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Spectator Play: what’s worth watching, listening to or going to this weekend

12 April 2013

5:53 PM

12 April 2013

5:53 PM

When Lara Pulver hit our screens brandishing a whip and wearing little more than a pair of high heels in the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes-influenced drama Sherlock, she became something of a viral hit, with that episode becoming one of the most-watched items on the BBC website.

Now she’s back, this time in Da Vinci’s Demons, a big-budget American TV series looking at Da Vinci’s ‘lost years’, and we sent Will Gore along to meet her. Here’s what she had to say on Benedict Cumberbatch, Renaissance rulers and James Bond.

From a beautiful woman to beautiful men. This week’s film review stars both Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper – which makes Deborah Ross very pleased indeed. Beyond the Pines, she says, is ‘one of those films you should see without knowing anything about it’ – so I will say nothing more, except for that the trailer is below.

In the lead feature of our Arts section this week, James Walton  – who admits to ‘still being word-perfect on ‘Aladdin Sane’ – celebrates the pop icon that is David Bowie. Was it coincidence that a new Bowie album was number one in 40 countries the same week that the Bowie exhibition opened at the V&A? Most likely – but it must have been a fantastic coup for the V&A’s curators. If you haven’t heard the latest song, why not give it a listen?

Are there other reasons behind the recent bout of Bowie mania? James Walton has his own theories which you may or may not agree with, but there’s no denying that any pop star who’s still going 40 years after his first hit album must be doing something right. If you need a prompt to remember just what that ‘something’ might be, here’s a reminder:

Bowie’s not the only 70s pop star who’s been enjoying a resurgence, though. Bryan Ferry has also had a new album out recently, but unlike Bowie, his wasn’t such a hit with the public. He came up with a mad idea – and the result is joyfully uplifting. But is joy a quality that pop music appreciates? Here’s what Marcus Berkmann thinks; and a taster of Ferry’s ‘soul uplifting’ new album is below.

Ferry’s made megabucks out of his music career – but ‘no-ones writes for radio for the money’ says Kate Chisholm. So why do people write for radio? For the challenge – and for the sheer enjoyment of it, she says. But now drama on the World Service has been cut down to just one play a month – which she reviews in her radio column this week. Here’s a preview of one of these plays; Janet Morrison’s ‘The Fishermen’.

In this week’s Culture Note, Michael Henderson reviews the Hagen Quartet – recognised as ‘the supreme performers of Beethoven’. They will be playing at the Wigmore Hall next week (19th and 20th April), but if you can’t make that, then here’s one of their best Beethoven recordings:

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