Arts: The Week in Review

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THE FILM

ORPHANS

OVERVIEW

The night before their mother's funeral, four adult siblings arrive at the dramatic realisation that they are orphans in Peter Mullan's first full-length picture.

"This is serious, grown-up film-making that should make Ken Loach feel just a little less isolated," said Anthony Quinn. "Magnificent... both uncompromisingly nasty and poisonously funny, elements which only heighten a terrible sadness in its dark soul," trumpeted The Guardian. "For all its anarchic energy, this is one of the funniest, freshest and most compelling British films of recent years," cried Time Out, while the Glasgow Herald deemed it "a genuine masterpiece". "This poignant, shocking comedy is one of the best this year," wrote The Daily Telegraph. "If this is [Mullan's] view of Glaswegians, it's an exceptionally dispiriting one," grumbled the Daily Mail.

A powerful, funny and moving look at the loneliness of bereavement. A triumphant debut for Mullan.

Orphans is out on nationwide release, certificate 18. 95 minutes

CRITICAL VIEW

OUR VIEW

ON VIEW

THE PLAY

AUNT DAN AND LEMON

Wallace Shawn's 1985 play examines the warping relationship between a young girl and a right-wing friend of her parents. With Miranda Richardson and Glenne Headley.

"Shawn's constitutional inability to think in anything but melodramatic extremes leaves me dissatisfied with both the argument and the drama, which is over-dependent on monologue," opined Paul Taylor. "A subtle and fascinating play... But it is also deliberately contentious and my final impression is that the play is wrong-headed to the point of malignity," mused The Daily Telegraph. "You can, if you like, put down Shawn as the bard of liberal breast-beating; but you must still admit that he carries a moral punch," decided The Times. The Daily Mail called it "Another feather in the Almeida's cap... a remarkable evening."

Despite fine performances from the cast, Shawn's dramatic heavy-handedness will leave you wanting more.

Aunt Dan and Lemon is at the Almeida Theatre until 5 June. Booking: 0171- 359 4404

THE ALBUM

HUSH

The Glaswegian outfit fronted by Sharleen Spiteri follow up White On Blonde with The Hush, their fifth album which features collaborations with Rae & Christian.

"The Hush is the kind of album which should provide a constant stream of hits," revealed Andy Gill, adding: "It's almost as if they've set out to make a kind of all-purpose Millennial music... The miracle is that they've just about pulled it off." "Their most proficient album to date," stated the Daily Mail. "It is maddening that every emotionally charged quaver is forever drowned out by thick, syrupy arrangements and lazy greetings- card sentiments," spluttered the NME. "What an exceptionally dull record it is," exclaimed The Times, adding: "The words sound meaningful but boil down to very little." "Cobblers," barked Time Out.

Pristinely packaged and crammed with hits, The Hush is destined to exceed the four million sales of Texas's last album.

The Hush (Mercury) is available in record shops on Monday

THE DOCUMENTARY

THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT

Molly Dineen's fly-on-the-wall documentary of The Artist Formerly Known As Ginger Spice follows the fortunes of Geri Halliwell following her split with the Spice Girls.

"You could read hurt into Geri which stood as an awful warning of the perils of celebrity," stated Robert Hanks, continuing: "Sadder than that, though, is the thought that millions of people would spend two hours watching this dull, enervating life." "Dineen's film was too long, if only because Halliwell isn't very good at expressing herself," noted Time Out. "It was Dineen's skill that gave Halliwell the contours of complexity, moulding the material into a parable of a girl who was willing to do anything to become famous," pronounced The Times. "It showed that being famous can be a lonely old business," opined The Mirror.

Though Dineen's account of Halliwell's post-Spice era tugged at the heartstrings, it was just too long.

Geri Halliwell's debut single "Look At Me" is released on Monday on EMI

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