The Girls, Phoenix Theatre, London — joyous, cathartic

From left, Claire Machin, Sophie-Louise Dann, Joanna Riding, Claire Moore and Debbie Chazen in ‘The Girls’ © Matt Crockett/Dewynters

The crucial to this winning musical makeover of Calendar Girls (right here rather awkwardly stripped of the “Calendar”) comes early on in the poignant enjoy song “Scarborough”. Although John bustles about in the garden, his wife Annie is suddenly struck by what his cancer diagnosis may possibly imply: their everyday life of shared domestic tasks (folding the duvet cover shoving open the stubborn back door) changed irrevocably by his absence. It is a matter-of-reality and really moving evocation of grief. And all through, songwriter Gary Barlow and playwright Tim Firth draw us into characters’ reflections via song, adding depth and doubt. Their thoughtful use of music expands a story which is all about what we reveal and what we conceal and about celebrating the bodies in which we live and die.

Firth (who also wrote the earlier film and play based on the correct story) tends to make a further case for revisiting the material by shifting the concentrate. Right here the renowned disrobing — in which the ladies of a Yorkshire Women’s Institute pose nude, with a few strategically placed buns, for a charity calendar — comes close to the finish. The emphasis is on the journey and on the personal misgivings overcome in the quest to face down the grim reaper — and to purchase a a lot more comfy hospital sofa in John’s memory. The mix of discomfort, comedy and practicality runs by way of the piece, neatly caught in the friction amongst wry lyrics and delicate melodies in many songs.

Is it cheesy? Yes, in locations (a sceptic may well also notice the absence of rain in the opening hymn to the beauties of Yorkshire), and some of the 1-liners land with all the subtlety of an overbaked rock cake. Meanwhile the characters file rather also neatly into types, there isn’t time to deal with their troubles correctly and the conflict introduced by the not-very-rebellious teenagers is pretty tame. But the girls are richly brought to life by the fine ensemble in Firth’s production, which deftly balances humour and heartache. Especially striking are Claire Machin as the choir-mistress with a devilish side and Claire Moore as Chris, Annie’s daft, loving buddy, who comes up with the calendar concept.

At the show’s heart is Joanna Riding’s quietly moving performance as Annie, who picks up on the themes in “Scarborough” with a later, heartbreaking number about the practicalities of bereavement. It’s flawed, for positive, but this joyous, cathartic musical looks set to see out a lot of calendars.

To April 22, thegirlsmusical.com

Section: Arts


Singer And Actor David Cassidy Says He Has Dementia

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Entertainer David Cassidy has revealed that he is now fighting dementia. He’s observed right here right after singing the national anthem at Boston’s Fenway Park in 2009. Mary Schwalm/AP hide caption

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Mary Schwalm/AP

Saying that he’s been diagnosed with the identical condition that struck his mother and grandfather, singer David Cassidy has revealed that he is fighting dementia. The star whose profession was launched by 1970s Television show The Partridge Loved ones had not too long ago told fans that he was on a farewell tour.

“I was in denial, but a element of me often knew this was coming,” Cassidy, 66, tells Folks magazine, in an interview about his situation.

The revelation comes following two current developments: Earlier this month, Cassidy stated that he would no longer tour soon after 2017 and more than the weekend, the website TMZ posted a video from his Saturday evening show, in which the star appears to struggle to recall lyrics and keep his balance.

Last week, as Cassidy discussed the last shows he had planned to play in California, he stated: “I just cannot tour anymore. I know it is time.”

On his Facebook page, Cassidy had recently stated he wanted to perform till the finish of the year, urging fans to come see the final concerts in what he stated were 49 years of touring.

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“I am not going to vanish or disappear forever,” Cassidy wrote.

But it now seems that his overall health concerns have forced Cassidy to hasten his retirement date. His mother, Evelyn Ward, died at age 89 after struggling with dementia for years, Cassidy has stated.

The former teen idol has been an active supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association, auctioning off some of his old costumes to benefit the group right after his mother’s death late in 2012. In current years, Cassidy has also been forced to auction a property and other items as part of bankruptcy and divorce proceedings.

The performer’s official web page also lately highlighted a 1972 interview he did with the BBC, in which Cassidy talked about his life as Keith Partridge — and how he attempted, without success, to elude masses of fans. At the finish of that chat, he was asked if he worried about how ephemeral his fame and achievement might be.

“I never be concerned about it at all,” Cassidy said. “I consider by the time that it does type of die out, I’ll be wanting it to.”

Arts &amp Life : NPR


Moana‘s Deleted Scene Shows Us The Brothers She Almost Had

Now that the Oscars are coming up, it really is a excellent time to re-watch some of the very best films of the year — like Moana, which is nominated for Animated Feature Film and Original Song, thanks to “How Far I will Go.”

It’s a wonderful time to discover much more about these films, too, specially in Moana‘s case. Discarded parts of the story are creating their way to the DVD version, so now there’s a chance for viewers to meet Moana’s brothers in this deleted clip.

In Moana‘s final cut, our heroine is an only youngster, but Disney was into the concept of Moana coming from a enormous family members — with six older brothers, to be exact. In this scene, Moana is determined to beat all six of the boys in a race that has her sail boat competing with their canoes.

Stubborn determination is — or was, prior to her bros got scrubbed from the movie — a family members trait, so it seems.

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Is Josh Hutcherson Going To Make The Next Girls?

Josh Hutcherson went from The Hunger Games to the director’s chair, as the young actor is set to make his directorial debut with Ape.

The film — which Hutcherson also stars in as Travis, a man who suffers from schizophrenia, and packs a lot of tension into its thirteen minutes — is a element of The Massive Script, an incubator and joint venture among Hutcherson’s personal Turkeyfoot Productions, Condé Nast Entertainment, and Indigenous media. The entire gist of The Massive Script is to spotlight new voices and potentially get these short films produced into complete attributes (which is most likely what’s in retailer for Ape), and the complete procedure has shed light on the significance of provided young filmmakers a likelihood to tell stories for their peers — and for its major man, in specific.

“It’s really essential to feel represented,” Hutcherson told Range in a new interview. “I’ve naturally read really a couple of scripts in my life, and there’s a specific way that many writers, who are not my age and didn’t grow up in my atmosphere, try to create a character that I connect with. It happens — there’s some excellent writers who do do that, and these are the ones you fight to make. But most of the time, it doesn’t feel authentic. I believe there’s a certain authenticity when you have young filmmakers and millennials coming up and attempting to inform stories that they care about and connect with. It makes it far more accessible for these audiences that we want to give great content material to.”

In quick: The probabilities of nailing it in the legitimacy division are actually higher if a movie intended for a younger audience is produced by a young filmmaker. Ape has got Hutcherson’s inventive juices flowing: He’s got a couple of short films under his belt on the writing front, and this experience has inspired him to “dive into these,” along with a couple of Tv projects in the operates. Who knows: Possibly he’ll be coming up with a millennial-inspired series to replace a really, very popular one when it concludes its final season.

“I’m also obsessed with the Television show Girls, so I would love take a swing at anything a small far more contained and individual like that as properly,” he shared. We’re into it.

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Donald Glover Will Play Simba In Disney’s Reside-Action The Lion King

Amongst his Golden Globe-winning show Atlanta and his new Childish Gambino album, Donald Glover’s 2016 was generally the stuff of entertainment royalty. Now, the multi-hyphenate is creating that official by becoming the king. The king of the jungle, that is.

Glover will star as Simba in Disney’s upcoming The Lion King reside-action remake, according to director Jon Favreau. The announcement was produced by means of Twitter nowadays (February 17), with Favreau sharing a pic of Glover and the hashtag #Simba. “I just cannot wait to be king,” he wrote, nodding to the song of the identical name from the 1994 animated classic.

Hmm… wonder if Glover will work that Lion King-referencing lyric (“Girl why is you lyin’? Girl why you Mufasa?”) from his Gambino hit “3005” into the film. In any case, imagining a Gambino-fied version of “Can You Really feel the Adore Tonight?” is a lot of reason to be psyched about this casting.

Favreau — who also directed final year’s reside-action remake of The Jungle Book — further announced that James Earl Jones will reprise his part as Mufasa in the upcoming remake. Due to the fact, let’s be sincere, could anybody else fill that part? (No.)

This is just the newest thrilling news involving Glover and the Disney universe. The 33-year-old is starring as Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Star Wars origin film about Han Solo, and also has an unspecified function in Spider Man: Homecoming.

Favreau’s The Lion King currently has no release date, but look out for far more particulars soon (hopefully).

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The Fantastic Wall — the dragons catch the eye

Calling all Komodo dragons. You deserve a pay packet for Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall. You are the most watchable point in this monster adventure set in China 1,000 years ago. Two aerial sequences also catch the breath: massed lanterns floating up from a funeral, later a flying force of primitive hot-air balloons, some conflagration-prone. Oh and the sets and costumes. The palatial kitsch in Song Dynasty China is lavish. Even foreign mercenaries Matt Damon, Willem Dafoe and Pedro Pascal dress to kill.

But it’s the naked warriors that actually take the eye: invading giant dragons, tens of thousands, all going Komodo. They climb pagodas in mass, leap via air (in 3D), open ravening jaws, tear victims in twain or twenty-twain. If the script equalled the digitised spectacle — instead of being co-production-blockbuster-clunky, even with Tony Bourne Gilroy and Edward Legends of the Fall Zwick amongst the writers — we’d all be cheering. There’s an remarkable overhead shot of the dragons massing for the charge. What they ought to now do is mass for another charge: $ 15m, fair pay in my view for their contribution to this $ 150m romp.

Section: Arts


Moonlight — a marvellous poem of light and colour

The greatest films are those that comprehend the distinction amongst words and photos. In theatre there is no difference: stage imagery’s purpose is to empower the playwright’s words. But in cinema the stated and the noticed — even when fugally interconnecting — dwell in diverse spheres.

How? Why? By what manner or magic? Go and see Moonlight. (Or Vertigo, or L’Avventura, or 2001 . . .) Barry Jenkins’s marvellous film is a poem of light and colour, of faces and the play of physique, of passions revealed by glance or gesture. Where its dialogue is all shy withholding or plain statements camouflaging mystery or the unsaid, its visuals — and the music with its matching abstract expressiveness (soul and rap to classical) — define the drama and its which means.

Adapting a play by gay African-American dramatist Tarell Alvin McCraney, Jenkins tells his tale in nearly literal “moving pictures”. If the shy black boy from Miami who grows by means of 3 story stages — successively chapter-headed “Little”, “Chiron” (his actual name) and “Black” — appears diverse in every single and is played by diverse-looking actors, it is since change is being produced pictorial. Like the altering worlds he moves by way of.

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FT writers debate the merits of ‘Moonlight’, ‘La La Land’ and ‘Manchester By The Sea’

He is gay, but closeted. His 1st planet is a bright, wide spot peopled by friends, enemies or mysterious conflations of each. Mum (Naomie Harris) is a drug addict. A bling-wearing dealer (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend half-adopt him. There’s an amazing swimming lesson scene — element baptism, portion pietà (the boy carried into the sea in the surrogate father’s arms) — exactly where the camera bobs beside them in the water like some companion celebrant, immersed in wonder.

The boy goes by way of initiations. In portion two, by the code of the playground, he need to fight his greatest or only buddy, Kevin. He has already been blessed into adore, furtive but transforming, by a sexual encounter with Kevin. (The lyricism of the forbidden, on a beach at night, is directed with gorgeous discretion.) Ahead of that we have observed Chiron change from a bug-eyed twig of a kid, played by Alex Hibbert, to a gangly introverted teen (Ashton Sanders). In element 3, bulked up, he is Black (Trevante Rhodes), a dealer initiated into gangland — but a lonely, puzzled heart even now. 1 day he receives a get in touch with from the long-unseen Kevin.

Picture and epiphany reality and revelation. Even morality is mapped by what is shown, not mentioned. Drug-dealing is condemned in the portrait of its victim, Chiron’s mother. Homosexuality is accepted, even sanctified, in the depths that adore sounds in the boy. At the finish we recognise Black’s enchanted trepidation, as he walks across a café’s auto park at night to his reunion with Kevin, because that car park is a rain-puddled mirage of reflected colours (neon indicators, street lights), diurnal but fantastical. When they meet, words are awkwardly muttered, but words barely matter. That is accurate in life often and cinema often. The eyes have it. The words dance attendance, annotations to a larger harmony.

Section: Arts


‘Happy Sad Confused,’ With Fred Armisen

In his 11 seasons on Saturday Evening Live, Fred Armisen appeared in over 800 sketches, proving to be the most versatile oddball utility player the storied late-evening show could hope for. Because leaving the show in 2013, Armisen has found a groove on Tv rather than setting his sights on film, as several of his fellow ex-SNL-ers have. His Peabody Award–winning show, Portlandia, has just entered its seventh season on IFC. That channel is also house to his deliciously particular documentary spoof series, Documentary Now! And most nights you can uncover him leading the band on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

All of these busy jobs come up on this week’s conversation on “Happy Sad Confused,” but you could delight most in the tangents. From Armisen’s lamenting the end of the nerd era to his creepy plans for his own funeral (he desires to have his tombstone read “Buried Alive. 666”), it is all uniquely Fred.

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Immigration And Infertility Bring Two Mothers Collectively Over One particular &#039Lucky Boy&#039

Lucky Boy

The novel Lucky Boy focuses on two women and two really diverse images of immigration. In 1 story, 18-year-old Soli enters the U.S. from Mexico with out papers. In the other, an Indian-American woman named Kavya is struggling to have a baby with her husband, who performs in Silicon Valley. Their stories converge around a baby, the “lucky boy” of the book’s title.

Author Shanthi Sekaran has a lot in frequent with Kavya: Both are Indian-American and each reside in Berkeley, Calif. But Sekaran tells NPR’s Ari Shapiro that her upbringing produced her curious about a distinct type of immigration story.

“Expanding up, my mother was a pediatrician and the majority of her patients were immigrants,” she says. “And I knew from sort of hanging about her workplace and undertaking her filing and stuff that there were immigrants whose lives have been distinct from mine. You know, I’d see youngsters come in who I did not see at college, who I did not see in my soccer games. So I knew usually that there were different immigrant stories out there, and what I wanted to do with this novel was to recognize that disparity and look at the stories behind it and appear at the ramifications of the differences.”

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Interview Highlights

On how she ready to create the character of Soli

I started just with reading testimonials, … finding out the numbers, learning what the common circumstance — the logistical predicament — of undocumented immigration was like. And then I went a little deeper with things. I interviewed adoptive parents. I spent a couple weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico. While I was there, I got to interview some undocumented — nicely, they had been no longer immigrants, they have been back in Mexico, but they had been undocumented and they had crossed the border clandestinely. …

I began to obtain some inkling of an understanding of what it’s like to live with out papers and to just have this nagging worry — it really is sort of an undercurrent that informs your life. And I discovered that from talking to men and women, from speaking actually to a psychologist who performs with undocumented immigrants, and from reading a lot. And then the rest is me as a fiction writer attempting to think about and trying to plug this data into my character.

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Shanthi Sekaran is also the author of 2008’s The Prayer Area. Daniel Grisales/Courtesy of Penguin Random Property hide caption

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Daniel Grisales/Courtesy of Penguin Random Residence

On the actual detention/adoption story that inspired the book

When I was initial compelled to commence exploring this story, it was due to the fact I had heard about an undocumented Guatemalan lady whose son was adopted away from her. And I was horrified on behalf of the Guatemalan lady, but I also wanted to know what was going by way of the minds of these people who had adopted her son away from her. I imply, I assumed that they thought of themselves as great folks, so I knew there had to be some complexity in there, anything that permitted them to consider that taking an additional woman’s son was OK. And it had anything to do with adore, and it had some thing to do with a true require to be a parent.

On the definition of motherhood

I consider what qualifies as motherhood is receiving up with a kid in the middle of the evening and changing his diapers and feeding him when he doesn’t want to be fed. You know, it’s the grunt work that qualifies a mother as a mother, which is why I consider it is not so straightforward to say that Kavya is proper and Soli is incorrect, or Soli is correct and Kavya is wrong. Motherhood takes place in the moments when we’re taking care of our children, not simply because we have some thing on a certificate, not due to the fact we’ve biologically given birth to a kid.

Arts &amp Life : NPR