Billy Connolly this month announced his retirement from touring. Who today can fill the Big Yin's shoes? After judging the 2018 Edinburgh Comedy Awards – the art form's most coveted prize – I'm convinced the next generation of big names is already here. As ever, the Edinburgh Fringe was a hotbed of experimentation, full of comics who treat a punchline the way Heston Blumenthal treats food. The best of that ilk this year was John-Luke Roberts, whose Byzantine solo sketch-show revives the clever-clever silliness of Monty Python. By contrast, the Fringe's most hyped left-field offerings – such as Jordan Brookes's creepy, hi-tech Bleed, and young absurdist Sam Campbell's award-winning The Trough –... To continue reading this article Start your free trial of Premium Access all Premium articles Subscriber-only events Cancel any time Free for 30 days then only £2 per week Try Premium Access one Premium article per … [Read more...] about How a new generation of comedy stars reinvented stand-up in 2018
Michael Hogan Follow 16 December 2018 • 2:41pm Arise at last, King Kev. Stacey Dooley lifted Strictly Come Dancing’s garish glitterball trophy on Saturday night, as confetti fell, sparks flew and an estimated 13m viewers savoured the cockle-warming moment. Now the sparkly dust has settled from the hoofing contest’s grand final, though, it’s clear that Dooley’s win was as much about her professional partner as the flame-haired film-maker herself. When their names were announced as 2018 champions, Kevin Clifton looked even more delighted than the understated Dooley. He was the one who fell to his knees in tears. He was the one who colleagues lifted shoulder high, lapping up the adulation alone for 10 seconds before Dooley was hoisted aloft... To continue reading this article Start your free trial of Premium Access all Premium articles Subscriber-only events Cancel any time Free for 30 days then only … [Read more...] about Stacey Dooley won Strictly but were viewers really voting for her partner Kevin Clifton?
Saturday Night Live poked fun at Theresa May's difficult week, David Cameron and Brexit in a sketch performed by series regular Kate McKinnon and guest star Matt Damon, last night. The skit, titled "Merry Christmas, Britain!" opens with the Prime Minister demonstrating her famous dance moves, flanked by four dancing policemen, before opening her speech with: "What a dreadful week it's been. My Brexit deal is falling apart, I almost got voted out and no one in the world likes me at all. But it's still Christmas so let's try to have some cheer tonight, shall we?" She's joined by a high-foreheaded Matt Damon as David Cameron, "the man who called for the Brexit vote, then when it passed, he bounced and left me to clean up his mess". "You look well rested," she observes, before he tells her that he's just returned from a relaxing holiday in the Maldives. "You know what’s funny?" he says. "People hate me but they really hate you. Even though I did Brexit. I … [Read more...] about Matt Damon stars as a relaxed David Cameron in SNL sketch mocking Theresa May’s Brexit struggles
Mick Brown Follow 16 December 2018 • 7:00am Among the book reviews that were published in the first edition of The Sunday Telegraph in February 1961 (“some outstanding books noticed to-day”), was a reflection on the trial, the previous year, of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The acquittal of Penguin books on charges of obscenity would prove a turning point, not only in lifting the curtain of censorship in the arts, but in the way Britain saw itself. “Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?” Mervyn Griffith-Jones, the prosecuting counsel, asked the jury, in one of the most famous utterances ever heard in an English court of law. Within that simple question existed a whole social order, a way of thinking and being,... To continue reading this article Start your free trial of Premium Access all Premium articles Subscriber-only events Cancel any time Free for 30 days then only … [Read more...] about A Taste of Honey and Hockney: The Sunday Telegraph presented the revolution to come
He has a story to tell – it is banging around inside him, aching to come out. But how does he begin?" So starts The Inheritance, by the American playwright Matthew Lopez, the one show you really "had" to see this year. By the end of this devastating two-part play, which also contains much uproarious humour in its seven hours, we've been drawn into the gay romantic entanglements of present-day Manhattanites, and we've been forced to remember those lost to the Aids epidemic a generation ago. Driving it forward is the revenant, repressed figure of EM Forster, whose novel Howards End, with its tale of a thwarted inheritance, lurks like a ghost. What sounds like something niche turns out to have universal... To continue reading this article Start your free trial of Premium Access all Premium articles Subscriber-only events Cancel any time Free for 30 days then only £2 per week Try Premium Access one Premium article per week Register for … [Read more...] about Why 2018 was the year that theatre ripped up the rulebook