TV Review: Unforgotten Series 2

“You might put me in prison but let me tell you this: you can’t judge me unless you’ve had it done to you.”

Blimey, I knew Unforgotten was good (here’s my Episode 1 review, and my Series 1 review) but I wasn’t expecting it to be this soul-shatteringly excellent. More fool me I suppose, Nicola Walker is a god among mortals and her presence alone is reliably proving a harbinger of excellence, but allied to Chris Lang’s scorching writing, it’s hard to imagine that we’ll see much better television than this before the year is out. 

That it managed this by using elements that have been seen recently (historical child sex abuse as per Line of Duty; the Strangers on a Train twist featured in Silent Witness just last month) and imbuing them with a compelling freshness is impressive enough, but the way in which it revealed this at the mid-point of the series and yet still had hooks and surprises aplenty to keep me gripped right until the bitterly haunting end.  Continue reading “TV Review: Unforgotten Series 2”

TV Review: Unforgotten Series 2 Episode 1

“Maybe we should be concentrating on the suitcase”

In the glut of new crime series that have started this week – Death In Paradise, No Offence – Chris Lang’s Unforgotten stands out for me as a clever twist on a crowded genre, plus it has the bonus of the ever-excellent Nicola Walker in a starring role. Unforgotten’s twist on the crime drama is to completely emphasise the latter over the former, so whilst each series hooks on a cold case brought back to life, the focus is on the lives that have continued in its wake.

The reveal of the format was a highlight of the beginning of the first series, the disparate stories of 4 seemingly unconnected people bound together by the discovery of their phone numbers in the victim’s diary. And this second series wisely sticks largely to the same formula, introducing us to a Brighton gay couple in the process of adopting, a nurse on a cancer ward in London, a teacher applying for a headship in a school in special measures, a young man lying to his mother…all of whom are sure to be linked to the body found in a suitcase in the River Lea. Continue reading “TV Review: Unforgotten Series 2 Episode 1”

Review: Fireworks (Al’Ab Nariya), Royal Court

“Whoever gets back to the front door first without getting shot, wins”
Fireworks 
Running time: 90 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 14th March

In a nameless and besieged Palestinian town Lubna and Khalil, 11 and 12 respectively, live with the consequences of growing up in the middle of a war. Khalil loves the Ninja Turtles, oscillates between violence and sensitivity, teeters on the brink of adolescence and perplexes his parents — played with conviction by Nabil Elouahabi and Shereen Martin.
For her part Lubna feasts on the fireworks that illuminate the night sky. Except, of course, they’re not fireworks but bombs. She must also deal with her first period and realising she doesn’t have any proper friends, while her parents (Sirine Saba and Saleh Bakri) struggle to make sense of the death of their son. The children are in effect housebound. Everyone around them fears for their safety, and their psychological wounds fester. By concentrating on their experience, Dalia Taha’s play offers a refreshingly oblique perspective on the conflict in Gaza.
Director Richard Twyman elicits poised and tender performances from the younger cast members (on press night Yusuf Hofri as Khalil and Shakira Riddell-Morales as Lubna). The result is a painful, unsettling vision of precarious lives.