26 Recommends: March 2023

Nicholas Hytner’s new production of Frank Loesser’s classic musical treads a delicate path between tradition and innovation. The jokes are all there and the setting is the same – Broadway lights shining down on men in pinstripes, fedoras, and garish ties – but the director brings a sense of scale and spectacle that makes the show feel more extravagant than ever, oozing wit and sexuality while making the most of its immersive in-the-round staging.

Marisha Wallace’s Adelaide and Celinde Schoenmaker’s Sarah soar throughout, while Cedric Neal’s Nicely-Nicely clambers gleefully over chairs and knocks through encore after encore of “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” with ever-louder cheers and increasingly flamboyant jazz turns.

The staging is not always perfectly realised (the audience are occasionally left looking at a row of backs) but by the time Bunny Christie’s ever-shifting set descends at the end and the actors and promenaders combine for a ‘50s-inspired rave, the fresh energy that the director brought to his Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream prior to the pandemic is undeniably back. And you can’t help but smile along.

– Max Parfitt

My recommendation is Beyond the Streets at the Saatchi Gallery

It’s a massive, slightly chaotic, aggregation of stuff from the worlds of graffiti, punk, new wave, hip hop and rave and every conceivable cross over. From small bits of graphic ephemera – letters, photos, artworks, fliers – to wall-sized art both vintage and contemporary. Overwhelming and exhausting but in a good way!

– Mark Noad

I’ve had a very illuminating month that kicked off with a talk by the magnificent physicist and philosopher Carlo Rovelli. He was discussing his new book Anaximander, about the philosopher of the same name whose insights and conclusions are pretty much the basis of all western / modern science and philosophy…

And while I haven’t read that book yet, I bought another of his books and read it in one sitting. And it’s about Physics. Which I know nothing about. Illuminating. It’s called Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. And it’s a belter!

– Mike Benson

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