Five things to get or see this month

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(331)

Gethsemane - War made Easy - Devil's whore - Q-Tip - Taking liberties


Gethsemane
National Theatre, London; Until 24 February

David Hare's witty new play Gethsemane roots the betrayal of the Labour government in its willingness to abandon its principles in exchange for the good opinion and cash of the wealthy.

Senior civil servants and journalists are shown caught up in the same process. The bitter anger this generates is expressed by Lori, a schoolteacher, and Suzette, the 16 year old daughter of the home secretary. They are the moral centre of the play, railing against New Labour policies from war in the Middle East to the regimentation of the education system.


War made Easy, Blood and Oil
DVDs

Two new DVDs which look at the US's wars. Blood and Oil explores the central role oil has played in US foreign policy and war for decades. In War Made Easy, using archive footage from the Vietnam War and modern media coverage of the war in Iraq, Sean Penn narrates the story of how spin and deception have distorted news coverage of all wars.


The Devil's Whore
Channel 4

The new four part drama on the English Civil War by Peter Flannery, maker of Our Friends in the North, looks promising.

Flannery has said that during his research it became clear to him that the English Civil War "was the first of the revolutions, which paved the way for the French and American revolutions".


The Renaissance
Q-Tip

Q-Tip was part of the legendary 1990s US rap group A Tribe Called Quest.
Just like his previous material his new album is a work of lyrical dexterity. Collaborations with Raphael Saadiq and D'Angelo make for a truly soulful sound. One of the last tracks is "Believe" - a homage to Obama. This is an album full of hope and optimism.


Taking Liberties
The British Library; Until 1 March 2009

This free exhibition collects together fascinating material: posters, pamphlets and leaflets from a host of different campaigns in Britain for civil liberties and human rights, including the struggles of the Chartists and Suffragettes.