Nudes: The Female Form

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I took a look at changing depictions of the female form for Londnr Magazine, from Botticelli to Kim Kardashian.

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Review: Richard III

Ralph-Fiennes Richard III

Photo by Miles Aldridge

I have never devoted much time to Shakespeare’s history plays. When given the choice between the Bard’s real and fictional kings, I instinctively opt for the latter. Yet, despite my broader reservations, Richard III has always intrigued me; the first time I read the play, his curved back, seductive rhetoric and malevolent deeds captured the darkest recesses of my imagination. Naturally, then, when the Almeida announced their prestigious new production, with Ralph Fiennes in the title role, I happily spent a lengthy period on hold with the box office, desperate to secure a ticket. Thanks to their Under 25s scheme, I got lucky.

It takes a remarkable production to make three and a half hours of classical theatre feel like half that time. Fortunately, that’s exactly what director Rupert Goold achieves here, with the help of an outstanding cast and creative team.

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Review: wonder.land

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Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Alice in Wonderland is the story that spawned a thousand adaptations, the latest of which is currently playing at the National Theatre. After a lukewarm reception in Manchester, Damon Albarn’s musical has comes to try its luck with Londonders.

Loosely based on Lewis Carroll’s classic tale, Albarn and his collaborators, scriptwriter Moira Buffini and National Theatre artistic director Rufus Norris, have hoiked the coming of age story into the twenty-first century by substituting Alice’s Wonderland for Aly’s wonder.land, a mobile game that allows the user to escape their problems by entering the game as an avatar.

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When does a brand biopic become a marketing ploy?

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Steve Jobs, the third film to be made about the founder of Apple in as many years, has been chosen to close the 2015 BFI London Film Festival. This news confirms what was already obvious: from Howard Hughes to Mr Heineken, Hollywood has an increasing obsession with entrepreneurs. With films about the founders of Google and McDonalds in the pipeline, it’s a trend that shows no sign of abating.

In many ways, it’s unsurprising. The origin stories of many iconic brands contain the hallmarks of the classic rags-to-riches plot that has long proved irresistible to filmmakers.

Whether or not an official studio-brand production partnership exists, films about existing brands inevitably come with a side-order of subliminal advertising that can diminish the power of the storytelling.

At their best, these films present an inspiring tale of vision and fearlessness. At their worst, they become little more than souped-up marketing ploys masquerading as artistic entertainment.

I’ve had a look at four films that revolve around brands and their leaders to decide in each case whether integrity won out over The Man.

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In Defence of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

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Photo: Alastair Muir

I have a confession to make.

I’m a musicals fan.

I’m not just talking about the hip musicals like Rent, or the impossible-to-hate musicals like Book of Mormon, or the constantly-shoved-down-your-throat musicals like Les Miz. I love the really cheesy ones. The all-singing, all-dancing ones stuffed with terrible Southern accents, flouncy skirts and questionable plots.

This obsession may go some way to explain why I spent last Saturday afternoon sipping a glass of Pimms in the sunshine and cackling at a new production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

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Introducing Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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For the millennial crowd, Williamsburg is the centre of New York life.

Williamsburg is like Shoreditch’s younger, cooler, less crowded cousin. The main street, Bedford Avenue, is lined with boutiques, cafés, bars and restaurants. Excluding the obligatory Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts (which really are on every corner), chains are kept to a minimum and the street is always lined with people as a result.

We were only there for four days and, with a mountain of quirky shops, live music, flea markets and countless places to eat and drink, it was impossible to do more than scrape the surface of what Williamsburg has to offer. Nonetheless, here are a few of our favourite places from the trip.

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Rooftops of New York

I was thirteen the first time I went to New York. It was a couple of days before Christmas. I remember buildings so tall that you couldn’t see the top, even when you craned your neck back as far as it would go. I remember the lights glittering above the wide avenues. And I remember the cold. The biting, blistering cold. It was snowing and the wind was howling along the streets, turning my nose to a frosty lump on my face.

Returning ten years later for a muggy week in June, I was faced with a somewhat different experience. Instead of freezing cold, there was a sticky, overwhelming heat that turned me into a sweaty, grumpy mess (I have no idea how New Yorkers handle August).

I quickly learned that there’s only one way to cope with summer in the city and it involves a view and a cocktail.* Oh, and a lot of air-con.

Here are a couple of my favourite rooftop spots.

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