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Spectator Play: The highs and the lows of what’s going on in arts this week

27 July 2013

10:52 AM

27 July 2013

10:52 AM

The Tate Britain has recently undergone a ‘sorely needed’ rehang, which Andrew Lambirth explores in this week’s Spectator.  As a ‘welcome return to the great tradition of the chronological hang’ might have its detractors, but the BP Walk Through British Art is, overall, a fantastic display. Here’s the director of Tate Britain, Penelope Curtis (who was in charge of the reorganisation) talking about her highlights from the display. And here are Andrew Lambirth’s own highlights.

Has sod you architecture finally ‘put on a lounge suit’ asks Stephen Bayley.  That, at least, was the dress code that Richard Rogers applied to the opening of his new retrospective, Inside Out, at the Royal Academy. There can be no doubting Rogers’ ‘stand-out credentials’ as an architect, but has his work now become so accepted as to be an English tradition? Rogers might have rejected his own dress code (in favour of a green shirt and ‘DayGlo pink sneakers’), but his sheer ‘wilful expression’ is less shocking than it once was.


Frances Ha is, says Deborah Ross, ‘something of a novelty’ in the film world. Why? Well, it’s ‘sweet, endearing, touching, and features proper women you can actually believe in, and who aren’t just drippily searching for love’. Yes, it is also ‘highly self-conscious’, but if you can look beyond that to what is ‘a character study more than a story’, you might just enjoy it. Here’s what Deborah had to say about Frances herself – and below is the film trailer.

The BBC’s latest – and ‘presumably quite expensive’ biopic is Burton and Taylor, which does exactly what it says on the tin. But James Delingpole can’t quite understand why the Beeb decided to go to all the effort of making the programme. The two main cast members – Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth Taylor, and Dominic West as Richard Burton – had ‘a really good stab’ at trying to be their characters, but just didn’t quite make it. Since the script was written by the ‘first-rate screenwriter’, William Ivory, the whole production appeared ‘positively made for theatre’. Now that would have had the reviewers gushing about it. But for TV? It just wasn’t quite there.


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