Culture

The Reaction Culture Digest

BY James Hardie & Will Hutton   /  24 February 2018

Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired by Her Writing

As a child, Virginia Woolf spent time in St Ives. Fittingly, the Tate has curated an exhibition of art from 1850 to the present day using Woolf’s work and its nascent themes of landscape, domesticity and identity, to explore feminist perspectives, including works by Barbara Hepworth and Laura Knight.

Tate, St Ives, until 29 April

Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World

As its title suggests, Dion’s exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery focuses on the telling of natural histories. Theatre of the Natural World draws on key themes from the American conceptual artist’s oeuvre, looking at installations created over the last eighteen years. Expect birdsong and the unexpected.

Whitechapel Gallery, London, until 13 May

Carmen

Australian director Barrie Kosky’s new production takes liberties with the score, arguing that Bizet never set a definitive edition of his opera. Conducted by the charismatic young Czech Jakub Hrůša, and with a stage reminiscent of a Busby Berkeley set, this production is threaded with flashes of brilliance.

Royal Opera House, London, until March 16

Nils Frahm: All Melody

After a busy year spent in the studio at the storied Funkhaus, the Berlin-based musician, composer and producer is currently touring Europe.  Straddling the electronic and contemporary genres, All Melody is Frahm’s most powerful opus yet, embracing more complex instrumentation and texture, yet maintaining the intimate exploratory nature of his earlier works.

Limited tickets remain; be quick.

London, Bristol, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, until 2 March

Fanny & Alexander

BAFTA award-winning writer Stephen Beresford has reimagined Ingmar Bergman’s study of the fracturing well-to-do Ekdahl family for this, the centenary year of the legendary Swedish film-maker.  Having to concoct various bits of backstory for this new production, the conversion from screen to stage posed a number of challenges for Beresford, who says ‘family is basically all I’m interested in’.  Penelope Wilton returns to the Old Vic, where she made her professional debut, for the first time since 1988.

The Old Vic, London, until 14 April

Lady Bird

Lady Bird appears to have caught the critics’ imagination, taking home a Golden Globe for Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) last month, and billed for big things at the Oscars with a further five nominations, including Best Picture. Greta Gerwig, best known for her collaborations with Noah Baumbach in mumblecore films like Frances Ha, goes behind the camera for the first time to direct Saoirse Ronan in this coming-of-age teen comedy.

Cinemas nationwide, from 23 February

Macbeth

Rufus Norris directs Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff in this new production, the first performance of The Scottish Play at the National since 1993.  Norris’s last encounter with Shakespeare was a quarter of a century ago, whilst Kinnear has garnered much acclaim for his portrayals of Iago and and Hamlet in recent years.  This combination of pedigree and fresh perspective make for an enticing prospect.

The National Theatre, London, 26 February – 23 June

A Sentimental Journey: Martin Rowson and Iain Sinclair

This event will see two leading voices Martin Rowson, cartoonist, and the traveller and writer of all things London, Iain Sinclair, discuss Laurence Sterne’s ‘A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy’. Sterne is best known for writing ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’ but this talk will focus on Sterne’s travel writing in conjunction with a new edition of ‘A Sentimental Journey’ illustrated by Rowson.

London Review Bookshop, London, 27 February

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography

This exhibition unites some of the most striking images captured by this art form in its nascency by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Lady Clementina Hawarden (1822–65) and Oscar Rejlander (1813–75).

Emerging during the reign of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, these four figures did much to bridge the gap between painting and photography and usher in the future of portraiture.  Victorian giants including Charles Darwin, Alice Liddell, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Thomas Carlyle are on display.

If you’re so inclined, you can also follow the ‘Patron’s Trail’, a selection of exhibits personally chosen by amateur photographer and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

National Portrait Gallery, London, 1 March – 20 May

RSNO: Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite

The Firebird was hugely significant for a number of reasons: it was Stravinsky’s first ballet, and gave him his big break, but it also cemented his relationship with Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes, for whom Stravinsky would write arguably the most influential work of the 20th century, The Rite of Spring.

Under the baton of young Swiss conductor, Lorenzo Viotti, the RSNO will also perform Debussy’s Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra with seasoned virtuoso Jean-Efflam Bavouzet in a programme of distinctly French flavours.

The Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 2 March

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 3 March