If Brexit is the result of a backward-looking nostalgia, the Swinging London of the Chelsea Set was the opposite: it marked a determination to move on from the devastation and austerity left by World War II.
Almost exactly 100 years ago on April 13, in Amritsar, the British Indian Army fired into a crowd of unarmed Punjabis, killing and harming hundreds. Director Phil Wilmott marks this appalling example of man’s inhumanity to man by transporting Othello from Venice and Cyprus to the India of the British Raj.
Five hundred years ago, Peckham was green and pleasant. By the 1980s and 1990s, when two of its most famous fictional characters Del Boy and Rodney Trotter were plying their dodgy wares, even the pigeons wanted to be elsewhere, or so Rodney tells us.
Lucca, Italy, was the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini in 1858 in an apartment that is now a museum to the last and most famous of generations of Puccini maestros, restored to its Second Empire glory, down to a bed, surrounded by columns, that replicates the one in which Puccini was born.
Just as Keats’ elliptic “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” is comprehensible in context, the meaning of Che Walker’s “Time is Love/Tiempo es Amor” is made apparent by this superbly acted and eloquent 90 minutes of drama.
Tolstoy’s great, complex, genre-busting sprawl “War and Peace” is about many things, including Russian nationalism to the extent that when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Stalin reached for the work to promote a patriotic defence of the Motherland.