Mini Reviews

Theatre review: My Brilliant Friend

Elena Ferrante’s addictive Neapolitan Quartet novels have been adapted for the stage. The two part play at the Olivier Theatre takes its title from the first book in the series: My Brilliant Friend Part One covers the first two novels while Part Two looks at the last two. Together both parts run for five and half hours encompassing a timespan of sixty years. Sounds hectic? It is. But the story is…

Film review: Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s latest offering Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is a mixed bag of a film, with contradictory motivations. The film is his most self-indulgent to date, taking its title and some of its inspiration from the Sergio Leone classics ‘Once Upon A Time in the West’ and Once Upon A Time in America’ as well as highlighting his other obsessions: Hollywood and L.A. The film has been criticised…

Book review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

‘The Testaments’, Margaret Atwood’s much anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale concludes the dystopian fable set in Gilead, a fictionalised United States. The book is an engaging read, continuing with the same themes, namely the subjugation of women in a patriarchal society, and some of the same characters as The Handmaid’s Tale. The 2019 Booker prize was controversially awarded jointly to The…

Open House 2019: Walthamstow Wetlands

On the approach to Engine House at Walthamstow Wetlands the stark outline of the structure with its chimney tower against a cloudy sky could be from a painting by Constable, if not for the Overground train running directly past the building. The Engine House is now a Visitor Centre at the heart of the Wetlands project which has seen nearly 705,000 visitors to its reservoirs and marshland since it…

Theatre review: Small Island

It is proof of Small Island’s popularity that the Olivier Theatre was filled to capacity, holding 1150 people all waiting to be entertained over three and a half hours on the evening after a blisteringly hot day. The play is adapted from Andrea Levy’s novel of the same name.

Why is Small Island so popular? It might be a favourite book for many people who come to see much loved characters…

We studied journalism at Birkbeck and meet regularly to share our writing and ideas. Inspired by London’s 4th Plinth we set up our blog as a cultural exchange with reviews, stories, analysis and viewpoints.

Click on the tabs to see what we’ve been doing lately. 

We hope you like it. Let us know.

The 5th Plinthers

Janet Murray. An obituary for my friend and tutor

An obituary of the journalist and lecturer Janet (Jan) Murray who dies at the Marie Curie Hospice in London on the 1st of July 2016

Review: The Trouble with Scott Capurro at The Bill Murray @CamdenFringe

“They’re just jokes – I’m not even gay!”

Scott Capurro greets “all my imaginary friends in the front row” as he skips onstage at The Bill Murray. The front row is conspicuously empty – who after all would be so foolish as to sit there? But there’s no escape later in the set when he begins to interact with members of the audience. Before long a man who came out at the age of 30 is describing…

Committee a Musical at the Donmar Theatre

Committee A Musical is the Donmar’s new play based on a Parliamentary Inquiry into the high profile childrens charity Kids Company. 

Film review: Mr Jones

Who is Mr Jones? There is little known about him but he takes centre stage in a new film bearing his name. The film is directed by Agnieszka Holland and is based on a compelling true story. Jones exposed evidence of Stalin’s failed Revolution and of his man-made famine in the Ukraine kept hidden from the rest of the world. He uncovered one of the biggest scoops of the twentieth century.

Set…

Book review: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

Pacey and fizzily plotted, Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill is a breathless romp of a novel. The year is 1746, and Mr Smith, a glib tongued and amiable English charmer, is newly pitched up in Manhattan with an order for one thousand pounds in his pocket.

Trump’s First Year and the Foreign Media

Has the foreign press done enough in terms of holding Donald Trump to account in his first year as US president? Trump’s approval ratings have remained static despite the FBI investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election, sleaze allegations and his generally unpresidential conduct. Even the publication of Michael Wolff’s book ‘Fire and Fury’ hasn’t fazed him. This topic was central to…