• From Cairo to Cape Town: 125 years of Africa in photos
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    The Independent

    From Cairo to Cape Town: 125 years of Africa in photos

    For over five generations, National Geographic magazine has dazzled and educated people with its incredible photographs and gripping stories from all corners of the earth. Through spectacular landscapes, bustling cities, local customs, and wildlife photography, it has brought Africa’s boundless beauty and diversity to life through a lens for years. Long before the Travel Channel and Google Images, these photographs celebrated Africa’s spectacular landscapes, incredible wildlife, and diversity – but also reflect edgier stories that speak of rural hardship, environmental threats, and the lasting remnants of forced colonisation.

  • Pity, Royal Court, London, review: Wearisome whimsy and wackiness
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    The Independent

    Pity, Royal Court, London, review: Wearisome whimsy and wackiness

    “Oh, my dear! The noise! And the people!”: Ernest Thesiger's famous remark about the Great War springs somewhat heretically to mind while watching Rory Mullarkey's absurdist cartoon about a society that topples into apocalyptic anarchy in almost nothing flat.

  • East Wall, Tower of London, London, review: Hofesh Shechter's large-scale dance show storms the Tower
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    The Independent

    East Wall, Tower of London, London, review: Hofesh Shechter's large-scale dance show storms the Tower

    In East Wall, directed by Hofesh Shechter, massed forces converge on the Tower of London. The dozen companies involved include a military band, a gospel choir, multiple youth dance groups and more, pouring onto a stage in the moat. East Wall is the culmination of a four-year collaboration between the Shechter company, East London Dance, Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT, working with more than 300 emerging artists and school children.

  • Norse mythology is enjoying an unlikely renaissance in popular culture
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    The Independent

    Norse mythology is enjoying an unlikely renaissance in popular culture

    “What tidings are to be told of Ragnarok? There, he asked questions about Odin and Thor, Loki and Balder, and all the deities of the Norse pantheon. Gylfe’s quest for knowledge is recounted in the “Prose Edda” manuscripts – tales of the gods of Asgard told in the Northland peninsula, recounted by 13th-century Icelandic poet and historian Snorri Sturluson hundreds of years later.

  • Allelujah! Bridge Theatre, London, review: Alan Bennett's new NHS play is a surprisingly high-spirited occasion
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    The Independent

    Allelujah! Bridge Theatre, London, review: Alan Bennett's new NHS play is a surprisingly high-spirited occasion

    I think it’s fair to say this is the only play about our imperilled National Health Service from which I have departed bobbing on a wave of happiness. Or wishing I could somehow have resuscitated the late Judy Garland to be my guest for the evening. Yes, you read that correctly. My guess is she would have laughed her head off with delight at the singalong “Get Happy” finale.

  • Can a stately home be where the art is? Yves Klein at Blenheim is the latest artist intervention in a grand residence
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    The Independent

    Can a stately home be where the art is? Yves Klein at Blenheim is the latest artist intervention in a grand residence

    What exactly is the difference between an Installation and an Intervention? An Installation (I have capitalised the word in order to exaggerate its legitimacy) is the milder mannered – if not the softer spoken – of the two. Artists often do installations in groups of four, six or eight.

  • A Monster Calls, Old Vic, London, review: Patrick Ness's novel is magnificently brought to life
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    The Independent

    A Monster Calls, Old Vic, London, review: Patrick Ness's novel is magnificently brought to life

    Conor O'Malley has got to believe that his mother's increasingly aggressive cancer will respond to treatment. One night he wakes from a recurrent nightmare to find that he's been visited by an alternative dream figure: a giant yew tree who offers to tell Conor three stories if the boy will return the favour by telling him the truth. The monster's stories, initially jeered at by the listener, are allegories that help Conor admit to the excruciatingly conflicted, innermost feelings that he has been hiding from himself.

  • Art technicians: The industry's dirty secret, or all part of the process?
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    The Independent

    Art technicians: The industry's dirty secret, or all part of the process?

    Down a chaotic lane in chaotic Govanhill, the works of two of Glasgow's female Turner Prize-nominated artists, Lucy Skaer and Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, are being produced. Simon Richardson and Simon Harlow are art technicians, a job that people are often surprised to learn exists.

  • TV Review, The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer (BBC2): Beauty in motion
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    The Independent

    TV Review, The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer (BBC2): Beauty in motion

    Probably not, I realise, because you have far nicer things to think about, such as, let’s say, Alex off Love Island, the christening of HRH Prince Louis or the second referendum on Brexit. The other reason is that we take our sewer system so much for granted. The last fatberg to hit the London sewers weighed the equivalent of 11 double decker buses and stretched the length of two football pitches.

  • Edinburgh Festival 2018: 13 best comedy shows to see this year
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    The Independent

    Edinburgh Festival 2018: 13 best comedy shows to see this year

    Getting animated about the Edinburgh festival is easy. Comedy is my life, after all: I run a production company and a venue that hosts Edinburgh previews, as well as actually performing there myself. Of the 1,281 comedy shows listed in the brochure this year, I’ve narrowed it down to just about one per cent.

  • David Hockney, Annely Juda, London, review: Many of these iPhone and iPad drawings are little more than casual crowd-pleasers
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    The Independent

    David Hockney, Annely Juda, London, review: Many of these iPhone and iPad drawings are little more than casual crowd-pleasers

    You can see Hockney at it from time to time at press conferences, drawing on his iphone for light relief perhaps, a little welcome distraction from all the jaw-jaw. Does the iPhone really extend the expressive possibilities for a painter as long practised as this man? The iPhone does limit the possibilities too.

  • Love Chapter 2, Sadler's Wells, London, review: Sharon Eyal's endurance test for the audience as well as the dancers
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    The Independent

    Love Chapter 2, Sadler's Wells, London, review: Sharon Eyal's endurance test for the audience as well as the dancers

    Sharon Eyal’s Love Chapter 2 is exhausting. Six dancers shuffle and sway their way through an hour of dance, never leaving the stage, never letting up. Born in Jerusalem, Eyal has a rising international profile.

  • Frozen 2: Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown in talks to star in sequel
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    The Independent

    Frozen 2: Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown in talks to star in sequel

    Get ready, because the phenomenon that is Frozen is gearing up for a whole new round. Both new actors to the cast are likely best known for their TV work, with both landing Emmy nominations last week: Wood for HBO's Westworld and Brown for NBC's This is Us and Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Also returning are directing duo Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, with Lee writing the film's screenplay, and Peter Del Vecho on board as producer.

  • The ‘macaroni’ scandal of 1772: ‘gay’ trial a century before Oscar Wilde
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    The Independent

    The ‘macaroni’ scandal of 1772: ‘gay’ trial a century before Oscar Wilde

    Much derision was directed toward aesthetes in the late 19th century who, led by Oscar Wilde, declared their devotion to beauty in all its forms. Wilde’s predecessor, George Bryan “Beau” Brummell became an arbiter of men’s fashion in Regency England despite his obscure social origins and lack of interest in women. In the 1760s and 1770s, there was an explosion of public interest in the “macaronis”, fashionable society gents who were given that name because, in the eyes of the penny press of the day, they committed such cardinal sins as rejecting good old English roast beef for dainty foods from continental Europe – such as pasta.

  • TV Preview: World Cup final, Nadiya Hussain and The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer
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    The Independent

    TV Preview: World Cup final, Nadiya Hussain and The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer

    The global TV highlight of the week ahead hardly needs a mention, but here goes anyway: France v Croatia in the World Cup 2018 final. It’ll be everywhere, obviously, but specifically on BBC1 and ITV – kick-off is at 4pm with the build-up starting some hours before. The complicating factor this time round is a clash with the final of the men’s singles at Wimbledon, and coverage of that match will switch from BBC1 to BBC2.

  • As You Like It, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London, review: Shakespeare's summer loving gets a Nineties makeover
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    The Independent

    As You Like It, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London, review: Shakespeare's summer loving gets a Nineties makeover

    A slimy, shallow pool of water filled with floating Quavers packets, Coke cans and bin bags isn’t something you expect to see in Regent’s Park, particularly at the Open Air Theatre where the average picnic is transported in a wicker hamper and served with iced champers on the side. In contrast, the play’s famous Forest of Arden is a ramshackle rural paradise of upcycled tyres turned into hanging baskets and shared feasts of microbrewed beer and fresh fruit. Webster has been down the environmental route before in his superb staging of Dr Seuss’s The Lorax at the Old Vic.

  • The Head & the Load, Tate Modern, London, review: William Kentridge’s piece about Africans in WWI is electrifying
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    The Independent

    The Head & the Load, Tate Modern, London, review: William Kentridge’s piece about Africans in WWI is electrifying

    Sculpture, song, shadow play: William Kentridge’s performance work about Africans in the First World War is an electrifying collage of imagery and ideas. Remembering those whose deaths were often left unrecorded, it finds its own rich language for incomprehension, its own ways of visualising those who were unseen. The load is at the heart of this performance, co-commissioned by 14–18 NOW and staged in on a wide platform in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.

  • How 1970s erotic cinema helped shape modern Spain
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    The Independent

    How 1970s erotic cinema helped shape modern Spain

    Nearly three years since the death of dictator Francisco Franco, politicians are intensely debating the new constitution at the Palacio de las Cortes. Will the right accept abolishing the death penalty and omitting any reference to the Catholic church? Today’s crowd awaits a much more explicit celebration of cinematic sexuality: Las eróticas vacaciones de Stela (Stela’s Erotic Vacations).

  • 'All black women are not the same': How femmes of colour are making a buzz about diversity
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    The Independent

    'All black women are not the same': How femmes of colour are making a buzz about diversity

    When Aminita Francis spotted the advert – an open call for nine young women of colour to put on a show at the Roundhouse in London – she realised she’d never seen such a thing before. “Usually it’s like ‘we need to add a bit more culture, would you mind coming...’” she laughs, but there’s also real frustration at being invited to make work as a lone, token black voice, a diversity tick box. In Hive City Legacy, a new show blending music, spoken word, dance, and circus, everyone onstage is a woman of colour between 18 and 25.

  • Joana Vasconcelos holds up a mirror at the Guggenheim Bilbao
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    The Independent

    Joana Vasconcelos holds up a mirror at the Guggenheim Bilbao

    Joana Vasconcelos has been given the honour of a solo show at the Guggenheim Bilboa: the first Portuguese artist to do so. People often stress the humour in Vasconcelos' work, but for me the artist has moved between the majestic and the highly conceptual effortlessly, and powerfully, throughout her career. This exhibition, I'm Your Mirror, which is a mini-retrospective covering some 25 years in 30 works, allows the viewer to get a flavour of why she has received many accolades.

  • Fifth Element director Luc Besson accused of sexual assault by three more women
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    The Independent

    Fifth Element director Luc Besson accused of sexual assault by three more women

    French filmmaker Luc Besson has been accused by several more women of sexual harassment. Police initially launched an investigation into the Leon director earlier this year after actress Sand Van Roy accused him of rape. “When I saw the complaint from Sand Van Roy, my legs trembled,” said an unnamed casting director who worked with Besson several times between 2000 and 2005.

  • Guy Pearce regrets making Kevin Spacey 'handsy' comments
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    The Independent

    Guy Pearce regrets making Kevin Spacey 'handsy' comments

    Guy Pearce "regrets" the shocking comments he made regarding Kevin Spacey on an Australian chat show. The Australian outlet adds that Pearce told Fairfax Media “while he was not sexually assaulted, he was made to feel uncomfortable” by Spacey. Chat show host Andrew Denton asked Pearce about his personal experience with Spacey who was accused of sexual misconduct by several men in the wake of the Me Too movement.

  • Consent, difficult women, and intimacy coaches... Vicky Jones and Tuppence Middleton on new conversations in theatre
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    The Independent

    Consent, difficult women, and intimacy coaches... Vicky Jones and Tuppence Middleton on new conversations in theatre

    It’s only been four years since Vicky Jones’ play The One was first performed. When Jones wrote the play, it was in part, a response to a sexual encounter in her own life – but she explains that it’s reassuring to see that the personal has now also become political: “It’s a great relief to have this conversation opened out in the way that it has been, the dialogue around those blurred lines and what is and isn’t consent. It focuses on the toxic romantic relationship between Jo, a woman in her late twenties, and her boyfriend Harry (played by John Hopkins), her old university lecturer, who is 10 years her senior.

  • It's 50 years since the end of stage censorship in Britain – but how free are artists really?
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    The Independent

    It's 50 years since the end of stage censorship in Britain – but how free are artists really?

    It’s 50 years since the Theatres Act 1968 came into force, abolishing state censorship of the British stage and enshrining the right of free expression in theatrical works. Censored! Stage, Screen, Society at 50, a new display at the V&A, explores the impact the abolition of state censorship had on theatrical creativity while also asking the question of how free we really are in what we can stage. As curator Simon Sladen explains, we might not have visible state censorship any more, but work can still be shut down by other means.

  • Robin Wright breaks silence over House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey allegations: 'I didn't know the man'
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    The Independent

    Robin Wright breaks silence over House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey allegations: 'I didn't know the man'

    Robin Wright will speak out about her former House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey for the first time since numerous allegations of sexual assault were made against him in a brand new television interview. While other House of Cards stars including Michael Kelly and Joel Kinnaman have previously spoken out about the news, Wright had seemingly distanced herself from the accusations made by several men in the wake of the Me Too movement. In a brand new clip, Wright states she merely knew the Seven actor in a professional capacity only.