Prize, which she won in 1997 for her novel The God of Small Things, and which sold over 8 million copies world wide. A political activist and writer, it has taken her 20 years to publish her ambitious second novel, The Ministry of Untold Happiness. Raphael: The Drawings at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford includes 120 drawings by the celebrated Renaissance artist, including 50 from the Ashmolean's own collection which is the largest and most important in the world. The drawings are taken from across Raphael's brief but brilliant career, taking visitors from his early career in Umbria through his radically creative years in Florence to the period where he was at the height of his powers in Rome, working on major projects such as the Vatican frescoes. Common, a world premiere by DC Moore, and directed by Headlong's Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin opens at the National's Olivier Theatre. An epic new history play co-produced by the National Theatre and Headlong, it is set in the early days of the Industrial Revolution when the common land of England is under threat. Common stars Anne-Marie Duff. Set against an awe-inspiring backdrop of the Riviera in the South of France, Riviera is a new ten part television series from Sky, and stars Julia Stiles as Georgina Clios, the smart and resourceful second wife of a billionaire banker who dies in a yacht explosion. This catastrophe sets in motion a dramatic chain of events that exposes the darker side of the Riviera's glitz and glamour and the global art market. Conceived by Neil Jordan, who co-wrote the first episode with John Banville, the series also stars Adrian Lester.

Wonder Woman, Persuasion, Lucienne Day/Barbara Brown, Adam Thorpe, Ackley Bridge  

The long- awaited Wonder Woman blockbuster movie has arrived amongst us mere mortals - prepare to be overwhelmed, puny mortals. A stage adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion has opened at The Manchester Royal Exchange. It's taken an unconventional approach and includes silver swimwear and a foam party - is this a step too far for a classic text or a bold new interpretation? The work of designers Lucienne Day and Barbara Brown can be seen at The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. Their fabrics seems fresh, familiar and distinctive six decades after they were created Adam Thorpe's latest novel Missing Fay deals with a familiar trope in novels; the missing child. How does he mine something new from a seam which has been worked so often before? Channel 4 has a new drama based around a fictional school in Yorkshire. Ackley Bridge is being promoted and scheduled to get a lot of attention, but how well does it deal with modern education? Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Paul Farley, Bidisha and Susan Jeffreys. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Woyzeck, The Other Side of Hope, Handmaid's Tale, Elif Batuman, California exhibition  

John Boyega plays the title role in Woyzeck; an updating of a 19th century German play about a man driven mad by circumstances. How well has the Star Wars actor adapted to the stage? And has Jack Thorne - who adapted Harry Potter for the theatre - made the play relevant for today's audience? Finnish film director Aki Kaurasmaki's latest film is The Other Side of Hope - told in his trademark low key, quiet manner, it deals with a refugee arriving in Helsinki. There's a new TV version of The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, coming to Channel 4. It's had rave reviews in the US, will it beguile our reviewers? Turkish/American writer Elif Batuman's latest novel The Idiot is set over the course of one year in a student's life at Harvard in the late 1980s. Her academic pursuits and longing for love are revealed in the novel (which intentionally shares its title with Dostoevsky) California Designing Freedom is a new exhibition at London's Design Museum celebrating the enormous range of items designed in The Golden State. It ties together the explosion in design with the hippy movement and mind-expanding drugs. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Louise Doughty, Giles Fraser and Maev Kennedy. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Life of Galileo, Colossal, Jimmy McGovern, Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Threshold at Somerset House  

Joe Wright directs Brecht's Life of Galileo at The Young Vic, reimagining it with a Chemical Brothers rave soundtrack... In science fiction black comedy Colossal, Anne Hathaway plays a woman coping with alcoholism whose alter ego just happens to be a giant space monster. It's a kaiju movie Jimmy McGovern's newest TV offering is Broken which stars Sean Bean as an inner city priest coping with escalating personal and parish pressures. Lucy Hughes-Hallett's novel Peculiar Ground deals with the construction and changing nature of the walls of a country estate across the centuries. Thresholds is an exhibition by Matt Collishaw at Somerset House, re-staging one of the earliest exhibitions of photography in 1839, when William Henry Fox Talbot showed his first prints. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are John Mullan, Laline Paull and Tiffany Jenkins. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Salome, Frantz, Anything's Possible, Giacometti, 3 Girls  

Yaël Farber's Salome at NT tries to retell a biblical story many of us half-know. Has she been misrepresented and misunderstood and is she more than the scheming woman who arranged the decapitation of John The Baptist? Francois Ozon's bilingual film Frantz is a tale of love and lies in France and Germany shortly after the First World War. If telling the truth is too painful, can it be okay to lie? Anything is Possible is a new novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout. Continuing the story of characters from her previous highly-acclaimed work, My Name Is Lucy Barton. Tate Modern's newest exhibition looks at the career and output of sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti BBC TV has dramatised the Rochdale sex abuse scandal. Starring Maxine Peake, it's not easy viewing but what what light can a drama shine upon such a notorious case? Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Blake Morrison, Viv Groskop and Barb Jungr. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Angels In America, The Ferryman, Harmonium, Laurent Binet, Eric Gill  

A revival of Tony Kushner's epic play about the US AIDS epidemic Angels In America is being staged at London's National Theatre. It's nearly 8 hours long (in two parts); is it still pertinent and is it worth sitting through? Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem was an enormous theatrical success and his latest The Ferryman has just opened at London's Royal Court Theatre. Set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland it deals with one family's unavoidable and unwilling involvement The family at the heart of Japanese film Harmonium seem to have a functioning but unemotional stability. And then a stranger comes into their lives and slowly things change. For the better or for the worse? Laurent Binet's new novel The Seventh Function of Language is about the death (or was it an assassination?!) of Roland Barthes - the death of the author of "The Death Of The Author" Eric Gill was one of the finest sculptors of the 20th Century. And also a paedophile. A new exhibition in his home village of Ditchling, tries to see if it's possible to appreciate his art as entirely separate from his biography Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Damian Barr, Maria Delgado and Gillian Slovo. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Lady Macbeth, Obsession, See What I Have Done, Whitechapel Gallery, Griefcast  

British film Lady Macbeth has been much praised for the central perfomance by Florence Pugh as the intelligent complicated 19th century woman sold into marriage and realising that her soul is being stifled. Ivo Van Hove's prodiuction of Obsession - an adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice stars Jude Law. It should be theatrical gold... Sarah Schmidt's debut novel See What I Have Done deals with the still-unsolved Lizzie Borden case from 1892: "Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks" London's Whitechapel Gallery has a new exhibition: Iself, bringing together the work of artists exploring their own personal identity Griefcast - In Cariad Lloyd's podcast she talks with fellow comedians about their own experiences of coping with grieving, mourning and death and mortality. How funny can such a grim subject be? Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Alex Preston, Andrea Rose and Kit Davies. The producer is Oliver Jones.


Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy star in in Their Finest; a new film about the vital role of movies in Britain during The War. A revival of Christopher Hampton's 1970 play The Philanthropist has opened in London. It features a glittering array of actors best known for their TV work. How well do their skills transfer to the stage? Lisa McInerny won The Bailey's Prize 's for her first novel The Glorious Heresies. Her latest, The Blood Miracles, continues that story with same characters many years older and a little wiser Ashley Bickerton is a painter and sculptor whose work is much admired (and collected) by Damien Hirst, among others. A new exhibition at Hirst's Newport Gallery includes work from throughout Bickertion's career The Hours is a new radio dramatization of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer winning book inspired by Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. Starring Rosamund Pike it has the tricky job of maintaining three simultaneous plotlines set in different eras Viv Groskop's guests are Emma Jane Unsworth, Ryan Gilbey and Ekow Eshun. The producer is Oliver Jones.

The Handmaiden, White Tears, Guards at the Taj, Born to Kill, Game Changers  

South Korean film director Park Chan-Wook's latest film "The Handmaiden" is based on Welsh writer Sarah Waters' hit 2002 novel Fingersmith about a lesbian love affair in Victorian England transported to 1930s Korea. Award winning British writer Hari Kunzru's fifth novel, White Tears, is a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music and Delta Mississippi Blues. American Pulitzer Prize nominee Rajiv Joseph's new play opens at the newly refurbished Bush Theatre in London and tells the story of two guards at the Taj Mahal, as the magnificent monument nears completion in Agra, India in 1648. Born to Kill is a new four-part drama exploring the mind of Sam, a teenager on the verge of acting out suppressed psychopathic desires. As this chilling coming of age drama unfolds, decades of deceit are revealed and Sam's family's long buried past returns with a vengeance. Starring Romola Garai (The Hour, Suffragette) and Daniel Mays (Line of Duty). And Game Changers, Another Way to Play at Somerset House in London shows how designers and artists continuously adapt the mechanics of familiar games, featuring chess, billiards and mazes.

Consent, A Quiet Passion, Jon McGregor, Tate St Ives, Car Share and Bucket  

Nina Raine's new play Consent at London's National Theatre explores the tricky intertwining of modern relationships and legal niceties The life of American poet Emily Dickinson is dramatised in Terence Davies' new film A Quiet Passion. Does enough happen to make it dramatically interesting? Jon McGregor's newest novel Reservoir 13 looks at a community exploring the loss of one family, as life goes on for everyone else Tate St Ives is reopening after many months of closure for development. The first exhibition is The Studio and The Sea We look at a couple of car-based TV comedies; Peter Kaye in Car Share + Miriam Margolyes in Bucket And in the podcast, our guests reveal what they enjoy in the world of arts when they're not reviewing it for us Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Katie Puckrick, Alex Clark and Kevin Jackson. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Ghost In The Shell, Don Juan in Soho, Les Murray, Comics at Kelvingrove Museum, Harlots on ITV  

Scarlett Johansson plays Major in the manga-based action film Ghost In The Shell. David Tennant leads the cast of Don Juan in Soho. Patrick Marber's play, based on Moliere's original - which debuted a decade ago - reaches London's West End for the first time Australian poet Les Murray's latest collection On Bunyah cogitates on the rural spot in New South Wales where his ancestors settled and lived - Wild Horses Creek, known to the aboriginal Australians as Bunyah The Art of Comics, a new exhibition in Glasgow, looks at the work of comicbook artist Frank Quitely, "from Krypton to Kelvingrove.. from Gotham to Glasgow". Harlots is a TV series starting on ITV Encore - is it too good to be hidden away on a niche channel? Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Miranda Carter, Jim White and Robert hanks. The producer is Oliver Jones.

RSC's Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, The Eyes of my Mother, David Vann, BBC's Decline and Fall  

The RSC is staging Shakepeare's Roman plays, beginning with Julius Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra - how have they made them chime for today's audiences? The debut film from American director Nicolas Pesce The Eyes of my Mother is a black and white gothic tale of murder, home-invasion incest, necrophilia, abduction, imprisonment, involuntary surgery..I could go on, but I think you've probably got the idea by now. Is it any good? David Vann's new novel is Bright Air Black, a poetic prose retelling of the Medea story. BBC TV had adapted Evelyn Waugh's Decline & Fall as a 3 part series starring Jack Whitehall - do our reviewers think a good job has been done with a classic novel? Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Christopher Frayling, Kathryn Hughes and Alice Jones. The producer is Oliver Jones.

Griff Rhys Jones in The Miser, Personal Shopper, George Saunders, Michelangelo and Sebastiano, Carnage  

Griff Rhys Jones plays the title rol in a freely adapted production of Moliere's The Miser Personal Shopper stars Kristen Stewart as a young woman trying to communicate with her dead twin brother beyond the veil President Abraham Lincoln never overcame his grief at the death of his son Willie and American novelist George Saunders has written Lincoln In The Bardo which explores how he tried to cope An exhibition of works by Michelangelo & Sebastiano at London's National Gallery explores the two artists mutually supportive and inspiring relationship Simon Amstell has created Carnage, a mockumentary from the future looking at the rise of veganism. Tom Sutcliffe's guests are Mark Ravenhill, Rosie Boycott and Melissa Harrison. The producer is Oliver Jones.

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