Culture

Slaughterhouse Six

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Review of 'Rose Rage', adapted from Willliam Shakespeare by Edward Hall and Roger Warren, Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London

Readers of 'Socialist Review', you have about three weeks to book for a truly exhilarating dramatic experience. At the Haymarket theatre, 12 young men (well, they all looked young to me, which may not be the same thing) under the direction of Edward Hall smash, slash, slither and shriek their way through a tremendous performance of 'Rose Rage', an adaptation in two parts of William Shakespeare's three 'Henry VI' plays. These were the first of Shakespeare's plays.

A Shard Experience

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Review of the Imperial War Museum North, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester. Opens 5 July.

The impact of war on the lives of ordinary people throughout the 20th and 21st centuries is the theme of this new site of the Imperial War Museum, which opens in Manchester at the beginning of July. Set on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, the spectacular new building is meant to signify the concept of a world shattered by conflict, a fragmented globe reassembled in three interlocking shards. These shards represent conflict on land, air and water. Visitors enter through the Air Shard, which is open to the elements.

Days to Remember

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Review of 'Crisis', exhibition by Jess Hurd and Alke Schmidt, Vaults @ The Foundry, Shoreditch, London and of 'You are G8, We are 6 Billion' by Jonathan Neale, Vision £10

'Crisis' is an exhibition on the political upheavals of globalisation and the struggle against war, violence and injustice. Centred around key events such as the protests at the G8 summit in Genoa last year, the recent war in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and the rise of the anti-war movement, the exhibition features the images of Alke Schmidt and the photographs of Jess Hurd.

Fen and Games

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Review of 'The Night Heron' by Jez Butterworth, Royal Court Theatre, London

Jez Butterworth's second play is set in the wilds of the Cambridgeshire fens, in a bleak world where the main characters have fallen back on blind religious faith to sustain them. The night heron in the title is a bird rarely seen--there is cash for a verified sighting--and like Godot in the play of that name never makes an appearance.

Don't Sign Up for War

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Review of 'Red Clydeside' by Alistair Hulett, Jump Up Records

The years 1915 to 1919 saw a huge explosion of working class militancy in response to the First World War which brought Britain almost to the brink of revolution. One of the most important centres of struggle was Glasgow and the Clyde. 'Red Clydeside', a CD written and performed by Alistair Hulett, celebrates its foremost protagonist, John Maclean, and the men and women who contributed to this often neglected period of our history.

The Best Brand Around

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Review of Artists Against the War

Artists Against The War (AATW), is a loose collective of artists, producers, theatre, film and video makers who first met in October 2001 as a direct response to the bombing of Afghanistan. Our aim was to create artful protest against the inhumanity of war and international acts of state-controlled terror.

Partisan Poet

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Review of 'The Invasion Handbook', Tom Paulin, Faber and Faber £12.99

What caused the Second World War? What personal, political or intellectual flaws led Western leaders to create the conditions for the rise of fascism? Tom Paulin's new poem, 'The Invasion Handbook', explores these questions.

Anyone who has enjoyed Tom Paulin's appearances on 'Newsnight Review', his defence of the Bloody Sunday dramas and recent attacks on Israel, will not be surprised to learn that he is a partisan poet. He is on the side of the poor, the republicans, the socialists and the Jews.

Too Young to Take the Rap

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Review of 'Biggie and Tupac', director Nick Broomfield

In September 1996 Tupac Amaru Shakur (2Pac) was shot dead in Las Vegas. Six months later Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls aka Notorious BIG suffered the same fate in Los Angeles. In the period before they were killed, the two men were arguably the biggest rap stars on the planet. To this day neither murder has been solved.

Moving Down the Highways of Life

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Review of 'I'm Going Home', director Manoel de Oliveira

I'm Going Home' is a French film by the little known but prolific Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira. Michel Piccoli's protagonist, Gilbert Valance, is an ageing and principled actor who meets tragedy one night after the show. Like many recent French films 'I'm Going Home' opens with the scene of a play, in this case Ionesco's 'Exit the King' in which Gilbert is the lead. The metaphor soon becomes clear. After the curtain falls he learns that his wife and daughter have been killed in a car accident. He is left alone with a small grandchild whom he tries to comfort and be comforted by.

Selective Memories

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Review of 'The Majestic', director Frank Darabont

In the US in the 1950s thousands of actors, film-makers, writers and technicians had their lives and livelihoods destroyed by an anti-Communist witchhunt. In an atmosphere of mutual suspicion, many of those accused of Communist sympathies named their friends in order to avoid being blacklisted themselves. The studios willingly joined the frenzy, passing on the names of longstanding staff who then had to face the inquisition. Hollywood's cooperation with the show trials has been a shame from which it has tried to make amends on many occasions. 'The Majestic' is its latest attempt.

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