In Review

What’s on this weekend? From State of the Union to It Chapter Two

Your guide to what’s worth seeing and reading this weekend

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The Week’s best film, TV, book and live show on this weekend, with excerpts from the top reviews.

TELEVISION: State of the Union

Alan Sepinwall for Rolling Stone

Each of its 10 episodes runs only 10 minutes, taking place entirely in and around the pub where the estranged spouses meet to pregame their weekly marriage counselling. And the instalments are lightly comedic at least as often as they are probing about all the problems - including, as Tom describes Louise’s transgressions, a “spot of infidelity” - that brought them to this inflection point… in a TV landscape where episodes and seasons can overstay their welcome, State of the Union turns out to be the perfect length.”

On at 10.10pm on 8 September, BBC Two

MOVIE: It Chapter Two

Anthony Breznican for Vanity Fair

“‘Fear not’ is an unlikely theme for a horror movie about a shape-shifting malevolent entity that devours people after tenderising them with terror and misery, but…Chapter Two aims both to celebrate bravery and to highlight a harsh lesson: that sometimes, the pain of the past can return to do more damage…Scary stories for kids always have a simple moral: Don’t cry wolf. Don’t talk to strangers. For adult moviegoers, It: Chapter Two is a more complicated cautionary tale: You’re not alone, unless you go alone.”

Released 6 September

BOOK: The Secrets We Kept

Janet Maslin in The New York Times

“The true stories within Lara Prescott’s first novel, The Secrets We Kept, are by far the best thing about it. That’s saying a lot, because the job of weaving together bombshell espionage material long kept secret by the CIA with the creation story of a now-dusty Russian novel and tartly-observed Mad Men-era feminism and sexual bigotry was tough. Prescott has managed to shape all of this into an above-average entry in the I-Knew-Hemingway genre.”

Released 3 September

STAGE: Peter Gynt

Michael Billington in The Guardian

“This play is credited as ‘by David Hare after Henrik Ibsen’. What that means, in practice, is that Hare sticks faithfully to the structure of Ibsen’s 1867 dramatic poem while radically updating the content. The result is a sharp satire on contemporary mores that yields an outstanding performance from James McArdle but that, revealingly, is at its most moving when it comes closest to Ibsen’s original…Hare has fashioned from this unruly epic an intriguing new work that exposes the madness of a modern world where truth is subjective and everything is viewed through the narrow prism of self.”

Playing until 8 October at the National Theatre, London

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