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Culture in Full

Theatre review: The Weir | The Sound of Music | Party Politics

THE idea of the supernatural is as old as humanity itself; and the genius of Conor McPherson’s great 1997 play The Weir is that it captures that unique human moment when we tremble on the brink between the ordinary world and the uncanny, as well as hinting that it’s our struggle with the awareness of death that often propels us towards the idea of another world, however chilling.

Theatre
Francis MacDonald

Music review: Francis Macdonald and the Scottish Festival Orchestra Soloists

WATCHING your breath rising in the cold air, listening to the sound of soft strings and harp reverberating around the walls of a wholly peculiar building with freakishly atmospheric acoustics – this show was a true collector’s item by the time the first few notes had been struck.

Music
Jon Cho and Haley Lu Richardson in Columbus

Film review: Columbus

A STORY of love, loss and architecture, Columbus is the sort of exquisitely constructed, beautifully acted drama that’s been edged out of the arthouse circuit in recent years. That’s too bad given it’s exactly the type of movie that benefits from the space and contemplation afforded by cinematic exhibition.

Film
Lewis Howden as playwright Sidney Bruhl and Thomas England as his creative writing student, Clifford. Picture: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan.

Theatre review: Deathtrap

IMAGINE a world in which there are absolutely no nice people – no tenderness, no kindness, no mercy, no real morality; then combine it with all the twists and tropes of a traditional murder mystery, and add a layer of fiendish meta-theatrical jokery by making the central character a playwright.

Theatre
Revered Scottish mezzo Karen Cargill

Music review: The Scottish Ensemble with Karen Cargill

As stand-in replacements go, revered Scottish mezzo Karen Cargill must be right up there. Covering for an indisposed Christine Rice, Cargill was making her debut with the Scottish Ensemble in an eclectic, Greek myth-inspired concert – and her mesmerising, microscopically inflected singing made a fitting counterpoint to the string group’s own fresh, detailed, impeccably articulated playing under guest leader Matthew Truscott.

Music
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra gave a rousing, driven performance

Music review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra with John Butt

Another concert, another stand-in, and another revered musician gamely jumping in to help out at the last minute – in this case period specialist John Butt, the Dunedin Consort’s music director and professor of music in Glasgow, filling in on the podium for an indisposed Raphaël Pichon in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s evening of Schubert and Mozart.

Music
Ben Thomson and Janet Archer were called to Holyrood to explain Creative Scotland's recent controversial funding cuts to MSPs.

Creative Scotland admits cover-up over controversial funding cuts

Creative Scotland has admitted a cover-up over how controversial funding cuts were made - as its chief executive admitted she was “profoundly sorry” over how they were handled.
Lifestyle 63
Zadie Smith PIC: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Book review: Feel Free, by Zadie Smith

Collections of essays, reviews and various forms of literary ephemera are a hard sell, for a number of reasons. But Zadie Smith’s new collection is worth the cover price for one piece alone – “Meet Justin Bieber!” – of which more later. That she is a singular, sensitive and sympathetic writer will come as no surprise to those who have read everything from White Teeth to Swing Time. But in her non-fiction form, she is equally engaging.

Books
Picture: submitted

Scottish Wedding Show returns to Glasgow

To mark the start of the Year of the Young Person and celebrate the return of The Scottish Wedding Show’, a ‘mini’ bride and groom walked hand-in-hand into Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow.

Glasgow & Strathclyde
Graham Costello's STRATA

Under the Radar: Graham Costello’s STRATA

Graham Costello’s career started at the age of six when his father brought home a battered drum kit for him. By his teens he had graduated to performing across Europe with noise outfit Young Philadelphia and Krautrock synth act Outblinker.

Music
A still from Tell me the story of all these things, by Rehana Zaman

Art reviews: Rehana Zaman at CCA | Brandon Cramm at Intermedia | Walter Price at Modern Institute

Rehana Zaman’s films cleverly tease out issues of identity, while Walter Price’s energy and confidence can’t overcome a lack of technique

Art
The Last of the Greenwoods, by Claire Morrall

Book review: The Last of the Greenwoods, by Clare Morrall

Two elderly, reclusive brothers, the Greenwoods, live in neighbouring railway carriages in a field outside Bromsgrove. They share bathroom and kitchen facilities, yet have not exchanged a word in decades. One day a letter arrives from Canada, from a woman claiming to be the sister they thought had been murdered 50 years ago. Meanwhile the young postwoman who delivers the letter is battling her own demons, while simultaneously helping to revive an abandoned railway line with the son of local gentry.

Books
The literary critic and author Stuart Kelly PIC: Jayne Wright

Book review: The Minister and the Murderer, by Stuart Kelly

In 1984, James Nelson, who had served nine years of a life sentence for murder, applied for ordination as a minister in the Church of Scotland. There was widespread media coverage, and deeply divided opinion both within the Church and outside it. After an “emotionally charged” three-hour debate at that year’s General Assembly, the Kirk voted 622 to 425 in Nelson’s favour.

Books
Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer will give evidence to MSPs on Thursday.

MSPs told Creative Scotland is creating 'anxiety and distress'

MSPs have been told that Creative Scotland has created “instability, anxiety and distress” over the way it funds arts organisations, venues and events.
Lifestyle 2
Iain Banks was a hugely successful sci-fi author as well as a best-selling mainstream fiction writer.

Amazon to turn Iain Banks' sci-fi work into new TV series

The science fiction world created by the late Scottish author Iain Banks is set to be turned into a major TV series.
Lifestyle 4
Wes Anderson's film Isle of Dogs

Glasgow Film Festival review: Isle of Dogs

Wes Anderson has made a career out of telling shaggy dog stories in artfully designed fashion so it’s only natural he should make that impulse literal with stop-motion animated canine epic Isle of Dogs. Opening this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, the Japan-set tale finds Anderson filtering the work of Akira Kurosawa, Katsushika Hokusai and Studio Ghibli through his own idiosyncratic gaze to create a dazzling futuristic dystopian fable in which man’s best friend has been banished by a cat-loving mayor following an outbreak of canine flu.

Film
Wes Anderson's new film Isle of Dogs is due to premiere in the UK during the festival. Picture: PA

Excitement as Glasgow Film Festival begins

The Glasgow Film Festival gets under way later, bringing audiences more than 180 movies from around the world during its 12-day run.

Film
Queen Elizabeth II sits next to Anna Wintour (right) as they view Richard Quinn's runway show at London Fashion Week. Picture:  Yui Mok/PA Wire

Wintour ‘rude’ for wearing sunglasses while talking to the Queen

Anna Wintour’s decision to wear sunglasses while in conversation with the Queen at a London Fashion Week catwalk show has been labelled “unacceptable” and “the height of bad manners”.

News 3
Olga Wojtas

Book review: Miss Blaine’s Prefect And The Golden Samovar, by Olga Wojtas

I’ve never been one for “cosy crime” novels, usually finding them overly whimsical, but my interest was piqued by the idea of one inspired by Muriel Spark’s The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie. Linking a debut novel with an icon of the Scottish literary canon is a bold move, after all, and it’s not immediately obvious how something as spiky and complex as Spark’s work could inspire something more straightforward and comfortable.

Books
Robin Robertson PIC: Gary Doak/Writer Pictures

Book review: The Long Take, by Robin Robertson

In the past few weeks, the poetry world has been going through one of its cyclical fits of the conniptions. In the estimable PN Review, the poet and critic Rebecca Watts launched an eloquent broadside against the best-selling and fashionable work of such poets as Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish and Rupi Kaur. It was yet another iteration of a debate – or standoff – that has been going on in poetry for about 300 years. There is – or ought to be – an ongoing interplay between the blatant and the ornate, the polemical and the elusive, the outspokenness of Ginsberg, McGough and Lochhead and the riddling, askance work of Lowell, Moore and Prynne. I sighed when I saw it rearing up against a backdrop of diminishing readership, even though, to be frank, and in a personal capacity, I have always been on the side of the complicated. It is feasible to understand style and technique and yet critique the results.

Books
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