How do we acknowledge the mess that Britain made in 1947 when the Indian subcontinent was carved into two countries? This is the central question underlying Howard Brenton’s caustic new play. Drawing The Line explores the moment when the line between India and Pakistan was made and British rule in India ended.
Now fully restored, with its chequered Flemish floors, semi-circular gallery and portico inspired by a Roman triumphal arch, the Rubenshuis, Ruben’s home in Antwerp, is one of the most popular attractions in a vibrant city, just under an hour’s train journey from Brussels.
‘Hansel and Gretel’ emerges here as a clever, imaginative, splendidly sung and designed festive bauble, suitable for all the family. And in a different key altogether, Swedish gothic and vampirism meets sweet innocence in the outstandingly beautiful and moving ‘let the right one in’.
Shobana Jeyasingh moves on to new territory with Strange Blooms at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Here she collaborates with composer Gabriel Prokofiev lighting by Guy Hoare, costumes by Fabrice Serafino and set design by Bronia Housman.
Merely a year separates the Leonard Bernstein musical Candide and J C Sherriff’s The White Carnation but they could have come from different planets.
I first came across the work of Delhi born artist Dayanita Singh in an exhibition and book, Myself Mona Ahmed (2001), a photo-essay about an aging eunuch transsexual (hijra) living in a graveyard in Old Delhi. In this extraordinary body of work – the book contains various different kinds of text alongside the photographs) – one sensed not only compassion, but a collaboration between the person in front of the camera, and the one looking through the lens.
Merryn Williams gets an insight into the craft of the prose poem by reading John Freeman’s new collection
Plum Busby’s Christmas Extravaganza! Friday 29 November. The Tommyfield, 185 Kennington Lane, SE11 4EZ.
* This issue of London Grip features new poems by: *Murray Bodo *Ian House *Louise Warren *David Cooke *Benjamin Smith *Kerrin P Sharpe *Stephen Claughton *Martyn Crucefix *Sue Rose *Carol DeVaughn *Stephen Oliver *Merryn Williams *Sarah Glaz *Brian Docherty * Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya *Graham Burchell *Nancy Mattson *John Snelling *Vaughan Rapatahana *Kate Foley *Martin Burke *Robert(…)
Paul McLoughlin reviews a collection set in the 1930s which recreates a lost age that was both golden and flawed.
Thomas Ovans glances back at the ITV series of Poirot adventures which recently came to an end
It is always interesting to pinpoint the moment when one becomes conscious of a change of mood or orientation in contemporary artistic practices. Something has emerged that offers quite a different tonic. This ‘something’ might be termed ‘mindful matter’: it is materialism with a twist, or with a new twist.