Culture

Tales of Class and Ethnicity

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Review of 'Monsoon Wedding', director Mira Nair

Affluent Lalit Verma and his wife Pimmi welcome a mini-diaspora to their elder daughter Aditi's wedding. Husband to be Hemant is due in from Houston. But even at this stage lover and married boss Vikram is foremost in Aditi's mind. The occasion's workers, wedding contractor PK Dubey and house servant Alice, develop a romance which is more tender and genuine than the pompous gathering they are servicing. Aditi not only ditches Vikram, following a tight squeeze with the law behind a sweating windscreen, but also confesses to a baffled Hemant.

Caught Between Life and Death

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Review of "No Man's Land" by Harold Pinter, Lyttleton Theatre, London

Harold Pinter has a unique distinction - he has two phenomena named after him. The 'Pinteresque' has come to refer to his complex and challenging theatrical style, while a 'Pinterism' is, according to pro-war journalist David Aaronovitch, an ill judged and unjustified criticism of US foreign policy.

So Pinter has made his anti-establishment mark in both theatre and politics. This would make any production of his work worth a look. The current revival of Pinter's 1975 play No Man's Land at the National Theatre comes with other recommendations.

Where the Sun Never Shines

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Review of 'Dark Days', director Marc Singer

Dark Days is the story of a community of homeless people living in a train tunnel beneath Manhattan. These people, some resident in the cavernous tunnels for up to 25 years, literally scratch out a living in the pitch black amongst swarms of rats while high speed trains fly by. This is all very reminiscent of the folk song Dark as a Dungeon Way Down in the Mines. The rain never reaches the tunnels and the sun never shines here either - but there is free electricity and a broken pipe under which to get a cold shower.

Whiteread's Engaging Spaces

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Review of Rachel Whiteread Exhibition

I met a friend outside the Rachel Whiteread exhibition at Edinburgh's Gallery of Modern Art who said he had come out with a feeling of disappointment. In a strange way, it struck me that perhaps that was quite an appropriate response. After all, Whiteread's extraordinary sculptures are all about absence and departure. So it's logical to feel a sort of nostalgia when you look at her work

The Transformation Problem

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Review of Tracy Emin's exhibition 'Telling Tales' at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool

If you like to laugh with your art rather than at it, take a trip to the newly opened Telling Tales exhibition at Liverpool's Tate Gallery. It's worth it for the two Tracey Emin exhibits alone. Until this, I'd heard of her brilliance, her anger and her controversy. But I had no idea just how truly funny she is.

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