Saturday Review

              Saturday Review

              Tom Sutcliffe and guests discuss the week’s cultural highlights on BBC Radio 4.

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                Weekly
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              Recent episodes (10)

              • Mad Max, Cornelia Parker, Pirates of Penzance,Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, TC Boyle 16 May 15

                Sat, 16 May 15

                Duration:
                42 mins

                Artist Cornelia Parker's contribution to The British Library's Magna Carta octocentennial exhibition is an embroidery interpretation of the Wikipedia page for this cornerstone of the British constitution. What does it add to the commemorations? There's a new Mad Max film, "Fury Road", with Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson in the title role - it's two hours of more-or-less non-stop action and taken decades to reach the screen; is it worth the wait? Film director Mike Leigh is a big fan of the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. He has been working with English National Opera on a staging of The Pirates of Penzance -how does his improvisational working style fit with the formatted world of opera? Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was Susanna Clarke's 800 page novel of magic in 19th Century England. It's been turned into a 7-part TV series by the BBC American novelist TC Boyle's newest work is The Harder They Come, about gun control and mental illness in the USA

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              • The Vote, The Crow Eaters, Girlhood 09 May 15

                Sat, 9 May 15

                Duration:
                42 mins

                The Vote is a comedy set in a polling station on election night, performed live at the Donmar Warehouse and simultaneously broadcast on More4. Bapsi Sidhwa's novel The Crow Eaters is a classic of Pakistani writing; a darkly humorous tale of a family in Lahore in the early 1900s. The French film Girlhood tells the story of the lives of a group of young black Parisiennes. We look at a couple of works at this year's Brighton Festival on an avian theme: Dawn Chorus and Murmuration. And Grace and Frankie is a new comedy series starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

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              • Everyman, Far From The Madding Crowd, Empire, Anne Enright, Christopher Williams 2 May 15

                Sat, 2 May 15

                Duration:
                42 mins

                Carol Ann Duffy has adapted the 16th century morality play Everyman for London's National Theatre, with Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role. There's a new film version of Far From The Madding Crowd, this time with Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene - is it fair to compare it with the 1969 version? Empire is a TV phenomenon in the US; a tale of power and intrigue at a hip hop record label - like a black Dynasty crossed with King Lear - it has drawn unprecedented audiences and now it's come to the UK. Anne Enright's novel The Green Road tells the individual stories of a geographically-dispersed Irish family who are brought back togther for a family gathering with all the pressure that unavoidably ensues. A retrospective exhibition of Christopher Williams photography at The Whitechapel Gallery in London looks at the unexpected beauty and cultural resonance of commercial, industrial and instructional photography.

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              • Toni Morrison: God Help The Child; Eugene O'Neill: Ah Wilderness!; British Museum: Indigenous Australians; Film: A Pigeon Sat On A Branch...; BBC Storyville: Himmler 25 Apr 15

                Sat, 25 Apr 15

                Duration:
                42 mins

                Toni Morrison's new novel, God Help The Child explores issues including skin colour prejudice, child abuse and justice. Eugene O'Neill's 1933 play Ah Wilderness! is one of his less-performed works. He described it as a folk comedy, is it still funny today? The British Museum exhibition, Indigenous Australians: Enduring Civilisation, looks at 60 millennia of Aboriginal life and art. A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence is the peculiar Lion d'Or winning film from Sweden - is it funny? unnerving? odd? magnificent? BBC 4's Storyville series - bringing the best foreign documentaries to a British TV audience - has been going for 10 years. We review the latest: "Himmler, The Decent One", which looks at the life of Hitler's deputy through his private correspondence

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              • Theatre: Carmen Disruption, Film: Home From Home, Novel: Caryl Phillips, and Sonia Delaunay exhibition 18 Apr 15

                Sat, 18 Apr 15

                Duration:
                43 mins

                Carmen Disruption is Simon Stephens' radical reworking of Bizet's opera, exploring the place where the actor becomes the character they're playing. Home From Home, a 4 hour long cinematic prequel to the 53 hour long TV series Heimat, tells the tale of a fictional rural German village from the 1840s to the 1990s. Caryl Phillips' latest novel The Lost Child reimagines Wuthering Heights through several interweaving narratives. And an exhibition of the work of Sonia Delaunay at Tate Modern is designed as a radical reassessment of her importance as an artist, showcasing her originality and creativity across the twentieth Century.

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              • Eric Ravilious, Force Majeure, Ice Rink On The Estate, After Electra, Jesse Armstrong 11 Apr 15

                Sat, 11 Apr 15

                Duration:
                42 mins

                Eric Ravilious was one of the finest watercolourists that the UK has ever produced. Born in 1903, he died in 1942 while on duty as an official war artist. Does a new exhibition of his work reveal his genius? In Swedish film 'Force Majeure', an avalanche during a family skiing holiday causes no physical damage but opens fissures in the happy family structure. Olympic gold medalists Torvill & Dean have a new TV series: 'Ice Rink On The Estate', attempting to turn a group of kids from a deprived Nottingham housing estate are turned into an ice dance troupe. There are very few roles for older actresses, but in April de Angelis' play 'After Electra', the main character is 81 years. What difference does it make? The co-writer of Peep Show, Jesse Armstrong has written his debut novel - Can a successful witty TV writer easily make the transfer?

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              • Death of a Salesman, While We’re Young, Alfred Hitchcock, Frames in Focus, Sex and the Church, 04 Apr 15

                Sat, 4 Apr 15

                Duration:
                42 mins

                Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman is one of the greatest American tragedies ever written. In a production to celebrate the centenary of Miller’s birth, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Artistic Director Greg Doran directs Antony Sher as Willy Loman. While We’re Young is Noah Baumbach’s 8th feature film and his second collaboration with star Ben Stiller. It’s a comedy about the generational divide in a technologically driven age. Award winning novelist, biographer and poet Peter Ackroyd turns his attention to Alfred Hitchcock in a new book which details the director’s stormy, controlling relationships with his leading ladies. Frames in Focus: Sansovino Frames is an exhibition at the National Gallery where the frames themselves are the stars of the show. A new television series Sex and the Church, explores the complex question of the church’s attitude towards sex from the birth of Jesus to the present day.

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              • Rules For Living, Blind, Richard III, Acts of the Assassins, Body in Ancient Greek Art, 28 Mar 15

                Sat, 28 Mar 15

                Duration:
                42 mins

                Sam Holcroft's new play, Rules For Living, at The National's Dorfman Theatre shows a family full of traits and ticks that define their relationships. The Norwegian film Blind plays around with perception. The lead character loses her sight and has to reassess her relationship with the world and especially those around her. We've been watching Channel 4's coverage of the re-internment of Richard III. The Acts of the Assassins by Richard Beard could be boiled down to a police procedural about the deaths of Christ's apostles, but it is set simultaneously in the 1st and 21st centuries. Defining Beauty; The Body in Ancient Greek Art at the British Museum looks at the development and influence of Greek sculpture, drawing on their permanent collection and many rarely-loaned works from overseas.

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              • Richard Diebenkorn, Mommy, Frozen, The Shore, Coalition, 21 Mar 15

                Sat, 21 Mar 15

                Duration:
                42 mins

                The first major retrospective of Richard Diebenkorn's work for 25 years opens at London's Royal Academy. Does this new show restore his reputation as a serious artist? A new Channel 4 drama "Coalition" dramatises the negotiations which took place immediately after the last general election. A revival of Bryony Lavery's award winning play Frozen opens at the Park Theatre in London tells the story of the disappearance of a 10-year-old girl, Rhona, through three protagonists: the girl's killer, her mother and a New York psychiatrist. Set on a collection of islands off the coast of Virginia, Bailey longlisted debut novel "The Shore" by Sara Taylor interweaves stories that trace different generations of the same family over the course of 150 years. In "Mommy" 25 year old Canadian director Xavier Dolan returns to the theme of mothers and sons. How does he portray the pressures inflicted by the chaotic, testosterone fuelled madness of a 15 year old boy.

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              • Alexander McQueen, Suite Francaise, X+Y, Antigone, Tom McCarthy, 14 Mar 15

                Sat, 14 Mar 15

                Duration:
                43 mins

                When an exhibition of the fashion creations of Alexander McQueen opened in New York, visitors queued for up to 5 hours to get in. It's now at London's Victoria and Albert Museum; will it be such a crowd-puller? Suite Francaise - Irene Nemerovsky's wartime novel (discovered more than six decades after her death) was a best seller. Can it repeat its success as a film? X+Y is a film about a young maths prodigy who is on the autistic spectrum. It deals with his participation in the International Mathematical Olympiad and growing up emotionally. Juliette Binoche plays the lead in Antigone at London's Barbican Theatre. Directed by Ivo Von Hove, it's caused a lot of advance excitement. Tom McCarthy's new novel Satin Island is a meditation on contemporary society that some reviewers have accused of ditching traditionally novelistic techniques like plot and character. Is it all the better for it?

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