In Review

What’s on this weekend? From Cats to A Christmas Carol

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: A Christmas Carol

Paul Kirkley for the Radio Times

“Perhaps the real surprise isn’t the Peaky Blinders creator’s decision to re-tool Dickens’s classic morality tale as a full-blooded horror story, but the fact that more people haven’t done it before…But it’s not just a horror story, of course. I’m sorry to raise the deadening spectre of ‘relevance’, but this is a Christmas Carol that’s very much of the moment. ‘Scrooge and Marley Investments’ suggests the penurious pair could be anything from loan sharks to hedge fund managers, and there’s explicit talk of life ‘since the financial collapse’. We also see the scalded, screaming victims of an industrial accident, and Scrooge’s attempt at the inquest to blame everyone from sub-contractors to the workers themselves resonates uncomfortably in post-Grenfell Britain.”

Sunday 22 December, 9pm on BBC One

MOVIE: Cats

Tim Tobey in The Telegraph

“Once seen, the only realistic way to fix Cats would be to spay it, or simply pretend it never happened. Because it’s an all-time disaster – a rare and star-spangled calamity which will leave jaws littered across floors and agents unemployed. For the first time since the head-spinningly dire dadcom Old Dogs in 2010, I'm giving a film no stars…It becomes a scramble to get out alive…Meanwhile, the Frankensteinian marriage of live performance, ‘digital fur technology’ and human/cat anatomical splicing – the boobs! they have boobs??!! – has such endlessly sinister impact that the film's U certificate ought to be an 18.”

Released 20 December

BOOK: Africaville by Jeffrey Colvin

Publishers Weekly

“Inspired by Africville, a neighbourhood in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Colvin’s intriguing and memorable debut shines a light on a little-known black experience: the freed slaves from the Caribbean and U.S. who established a community in Canada in the 1800s…The book covers much territory—the black experience in a small enclave in Canada and Etienne’s and Warner’s grappling with their racial identity—and sometimes these varying plots feel like they belong in two different books, making for a novel that feels diffuse. Nevertheless, this is a penetrating, fresh look at the indomitable spirit of black pioneers and their descendants.”

Out now

STAGE: Pippi Longstocking

Michael Billington in The Guardian

“I’ve come late in life to Astrid Lindgren’s famous stories about a funny, resourceful, rebellious nine-year-old. I can see why she has influenced legions of women from Michelle Obama to Madonna…the virtue of the show is that it conveys the spirit of the books and suggests that Pippi belongs in the great line of rule-breakers from the medieval Till Eulenspiegel to Richmal Crompton’s William. I came out with a smile on my face, which is fortunate since this show marks the end of a chapter in my life as a critic and allowed me to exit stage left happily chuckling.”

At the Royal & Derngate theatre, Northampton until 31 December

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