War and Peace – a BBC masterpiece

c1536bdc-33e8-4d32-9fbb-280192077276As far as Sunday dramas go, the latest adaptation of War and Peace surely must be up there. It had costumes, fantastic acting, battle scenes and sex scenes. Something for everyone.

I won’t go into the plot. There’s some jolly, peacetime stuff with the nobility of Moscow and St Petersburg. Then Napoleon enters and the young men we’ve got to know enter into war. War and peace.

What made this adaptation so good were three things: the acting, the grandeur and the plotting.

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My 2014 in music and theatre – part two


Bill Bailey‘s work in progress show at the Leicester Square Theatre was my first of 2014 and it was absolutely hilarious and a pleasure to see Bailey’s unique mix of music and straight stand up in such an intimate place.

In complete contrast was Jeff Dunham, a brash American with puppets at Wembley Arena, who had people from all walks of life in stitches with Peanut and Achmed. Also, Jon Richardson, a favourite of mine, cheered me up greatly on one grumpy Friday at the Hammersmith Apollo.

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Review: The Judge starring Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. can really act. He’s best known by many nowadays for his franchise-making role as Iron Man, but he can do serious and emotional much better than you might remember.

The Judge follows him as Hank Palmer, a big-shot lawyer who returns home to his dad, Judge Palmer, and two brothers when his mum suddenly dies. After several tense moments and shouting matches, Hank is eventually forced to stay when his dad is arrested after seemingly hitting with his car and killing a man he twice sentenced to prison.

The ensuing tale is thoroughly effective at stirring up familial emotion. Frank’s two brothers – the gentle giant Glen who missed out on a baseball dream played by Vincent D’Onofrio and Dale, played by Jeremy Strong, who hides behind his video camera – provide an easier access into this stalemate between Hank and his father and are a platform for them to show their true colours through.

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Ventnor Exchange promises to revitalise Island arts scene

There will soon be a new permanent arts space from the team behind the Ventnor Fringe festival, promising to reinvent the Island’s creative scene.

The Ventnor Exchange, located in the town’s old post office, will open in mid-March with a record store open all day until late on Fridays and Saturdays, before a weekday studio theatre is ready in May.

Jack Whitewood, director of the Fringe and Exchange, said: “We want the Ventnor Exchange to be the creative hub of Ventnor and a magnet for those passionate about culture.

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Sherlock: His Last Vow (Spoiler Alert!)

What a way to end the series. It finished with less of a bang than series two, but there was plenty of excitement all the same.

Sherlock’s way of solving the problem of Magnussen was rather less complicated than the way he tried to save his friends from Moriarty – one bullet versus a whole convoluted secret plan is hardly a comparison – but it certainly was unexpected.

Despite the drama of this moment, the whole ending did feel a little disappointing and anti-climatic as it became clear that there would be no massive mystery hanging over the finale. Then, even as this crossed our minds, we realised we had thought too soon. Moriarty’s voice creeping back into the nation’s consciousness was wonderful – especially after we’d seen a reminder of Andrew Scott’s magnificently psychotic persona earlier on.

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Sherlock: The Sign Of Three

Image courtesy of Fat Les http://www.flickr.com/people/24696776@N06

It’s no exaggeration to say season three, episode two of Sherlock was my favourite episode yet.

Looking through Twitter, it seems people were annoyed about the “lack of plot” but then conceded that actually it worked when Sherlock and the little boy, Archie, pointed out how it all tied together near the end.

But that’s how plot works- it doesn’t have to be painfully obvious the whole time! Just trust it and enjoy the ride- this series has taken lots of risks, so they were unlikely to suddenly completely muck it up on John’s wedding.

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Sherlock: The Empty Hearse Is Empty Of Explanations

This was possibly the most anticipated TV episode ever. If you dare go on Tumblr and certain other corners of the internet, it is impossible to avoid talk of Sherlock. That’s a lot of pressure for Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss, but they took it all in their stride and even used it for fan fodder. But was it worth the wait? Yes and no.

If you weren’t desperate for a solid explanation of how Sherlock pulled off his roof jump, then easily, but most fans certainly were. The fake explanations were certainly entertaining, especially the first one when viewers nationwide were simultaneously outraged that they were wasting it on such a silly conclusion, before they all breathed a sigh of relief.

However, it was slightly frustrating that we don’t even know for sure if we received the actual explanation – I’m not convinced that the sequence of events Sherlock told Anderson was correct, although others believe it was. Perhaps only time will tell (or many repeat viewings).

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