TV Review: The Split Series 3

The third and final series of The Split is hugely enjoyable, a wonderful showcase for Nicola Walker, Deborah Findlay and more 

“What is the secret to the good divorce?”

The glossy soap stylings of The Split are the kind of things that often get referred to as guilty pleasures but I would argue that there’s nothing guilty about enjoying Abi Morgan’s legal drama which has now finished its third and final series. And throwing in death, deception and yes, divorce, it ups the ante most successfully, delivering a satisfying set of conclusions for the Defoe family.

With Hannah hoping that divorce to Nathan might not actually be the end, Nina balancing new motherhood with an affair, and Rose about to adopt with James, the first episode throws its balls up in the air. And by the end, we’ve met Nathan’s new – pregnant – girlfriend, seen Nina tumble too deep and also watched someone die, setting the path for the three sisters to unwind with tears and recrimination aplenty, plus a whole lotta family love too. Continue reading “TV Review: The Split Series 3”

TV Review: The Split Series 3 Episode 1

Nicola Walker! Deborah Findlay! Lara Pulver! Annabel Scholey! Bonus Jemima Rooper! Anna Chancellor still to come! The return of The Split gets me overexcited

“She’s on the divorce front line”

Just a quickie to welcome back this delightful nonsense to our screens. The first episode of Series 3 of The Split picks up a few months down the line from the aftermath of the last series, with Nicola Walker’s Hannah and Stephen Mangan’s Nathan now negotiating the terms of their divorce and aiming – at first at least – to do it as amicably as possible given their intense family entanglements.

Of course, it’s never as simple as all that and in a heartbreakingly well done scene, Hannah’s hopes of reconciliation are dashed when Nathan sneaks in his swanky new girlfriend Kate (a brilliantly brittle Lara Pulver) to a big reunion party. And as the Defoe family are always marking some occasion or other, there’s a family bash in which so much awkwardness has to be endured. Continue reading “TV Review: The Split Series 3 Episode 1”

Film Review: Little Joe (2019)

Currently on iPlayer, I dip into the wonderfully weird and entirely too plausible world of Little Joe

“Which of your children will you choose?”

Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe comes off as something of a twisted fable, its leanings towards psychological horror making it a queasily gripping thriller. Directed and co-written by Hausner with Géraldine Bajard, it also blooms magnificently with Martin Gschlacht’s cinematography and Katharina Wöppermann’s production design.

Emily Beecham’s Alice is a plant breeder who has developed a new flower that could set the markets on fire. Designed for maximum Insta-likes, it produces hormones to make its owners love it even more. But the effect it seems to be having on people in the lab means that in true Little Shop of Horror style, it turns out you can’t trust it. Or actually, can you? Continue reading “Film Review: Little Joe (2019)”

News: One year of National Theatre at Home – New titles added

Ahead of National Theatre at Home’s one year anniversary on 1 December, the National Theatre has today announced the next filmed productions to be added to the streaming service, which is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Joining the platform today is Simon Godwin’s critically acclaimed 2018 production of Antony & Cleopatra in the Olivier theatre, with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo playing Shakespeare’s famous fated couple. Then the iconic and multi-award-winning production of War Horsebased on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, will be available from 1 December until 31 January 2022 on demand internationally for the first time since its premiere 14 years ago. It will be available with British Sign Language, audio description and captions. Continue reading “News: One year of National Theatre at Home – New titles added”

The National Theatre adds Hansard and Treasure Island to streaming platform National Theatre at Home

The National Theatre has today announced the latest productions to be made available on its streaming platform, National Theatre at Home. Launching today are two National Theatre productions: HansardSimon Woods’ witty and devastating play, directed by Simon Godwin (Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night); and Treasure Islandadapted by Bryony Lavery (Frozen, Kursk) from the iconic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson and directed by Polly Findlay (Antigone, Beginning). New productions are added each month and since launching in December 2020, there are now 28 productions available to stream on the platform.   Continue reading “The National Theatre adds Hansard and Treasure Island to streaming platform National Theatre at Home”

TV Review: His Dark Materials, Series 2

No spoilers, but the second series of His Dark Materials is a continued absolute triumph

“Your duty is to protect the girl…and the boy”

We may have lost an episode of the second series of His Dark Materials to the pandemic but you really couldn’t tell, its atmospheric and elegiac storytelling feeling like some of the most mature work on screen right now. Jack Thorne’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novel(s) manages a brilliant balance between faithfulness and invention, an added scene between Mrs Coulter and Lee Scoresby is a sensational addition. And the direction from Leanne Welham and Jamie Childs keeps the show looking amazing.

From Lyra’s enduring guilt over Roger’s demise in the Series 1 finale, to climactic struggles that lead to some truly traumatising conclusions, the odyssey that Lyra and Will take from their Oxfords to Cittàgazze and beyond is nothing short of stunning. Dafne Keen’s Lyra remains as intellectually curious as ever but Amir Wilson’s Will takes the spotlight as he’s forced to reckon with the weight of responsibility forced onto his shoulders. And he is achingly good, a new maturity coming forth episode by episode. Continue reading “TV Review: His Dark Materials, Series 2”

Book review: Time To Act – Simon Annand

Simon Annand’s Time To Act is a beautiful book of photos capturing actors in the minutes before they go on stage

Tackling the constraints of the pandemic in its own way, Simon Annand’s fantastic new book of photos Time To Act has launched a virtual exhibition of some of the photographs which has now been extended to until Christmas. It’s an ingenious way of sharing some of the hundreds of images from the book and should surely whet the appetite for either just buying it now or putting on your list for Santa to collect soon.

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News: virtual exhibition of Simon Annand’s backstage photography to accompany new book Time To Act

New virtual exhibition of stars of stage and screen, including Andrew Scott, Dame Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Jake Gyllenhaal, backstage by legendary theatre photographer Simon Annand

The thrilling experience of seeing actors live on stage is under threat during the present Covid restrictions. Theatres have been closed and this new book – Time To Act – reminds us of what we are missing. Through the eyes of this legendary photographer we observe how the performers get ready to astonish their audience.

To celebrate the publication of Simon Annand’s Time To Act, a virtual exhibition will be launched on 5th October (TimeToActPhotos.com) showcasing selected images from the book; some of which will be available for sale. The virtual exhibition will be re-hung on a weekly basis until early November.
Continue reading “News: virtual exhibition of Simon Annand’s backstage photography to accompany new book Time To Act”