Emily Atack review – I’m a Celebrity star on her roaring 20s

The Grand, Clapham, London The Inbetweeners’ actor gears up for her 30s with a look back at her regrets and a plea for us all to be nicer to one another Emily Atack isn’t your regular standup. Despite selling out a cross-country tour, this is the first time that the former star of sixth-form comedy The Inbetweeners has performed a solo live show. Going from zero to 100 – mimicking blowjobs, talking frankly about her weight and recalling the time she was railroaded into doing ket – would probably frighten the life out of many a new performer. However, Atack is still riding high from her appearance on the latest series of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, which took her from underemployment to starry parties and guest spots on breakfast TV – even if, as she says here, it didn’t get her the job she wanted on Keith Lemon’s Celebrity Juice. Talk Thirty to Me is a more accessible version of the quarter-life crisis genre that has become de rigueur in recent years; think Fleabag with a fixation on Ariana Grande, a prosecco permanently glued to her hand, and a calendar exploding with weddings. At 29, Atack finds that her friends are giving up alcohol because of anxiety. But, she quips, surely they’d feel better after a white wine or two? As for Joe Wicks’ healthy meals, she’d rather stick his head in the microwave. The main theme here – punctuated by tales of her own mistakes and regrets – seems to be that everyone ought to loosen up a little, especially in group WhatsApp chats. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

I’m not sure a Spice Girls invite is what Theresa May really, really wants

Geri and the gang do insist on weaving themselves into history – but is the world ready for Stoic Spice? A mixed week for Theresa May. On the one hand: she gave a speech on synthetic changes to her withdrawal agreement bill, the sequencing of which before the European elections is best described as “actual lunacy”; she was widely panned even by her previous supporters for said speech; she faced cabinet mutiny; she was forced to accept the resignation of leader of the house Andrea Leadsom; and she has her latest showdown meeting with 1922 Committee chairman Graham Brady lined up for Friday, during which he is highly likely to insist she finally do one. On the other hand: Geri Halliwell invited her to the upcoming Spice Girls tour. Downing Street says the prime minister is “considering” the invitation, adding: “We’re grateful for the message.” Well, you can only ask, can’t you? It is possible, of course, that Theresa May will have a lot on when the Spice Girls begin their much-hyped tour on Friday night. It is also possible, of course, that she will be very, very free. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Chelsea Manning director: ‘She’s a kind of punk rock figure for me’

An intimate new documentary follows Chelsea Manning after her prison release – from a safe house in the woods to a run for the senate. ‘We had to tread carefully,’ says Tim Travers Hawkins The night Chelsea Manning was released from Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, her first steps as a free woman were being filmed. It was May 2017 and she had just served nearly seven years of a 35-year sentence for disclosing 750,000 classified documents to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks. “It was nerve-racking,” says the man who filmed her, the British artist and documentary-maker Tim Travers Hawkins, from his apartment in New York. “I knew it was the money shot, if you like. It was such an important historical moment.” Related: XY Chelsea review – extreme closeup on Chelsea Manning’s complex life Continue reading… [hmp_player]

The Secret Life of Pets 2 review – return of the funny furry friends

In this wittier and less frenetic sequel, the arrival of a newborn baby upends the world of pampered pooch Max In 2016, the team behind Despicable Me and Minions pulled off a blatant act of flattery with The Secret Life of Pets – a family animation imagining what the animals of a New York apartment block got up to when their owners were at work. Its storyline felt so much like Toy Story with animals, you had to wonder if they got the lawyers in to give the script a once over. Now here’s that Hollywood rarity – a sequel that’s better than the original. It’s wittier, less frenetic and introduces fresh characters and a nice scene of strategic furball vomming. In the first movie, Max, a dependable jack russell terrier, had his world turned upside down when his owner brought home a slobbering rescue dog; this time it’s her newborn baby. Patton Oswalt seamlessly replaces Louis CK as the voice of Max, who soon accepts the sprog as the newest member of the pack. But, like an overanxious parent, he begins to see danger everywhere. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein: ‘Everyone said we didn’t belong in LA’

She was Lady Bird’s best friend and her brother Jonah Hill got a tattoo in her honour – meet the sparky star of this summer’s wildest high school comedy Beanie Feldstein is eating ice-cream in a red dress that is as bright as strawberry sauce. “This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever worn?” she says, her inflection rising at the end, as it often does, lending even her most confident assertions an equivocal note. The 25-year-old star of Lady Bird, Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising and the new film Booksmart is giggly and amiable. Within seconds of me spotting that her ice-cream is vegan (“I’m allergic to dairy?”), she is recommending vegan bakeries in hipster enclaves of the UK capital that a visiting Californian might not be expected to know about. “London is like my second home,” she trills. A glance at her Instagram feed proves that she is certainly well-acquainted with the area around the Palace theatre, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is playing. “I’m such a Harry Potter nut. My friends in college would be partying, and I’d be, like: ‘Uh, I’m gonna go home and read some Harry Potter.’” Related: Booksmart review – wild, warm high school comedy puts girls on top Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Blackpink review – K-pop megastars tick off the cliches

Wembley Arena, LondonAsia’s biggest girlband conjure up brilliant moments between the branding opportunities – but need to take more risks Entering the world of girlband Blackpink – K-Pop’s second biggest export behind the juggernaut BTS – involves huge investment, of both money and time. Tickets are upwards of £100, while at the venue queues snake outside way past the projected 8pm start and others curl out from merch stands selling, among other things, £30 light sticks that look like heart-shaped pink gavels. Instead of a support act, the pre-show warm-up is simply a playlist of the band’s lavish videos (YouTube views currently stand at more than 6bn), some of which feature the tour’s sponsor, Kia, which is later awkwardly namechecked on stage. The mention is cheered as hysterically as anything that comes out of the mouths of Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa or Rosé, with the screams almost drowning out a frenetic opening salvo featuring shape-shifting trap banger Ddu-Du Ddu-Du (performed again during the encore via a PC Music-esque remix), and the EDM-adjacent Forever Young. By the time the jaunty Whistle snaps shut we’ve been treated to every glorious X Factor-performance gimmick, from ticker tape to guffs of smoke. Continue reading… [hmp_player]