— Ellie Broughton

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Arts & entertainment

“Lady Macbeth” might be a familiar name to British opera audiences. Dmitri Shostakovich’s adaptation is, to date, the likeliest way for audiences in the UK to come across the story originally told in a Russian novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1865). Shostakovich’s opera was also featured in Julian Barnes’ novel The Noise of Time, a factor that’s sure to draw fresh interest to a run at the Royal Opera House next year.

Apart from a Polish production from the 1970s, Lady Macbeth has never hit the silver screen before. But last year Alice Birch wrote a new adaptation, taking the first half of the story and relocating it to Northumberland. This atmospheric new drama focuses on a young woman, isolated in a loveless marriage and driven to shocking violence. The film, praised by leading UK critics including Cath Clarke and Guy Lodge, is studded with incredible performances by newcomers Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, and Naomi Ackie. Among stunning interior and landscape shots that heighten a powerful and compelling narrative, questions about the power of the female gaze wait at the film’s core.

I talked to Lady Macbeth’s producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly about the film, creating a collaborative environment on set and colour-blind casting. Read more on thefword.org.uk.

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Philip Wilton, who runs Wildes in Tottenham, making and selling artisanal cheeses such as the semi-hard cow’s milk Ally Pally White, says the lack of information about Brexit is leaving his business vulnerable

As the value of the pound falls and costs rise, Brexit will stretch small and independent British cheesemakers and -mongers to breaking point. Sadly, this might be a crisis that we can’t just eat our way out of.

Read more on Eater.

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Nicole Kidman plays Julia Edwards in series two

Twelve-year-old Tui Mitcham is missing. A search party of farmers and bikers meets in the town’s dive bar, gathered under her father’s leadership. From the front of the room, his gaze pans the room. His eyes drift over a woman at the far end of the bar, dressed in a pristine black parka, and snag on her for a moment. Robin Griffin grew up in that town, and she got out: now she’s back to investigate Tui’s case. Matt Mitcham might have the microphone, but Griffin has the power.

Read more on The Pool.

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On Katherine Lester’s wedding night, her maid Anna buttons her into a nightdress.

Are you cold, Anna asks. No, Katherine replies.

Moments later, Katherine and her husband prepare for their first night together. The house is cold, he tells her. She protests that she’s thick-skinned. To punish her for answering back, he commands her to take off her nightdress. As she pulls it over her head, the gold of her wedding band catches the low light of the fire behind him. Clothes gone, finger still trapped in the ring, she stands naked in the stone cold room while he climbs under the covers.

Lady Macbeth, based on a 19th century novella, has previously been the stuff of stage and opera adaptations. (The film’s director, William Oldroyd, and writer, Alice Birch, both have backgrounds in theatre). It’s the first feature for its director, writer and producer. One of the products of the iFeatures programme, Lady Macbeth was put together in Northumberland on a shoestring budget; its star, Florence Pugh, won Breakthrough Of The Year for her performance.

Florence Pugh is mesmerising, and Ackie’s understated portrayal of Anna is quietly devastating. The view is bleak and captivating. The huge landscapes and roaring soundscapes give glimpses of the raw power that drives the protagonist. On top of the soundscapes, and those incredible painterly interior shots, the film hangs from a sizzling, stripped-back script that makes its silence claustrophobic. The energy of the film’s inevitable tragedy barrels hard into the film’s devastating twist.

As a study in power, not much else comes close this year. Expect plenty more to come from the trio behind it.

Read the full review on the film section of The Quietus here.

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Spring is in the air, and for chocoholics that can only mean one thing. Easter eggs are inspired by the traditional symbolism of the egg as promising new life, but for anyone who’s started a new life as a vegan or is dairy intolerant, they can evoke sad memories of an easier life when you didn’t have to check ingredients lists before buying.

Luckily the dairy-free egg market gets stronger every year, and we found plenty of quality, tasty options to try.

Click here to head over and see the best in show.

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