‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two’

Posted on Jul 25, 2016 | 0 comments

reviewed for The Wall Street Journal, 25th July 2016 Hogwarts is full of ghosts. As always, in J.K. Rowling’s world, they’re not much help. “I am paint and memory,” warns a portrait of Albus Dumbledore ( Barry McCarthy), as a grown-up Harry Potter ( Jamie Parker) turns to him in yet another dark...

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The Bedouin boy taking his epic to the Oscars

Posted on Feb 25, 2016 | 0 comments

reviewed for The Times, 25th February 2016 On a wet Tuesday morning in London, Naji Abu Nowar sinks on to my living-room sofa with the dazed expression of a 34-year-old who has just won his first Bafta and hasn’t slept since Sunday. “I’m pretty sure Julie Walters thinks I’m a stalker. She was...

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Why is Elizabeth I, the most powerful woman in our history, always depicted as a grotesque?

Posted on May 25, 2015 | 0 comments

written for The Guardian, 25 May 2015 Zounds! The BBC’s new docu-drama series, Armada, opened last night with visual reenactments of all the hoary tropes of Elizabethan storytelling: a beleaguered isle, led by a vacillating queen; plucky English sailors knocking together a flotilla from the few planks of...

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From Euripides to “The Archers”: how Syrian refugees stage their stories

Posted on Jan 12, 2015 | 0 comments

written for The Times, (Times 2 Feature Spread),  12 January 2015 I had a chance to discuss the themes of Trojan Women and its resonance for Syria further here, for Index on Censorship. In the Zaatari refugee camp, 15-year-old Reem, a refugee from Syria, thought she’d be safe. Instead she faces a forced...

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The Death of Klinghoffer is simplistic and dangerous. So is banning it

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 | 0 comments

written for The Spectator, 27 October 2014     My father’s house was razed In 1948 When the Israelis passed over our street   I’ve never forgotten the opening lines to John Adam’s 1991 opera, The Death of Klinghoffer. Crisp, elegiac, this  ‘Chorus of Exiled Palestinians’ rises up to...

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To understand Isil, Europe must remember its own religious history

Posted on Sep 17, 2014 | 0 comments

written for The Telegraph, 17 September 2014 How do we win the battle of hearts and minds against Isil, Boris Johnson asked on these pages yesterday?  Well, comes one obvious answer, by pointing out that they do nasty things to anyone they perceive as their enemy. This is the tack taken by the US State...

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