REVIEWS:

Rob Newman
Rob Newman

Live review: Robert Newman, Sheffield Memorial Hall

If your memories of comic Rob (as he was then) Newman involve images of him sitting opposite David Baddiel as a crusty professor uttering “you see that, that’s you that is,” then its time to bring you up to speed.

For the comedian is now a very different beast from the floppy-haired indie icon whose catchphrases became a staple of sixth form common rooms everywhere as one quarter of seminal 90s comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience.

Heavily involved in political activism and challenging intellectual comedy, Newman’s days as a stadium filling comedian are behind him.

But that’s not to say he’s lost his edge or sense of the absurd.

His New Theory of Evolution show, performed in front of an appreciative audience as part of Sheffield’s Last Laugh Comedy Festival, was split into two distinct parts - a trawl through his thoughts and ideas (and Richard Dawkins wrestling naked with his postman), while the second part allowed Newman a little more freedom, including a chance to show off his honed ukelele skills with a few witty numbers as well as a couple of throwback impressions - including an unnervingly accurate Ronnie Corbett, complete with chair.

Not a comedian to switch off too, this was a show that required the attention of the ear throughout.

You know a clever and unique comedian that’s still got it? That’s Robert Newman, that is.

* Darren BURKE

Rating: 8/10

FILM REVIEW: LE WEEKEND (15)

Laughter and heartbreak walk hand in clammy hand in Michell and Kureishi’s latest confection, Le Weekend, an elegiac portrait of a married couple testing the robustness of their relationship during a celebratory weekend in Paris.

The French capital looks glorious and provides a suitably swoonsome backdrop to Kureishi’s verbal grenades that explode with devastating impact.

Regret hangs in the air like parfum and amorous advances (“May I touch you?”) are swatted away with a casual indifference (“What for?”) that cuts to the bone.

Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, who played onscreen spouses in the 2006 TV movie Longford, spare themselves and each other few blushes as the husband and wife, who have watched their brood fly the nest and must now contemplate spending their twilight years solely in each other’s company. “Once the kids have gone, what’s left of us?” wonders Meg (Duncan), who has chosen to celebrate 30 years with husband Nick (Broadbent) by revisiting old haunts in the city of amour.

RATING: 8/10

THE FIFTH ESTATE (15)

The film opens in London, July 2010, in the offices of The Guardian. Editor Alan Rusbridger (Peter Capaldi), Deputy Ian Katz (Dan Stevens) and reporter Nick Davies (David Thewlis) are poised to publish their front page story about the Bradley Manning leaks in tandem with The New York Times and Der Spiegel.

The film rewinds two years to sketch the relationship between Julian and Daniel, who meet at a conference and embark on their quest to expose corruption within the upper echelons of power. Julian demands absolutely loyalty, which puts intolerable strain on Daniel’s relationship with his girlfriend, Birgitta (Carice van Houten). Meanwhile, Deputy Undersecretary Of State, Sarah Shaw (Laura Linney), becomes increasingly concerned by the power wielded by WikiLeaks.

Rating: 6/10