International Literature Festival, Utrecht – ILFU

SALMAN RUSHDIE: on New York, Nero and Naipaul – 19th September 2018
At seventy-one, Rushdie confesses that he loves living in New York in spite of its links with Donald Trump. This brings him to his latest novel, The Golden House, (2017) and one of its central characters, Nero.

STAR WOUND at MixTree in Amsterdam

The story of Starwound begins 6 years ago, when they thought about the necessity of giving their artistic contribution during a difficult situation like the one that happened in Greece during the economic crisis. Their first performance was in Athens . . . As Petros, the band’s pianist says, ‘We are not a traditional rock band. Neither a jazz one. . .’

HUGO CLAUS, CON AMORE at the Kunsthal, Rotterdam

Claus was primarily a writer. He wrote a thousand pages of poetry, more than sixty plays, over twenty novels and several essays, film scripts, libretti and translations but he also made forays into film-making and the visual arts as this small but nicely presented exhibition demonstrates.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE at Raadhuis de Paauw, Wassenaar

The simplicity of the outdoor setting was off-set by a variety of comic costume choices, including a selection of wigs in dubious condition and a general merriment of approach that encourages the sort of audience response that was no doubt typical of Shakespeare’s own time

PURE RUBENS at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam

With Pure Rubens, the curators have created a glittering gem of an exhibition . . . I was never a great fan of Rubens’ typically overloaded paintings. For me they are too rich, too voluptuous, too rubenesque – but the oil sketches, they are breath-taking and utterly wonderful.