Corn Exchange Reviews

Napoleon review – Joaquin Phoenix makes a magnificent emperor in thrilling biopic ***** Peter Bradshaw – Guardian

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023

Ridley Scott dispenses with the symbolic weight attached to previous biopics in favour of a spectacle with a great star at its centre

Napoleon review – Joaquin Phoenix makes a magnificent emperor in thrilling biopic | Film | The Guardian

Killers of the Flower Moon review by Peter Bradshaw ***** – Scorsese’s remarkable epic about the bloody birth of modern America

Monday, November 6th, 2023

Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone star in this macabre western about serial murders among the Osage tribe in 1920s Oklahoma, which reflects the erasure of Native Americans from the US.

Killers of the Flower Moon review – Scorsese’s remarkable epic about the bloody birth of modern America | Killers of the Flower Moon | The Guardian

How to Have Sex – Time Out says 4 stars – Smart and provocative, this Brits-abroad drama offers a sensitive take on sex and consent

Monday, November 6th, 2023

It’s an absorbing watch set in a world of clumsy sexual hedonism.

Review: Brits-abroad drama ‘How To Have Sex’ is smart and provocative (

A Forgotten Man review by Peter Bradshaw – watchable account of central figure in Swiss wartime guilt ***

Monday, November 6th, 2023

Laurent Nègre’s stagey film is also a free adaptation of Thomas Hürlimann’s play on the same subject

A Forgotten Man review – watchable account of central figure in Swiss wartime guilt | Film | The Guardian

Trolls Band Together review – a kooky, candyfloss-coloured boyband reunion

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return to voice Poppy and Branch in the third, possibly loopiest, instalment of the monster franchise.

Trolls Band Together review – a kooky, candyfloss-coloured boyband reunion | Film | The Guardian

The Royal Hotel Review – Peter Bradshaw Guardian ***

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

Kitty Green’s film stars Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick as backpackers forced to take a dodgy-sounding job dealing with the boozy miners in the dusty middle of nowhere


The Royal Hotel review – outback noir shows sinister sexism behind the banter | Film | The Guardian

The Royal Hotel

Dumb Money review – Paul Dano excels in fun retelling of the GameStop stock craze

Saturday, October 21st, 2023

Wendy Ide Guardian ***

Dano is a perfect fit as the YouTuber who took on Wall Street in I, Tonya director Craig Gillespie’s spirited underdog drama

Dumb Money review – Paul Dano excels in fun retelling of the GameStop stock craze | Drama films | The Guardian

Beyond Utopia: Korea opportunities are thin on the ground for this family in flight

Saturday, October 21st, 2023

By Nicolas Rapold from the Sundance Film Festival

Using first-hand accounts, clandestine footage of torture and poverty, and a brutal editing style, Madeleine Gavin’s gripping film charts one family’s narrow escape from the clutches of a dictatorship.

It’s one thing to read about North Korea’s brutal, isolated dictatorship, and quite another to watch the terrifying journeys of those trying to flee its clutches. That’s just what Madeleine Gavin’s overwhelming documentary Beyond Utopia does in showing one family’s nerve-wracking flight from North Korea through China and other countries with the help of South Korean pastor Kim Seungeun, a veteran manager of such efforts. This jam-packed film also fleshes out life and death in North Korea in harrowing detail, with some clandestine glimpses from within the country, and chronicles one more escape – by the young son of a defector-turned-activist in South Korea – through the latter’s desperate phone calls with fixers.

Documentaries about North Korea sometimes fall into simply gawking at the bizarro world of living under its propagandistic totalitarian regime. Gavin’s use of survivors giving first-hand accounts and of (some) secret footage of torture or extreme poverty within the country helps stave off this kind of rubbernecking, though some facts of North Korean existence – such as the mandatory submission of household faeces to the government for use as fertiliser – still feel so extreme as to trigger our sense of the absurd. The film definitely doesn’t shy from the ample suspense in the fugitive family’s escape, as they travel at night through jungles and by boat, stopping to rest in safehouses yet always on guard.

The family’s trip is a profound profile in courage, with both exhaustion and fortitude written on their faces – father, mother, two young daughters, and an unstoppable 80-year-old grandmother. That thread of the film bears comparison to recent documentaries about Syrian refugees, where the risks feel inscribed in the camerawork. (Part of our access appears to come from self-chronicling by the family or the pastor.) The activist coping with her son’s escape from afar is a source of anguish, and the fact that we hear only the voices of fixers, who may or may not be on the level, underlines her horror and helplessness. Beatings, execution and threats to the rest of a defector’s family are the stakes at virtually every turn.

These are hard but necessary stories to hear, and you get the sense that Gavin wanted to include as much as possible. The film’s editorial scheme can feel almost assaultive, allowing little to no breathing room or flow as it cuts among the journeys, talking-head interviews, glimpses of North Korea, and so on. But it all ends with some incredible reflections by the members of the family, now free in South Korea, about the unreality of their decidedly dystopian former home.

On the Adamant review – Berlin winner offers art and soul aboard a floating Parisian day-care centre

Saturday, October 21st, 2023

Peter Bradshaw Guardian    ****   from the Berlin Film Festival

On the Adamant is most moving when it stands back, letting its most disenfranchised subjects talk, or shout, or sing. 80 The Guardian Peter Bradshaw There is a gentle and very happy sense of freedom and possibility aboard the Adamant, and there is enormous warmth, sympathy and human curiosity in this film.

On the Adamant review – Berlin winner offers art and soul aboard a floating Parisian day-care centre | Berlin film festival 2023 | The Guardian

A Room of One’s Own from Dyad Productions

Thursday, March 30th, 2023;   Reviewed by: Lizzie Arnold

Dalloway; Ben Guest Photographer; Dyad Productions

For one night only, theatregoers will have the opportunity to see writer and performer Rebecca Vaughan deliver her “twenty-first century take on Virginia Woolf’s celebrated pre-TED talk”. Donning the persona of Virginia Woolf, Vaughan takes the audience on a “trip through the history of literature, creativity and sexual politics”. The critically lauded play is set in the not-so-distant future of 2028, where we are invited to meet Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn, and Shakespeare’s imaginary sister, Judith. The trailer  promises an intimate and dynamic tour of literary history, and closes with an ominous slogan: “whatever you do, Keep Off the Grass.”

Set 100 years after Woolf’s 1928 lectures exploring ‘women and fiction’, the one-hour, one-woman show is named after Woolf’s extended essay exploring the impacts of poverty and sexual inequality on intellectual freedom and creativity, particularly within literature. It is this essay in which Woolf famously declared that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”; Vaughan’s live performance invites contemporary audiences to consider the relevance of her words almost a century later. The play’s impactful nature is clear when perusing the production’s reviews webpage: one reviewer reflected, “how privileged I am to be in a position where I can create”, while another asserted that “Vaughan commands the space with strong physicality and poise reminiscent of Woolf”.

Dyad Productions performs regularly at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. In 2018 Dyad received the Three Weeks Editors’ Award for Cumulative Body of Work: the official Three Weeks publication notes that their reviewer was “moved to tears by their latest offering, declaring the show to be “outstanding” and awarding it an unequivocal five out of five”. Such high critical acclaim is nothing new for Dyad; in one particularly glowing example, the British Theatre Guide remarks that if you “haven’t seen Dyad Productions’ work before, you simply must”, and highlights Vaughan as “one of the most exciting young performers on the British Stage”.

Other productions from the company include Austen’s Women, I, Elizabeth, Christmas Gothic and Female Gothic, which have achieved multiple five-star reviews. Dyad continues to perform their plays on tour across the UK and internationally. On their website,, Dyad shares their ethos: “With emphasis on new writing and radical interpretations of existing text, Dyad builds new narrative paradigms that secure the emotional and intellectual engagement between audience and performer.”

Producer, performer and writer Rebecca Vaughan attended Cardiff University for her degree in English Literature; upon its completion she trained at ALRA (the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts), continuing to train in physical theatre with Sachi Kimura, student of Philippe Gaulier. Upon finding herself increasingly interested in theatre production, she became General Manager for Guy Masterson’s Theatre Tours International. Vaughan founded Dyad Productions in 2009 and has played major roles (both literally and figuratively) in many other productions for the company. Her impressive experience in the performing arts spans not only theatre but also film and television, including voiceover work for Olivier Award-winning Morecambe, the role of Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Interview for the BBC.

Costume designer and maker Kate Flanaghan graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with a BA Honours in costume construction. She has been credited as costume maker for multiple successful arts production companies including the Royal Shakespeare company, the Savoy Theatre and BBC Films, and has been Head of Wardrobe at Garsington Opera for nine years. Sound designer Danny Bright has a similarly impressive list of credits: his work as a “sound designer, composer, recordist and sonic manipulator” has appeared at many prestigious arts festivals and galleries, including V&A, Prague Quadrennial, Semaine des Arts and the Hatton Gallery. Flanaghan and Bright have also worked on highly successful Dyad productions with Vaughan previously.

A Room of One’s Own will take place at 7:45pm on Saturday 29th April.