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The Guardian

Sam Shepard: 'America is on its way out as a culture'

As his seminal 1980 play, True West, is revived in London, the influential playwright reflects on the diminishing global role of the US, and the deaths of his friends Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams.

Robert Plant: Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar review a candid and tender break-up album

(Nonesuch)Seven years ago, two equal and opposite forces clashed in the musical life of Robert Plant. In October 2007 the singer released Raising Sand, a landmark album with bluegrass artist Alison Krauss that scooped five Grammy awards. This million-plus

Little Revolution review Hackney riots from the sidelines

Almeida, LondonAlecky Blythe's terrific account of the 2011 London riots, using her trademark verbatim dialogue, puts bystanders centre stage Continue reading...

Proms 58 & 59 shattering, gut-wrenching Strauss

Royal Albert Hall, LondonSopranos Nina Stemme and Christine Goerke are outstanding as Salome and Elektra in two highlights of the musical yearEver one to split opinion, Richard Strauss is abused as vulgar, retrograde and opportunistic, or praised as radic

Regeneration review full of interest, full of warnings

This adaptation of Pat Barker's first world war novel is ambitious and vibrant but loses some of the book's crucial texture.

The Voice of Isobel Baillie review the soprano's clarity shines out

Isobel Baillie (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)(Heritage)Never Sing Louder than Lovely was the apt title of the memoirs of the much-loved soprano Isobel Baillie (1895-1983). This new compilation demonstrates perfectly that special quality of her voice: a p

The Children Act by Ian McEwan review a masterly balance between research and imagination

Ian McEwan's 13th novel, about a beleaguered high court judge, is his best since On Chesil Beach Robert McCrum talks to Ian McEwanAs one begins an Ian McEwan novel this is his 13th one feels an immediate pleasure in returning to prose of uncommon clarit

Dogfight review the song of misogyny

Southwark PlayhouseThis controversial musical about US marines on the eve of war is a critique not a celebration of macho posturing Continue reading...

She Stoops to Conquer review lively and absurd

Viaduct, Halifax and touringThis production of Oliver Goldsmith's 1773 comedy is absurdly funny but they need to turn down the volume a touch.

Ryan Adams review acoustic introversion meets stonking radio-rock

(Pax-Am/Colombia Records)Ryan Adams's self-produced and self-titled LP closes a three-year gap in his otherwise chock-a-block discography, bookending a period during which he scrapped an album recorded with Glyn Jones, the super-producer of Led Zep, Stone