Reviews

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Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance

13 Apr 20154 stars

Louise Osmond tells the inspiring story behind a champion racehorse

Animal films are usually weepies and stories of racehorses even more so, especially as their endings are typically problematic. So the cheery documentary Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance is a welcome addition to this tear-smeared…

Theatre review: 52 Shades of Maggie

17 Apr 20153 stars

A comic romp not for the easily offended

Despite the title, this 52 Shades has little to do with BDSM or life-style pornography: beneath the heroine's bluster, there are no expensive consumables or romantic millionaires. Rather, this comic monologue sequel to the successful 51 Shades is a…

Child 44

13 Apr 20153 stars

Tom Hardy is at the centre of an ambitious thriller from Daniel Espinosa

'There can be no murder in paradise.' That's the intriguing backbone of both Tom Rob Smith’s 2008 bestseller and this solid adaptation from Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Easy Money), which casts Tom Hardy as Leo Demidov, a battle-hardened member of the…

Theatre review: O is for Hoolet

17 Apr 20154 stars

Ishbel McFarlane explores the mither tongue in her one-woman show

Platform 18 winner Ishbel McFarlane swaps an obsession with trains – as seen in her previous work, Even in Edinburgh and Glasgow, which was performed on the Glasgow to Edinburgh commuter train – for a lively exploration of linguistics, in which she…

Theatre review: Whisky Galore

14 Apr 20153 stars

The National Theatre of Scotland brings the traditional Ealing comedy to a contemporary audience

The Ealing comedy, Whisky Galore, is either a charming piece of British playfulness, or a dated parody of the Scottish obsession with alcohol, as the characters take on the most simplistic qualities of the highlander, all patriarchal fathers…

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Blur – The Magic Whip

8 Apr 20154 stars

An intriguing return from Albarn, Coxon, James and Rowntree produces a couple of classics

Brushing aside the Brit-centric formulism of their career heyday, what was truly great about Blur was also what sounded like the least considered. We’re talking about the self-titled 1997 record and selected subsequent moments from 13 and Think…

Luminate: Live Music Now Scotland celebrates 30 Years

7 Apr 20154 stars

Compilation album features music by Eddie McGuire, William Sweeney, Alasdair Nicolson and Wildings

Live Music Now might not be an organisation whose name is on everyone’s lips – more’s the pity. Likewise, it’s all too easy to ignore those in society who have little contact with live music – which is what LMN sets out to set right, taking emerging…

Toni Morrison – God Help The Child

16 Apr 20153 stars

Morrison's latest novel takes an unflinching look at the long term effects of child abuse

Toni Morrison's latest novel explores the damage adults inflict upon children and the lasting effect it has on their lives. Most of the dramatic events in the book have taken place years previously and we are only witness to the aftermath, calmly…

DCA: Maripol, Clare Stephenson and Zoe Williams

15 Apr 20154 stars

Dundee Contemporary Arts' exhibition Spring / Summer 2015 has substance as well as style

After a succession of impressively immersive shows that have felt at times like being in assorted night-club chill-out rooms, the DCA comes blinking into the (neon) light for this triple-headed glamour chase. The exhibition is spearheaded by the French…

TV review: Jane the Virgin, E4

8 Apr 20153 stars

Golden Globe-winning comedy starring Gina Rodriguez is low on laughs but big on charm

The premise for Jane the Virgin sounds like a spot of clickbait to the right of an article you probably didn’t want to read in the first place: ‘This gorgeous Latina just got herself pregnant: BUT NOT FOR THE REASONS YOU THINK!’ Well, ain’t that the…

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Kids theatre review: Celeste’s Circus

15 Apr 20153 stars

Puppetry and pretend French in circus-themed show for pre-school children

A micro-play for pre-school children old enough to hold their attention on a performer even just for a few minutes, Celeste’s Circus works on two levels. One, for the children, because it revels in a sense of visual invention which offers gleeful…

TV review: W1A Series Two, BBC Two

14 Apr 20154 stars

Hugh Bonneville stars in scarily plausible BBC mockumentary

More management doublespeak and pandering to political correctness as Hugh Bonneville returns as the BBC's Head of Values in mockumentary W1A. It’s a faked but scarily believable peek behind closed doors at the Beeb. In fact if you didn't know better…

Live Review: Nicki Minaj, The Hydro, Glasgow, Sun 12 Apr

13 Apr 20154 stars

Anaconda singer Minaj goes radge on her PinkPrint tour

So Minaj goes radge in Glasgow for the second time in less than six months – Her Pinkness was last at The Hydro back in November to host the MTV Europe awards, where she also picked up her own prize for best hip hop artist. There are plenty of purists…

TV review: Mad Men Season 7 Episode 8, Sky Atlantic

9 Apr 20154 stars

Don Draper struggles to hold it together as Mad Men begins its long goodbye

As the first episode of Mad Men’s final hurrah opens, Don Draper appears to be up to his old tricks, albeit with a more distant edge. As he smokes into a paper cup before a woman dressed in little more than a fur coat, the ad exec requests she moves in…

Glassland

13 Apr 20153 stars

Moving Irish drama from Gerard Barrett starring Toni Collette and Jack Reynor

Young Irish writer-director Gerard Barrett follows up his 2013 debut Pilgrim Hill with the equally gritty Glassland, a powerful study of the personal battles being fought behind myriad nondescript doors. Addressing the same themes of isolation, despair…

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Home from Home: Chronicle of a Vision

13 Apr 20153 stars

Edgar Reitz's Heimat prequel is a story of 19th century aspiration and struggle

The original Homeland (Heimat) was one of the landmarks of European television in the 1980s. Over 16 hours, director Edgar Reitz told the story of three related families in the fictional German village of Schabbach from 1919 to 1982. Sequels followed…

New music: Jazz round-up – April

7 Apr 2015

New releases from Matthew Shipp, Alexander Hawkins Trio and Death Shanties

Free jazz pianist Matthew Shipp has been dropping Ellington tunes into his repertoire for some time now, but To Duke is his first full-length engagement with the great man's music. Recorded with Shipp's long-term trio of Michael Bisio on bass and Whit…

The Last Five Years

13 Apr 20153 stars

Anna Kendrick is wonderful in this mostly successful and moving musical

Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan star in a musical adapted for the screen by writer-director Richard LaGravenese (the original 2001 off-Broadway show was written by Jason Robert Brown) that explores the difficult balancing act between reaching for your…

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

13 Apr 20153 stars

Ingenious slasher sequel / remake from Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

The vogue for horror remakes reached its oversaturated nadir during the 00s with precious few of the films saying anything notably new. However, The Town That Dreaded Sundown offers something more complex and intriguing than a straightforward trudge…

Gente de Bien

13 Apr 20153 stars

This overly earnest debut is lifted by spirited newcomer Brayan Santamarià

In modern day Colombia, just as in the rest of the world, the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider, swallowing entire generations in the process. This is the bleak reality at the heart of Gente de Bien, the debut feature from Colombian director…

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Festival review: Skye Live brings a mix of music to a dramatic location

9 Apr 20154 stars

The small but well curated Easter event fills the gap left by the Isle of Skye Music Festival

It’s a little unfair on all the other festivals in the UK to hold one on Skye. As locations go, it’s pretty dramatic, and if there was an award for best-looking festival site, then Skye Live would surely walk it. The festival takes place in a red…

Peter Broderick – Colours of the Night

9 Apr 20153 stars

An album full of lovely cabin folk from the multi-instrumentalist

Accepting obscure invitations from Europeans has tended to pay off well for Peter Broderick, not least that time when he was 20 and Danish band Efterklang invited him to move to Copenhagen and join their band. Just like that. Since then he’s ticked…

Theatre review: Western Society

9 Apr 20155 stars

Gob Squad explore the contemporary obsession with capturing experiences for the internet

Although Gob Squad's theatrical tricks are familiar from earlier works – replacing actors with audience members, projecting the live action onto screens – Western Society uses these tropes to make a scathing indictment of the contemporary obsession with…

Theatre review: Broth

8 Apr 20153 stars

The cyclical nature of domestic violence is reflected in Tim Primrose's profane kitchen poetry

Somewhere between a dark comedy of family manners, and a surreal meditation on domestic violence, Broth begins with a shocking discovery. While Mary (Kay Gallie) is boiling her 'disgustin' smellin' wee chookie broth', patriarchal bully Jimmy (Ron…

Theatre review: Last Dream (on Earth)

7 Apr 20154 stars

Post-visual theatre from Kai Fischer and National Theatre of Scotland

Kai Fischer's post-visual work – in which sound, rather than script or visuals, leads the action – brings together two stories of escape: the stirring Russian drama of Yuri Gagarin's flight into space, and the desperate attempt by refugees to make it…