tue 19/09/2017

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Documentary theatre has a poor reputation. It’s boring in form, boring to look at (all those middle-aged men in suits), and usually only tells you what you already know. It’s...
Veronica Lee
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
She’s only 30, but Mae Martin has been at this comedy lark for a long time. By her own admission she was a rather strange child; she became obsessed with stand-up after her...
Matthew Wright
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Caressing the microphone, and gazing into the audience with winsome, soulful sincerity, tousled auburn locks glistening in the stage light, Mads Mathias looks like nothing so much...
Guy Oddy
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Luciferian Towers, the third album since Canadian oddballs Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s 2011 reunion, is an instrumental psychedelic masterpiece that reflects our times without...
Peter Quantrill
Monday, 18 September 2017
For his monster concerts in 1840s Paris, Berlioz took pride in assembling and marshalling a "great beast of an orchestra". At the Barbican on Sunday night, the LSO filled the...
Marina Vaizey
Monday, 18 September 2017
Magnum was founded just after the war in 1947 as a co-operative that ensured both the quality of its members, and their clout in dealing with the media world. Its longevity is...
Florence Hallett
Monday, 18 September 2017
If only a modest fuss is being made about the rare and prestigious loan currently residing in Trafalgar Square, it could be...
Robert Beale
Monday, 18 September 2017
The first two one-acters in Opera North’s season called The Little Greats were unveiled on Saturday. There are six in all,...
Will Rathbone
Monday, 18 September 2017
Thebes Land returns to the Arcola Theatre as part of the wider CASA Latin American Theatre Festival, following a short 2016...
Sebastian Scotney
Monday, 18 September 2017
“Keep here your watch, and never part.” There was a strong symbolism of standing and singing together in the last moments of...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 18 September 2017
Recorded in Rhinebeck, upstate New York, the ninth album in Josh Ritter’s 18-year career strikes many moods, from the manic...
David Nice
Sunday, 17 September 2017
Hands both sensitive and surgical are needed to guide a reader into the heart of the 20th century’s second biggest genocide...
Adam Sweeting
Sunday, 17 September 2017
What would Saturday nights be without BBC Four’s regular subtitle-fests? Black Lake, their new Swedish import, has nothing...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 17 September 2017
In February 1965, Melody Maker asked John Lennon about his personal enthusiasm for Bob Dylan material and Dylan...
Liz Thomson
Sunday, 17 September 2017
We are now firmly in the post-truth era as defined by Oxford Dictionaries: "adjective - relating to or denoting...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 17 September 2017
In the UK, the best-known version of “Shadows and Reflections” is by mod band The Action, who issued it as a single in June...
Jonathan Dove
Saturday, 16 September 2017
When I first read Mansfield Park, some 30 years ago, I heard music. That doesn’t always happen when I read, and it certainly...
Jasper Rees
Saturday, 16 September 2017
Robert Harris’s first book about Hitler told the story of the hoax diaries which duped Rupert Murdoch and Hugh Trevor-Roper...
Tim Cumming
Saturday, 16 September 2017
Leveret (an old name for a young hare) got together in 2014. They comprise former Bellowhead fiddler Sam Sweeney, English...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 16 September 2017
 John Cage: Two4 Aisha Orazbayeva (violin), Naomi Sato (shō) (SN Variations)The shō is a Japanese wind instrument long...

★★★★★ DVD/BU-RAY: MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE Heartbreaking, funny Swiss stop-motion animation

THE BEST TV THIS WEEK What to watch and where to find it

★★★★★ ANNE APPLEBAUM: RED FAMINE Horrifying detail on Stalin's Ukrainian genocide made bearable by sharp prose

★★★★★ CINEMA THROUGH THE EYE OF MAGNUM, BBC FOUR French documentary about the agency's film work sheds light on James Dean and Marilyn Monroe

REISSUE CDS WEEKLY: TAKE WHAT YOU NEED - UK COVERS OF BOB DYLAN SONGS 1964-69 Enlightening compilation chronicling mixed-bag approach to tackling the songs of Bob

★★★★ LA DAMNATION DE FAUST, LSO, RATTLE, BARBICAN Adrenaline levels still running high for the second instalment of #ThisisRattle


disc of the day

CD: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Luciferian Towers

A fine album of defiantly uncommercial psychedelia from the Canadian oddballs

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Cinema Through the Eye of Magnum, BBC Four review - moving pictures

French documentary about the agency's film work sheds light on James Dean and Marilyn Monroe

Black Lake, BBC Four review – Nordic blanc falls flat

Swedish ski resort thriller urgently needs some hotting up

The best TV to watch this week

What to watch and where to find it


mother! review - Darren Aronofsky dares, frustrates and bores

Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem get mixed up in a metaphorical mess

Victoria and Abdul review - Judi Dench's Queen Victoria retread battles creaky script

Little-known slice of history is briefly charming and then a chore

DVD/Blu-ray: My Life as a Courgette

Heartbreaking, funny Swiss stop-motion animation

new music

Mads Mathias, Pizza Express Jazz Club - honeyed yet precise

Danish jazz singer belies romantic appearance with tight and complex performance

CD: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Luciferian Towers

A fine album of defiantly uncommercial psychedelia from the Canadian oddballs

The Best Albums of 2017

theartsdesk's music critics pick their favourites of the year


La Damnation de Faust, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - infernal dynamite

Adrenaline levels still running high for the second instalment of #ThisisRattle

Grenfell Tower Benefit Concert, Cadogan Hall - stellar line-up for a vital cause

A message went out. And then the scale of the event started to grow...

Classical CDs Weekly: Cage, Mahler, Satie

American experimentalism, vintage recordings from a fiery conductor and more oddities from a Parisian maverick


La Damnation de Faust, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - infernal dynamite

Adrenaline levels still running high for the second instalment of #ThisisRattle

Pagliacci/L’enfant et les sortilèges, Opera North review - off and on with the motley

Masterpieces by Leoncavallo and Ravel launch a season of one-acters in style

'Fanny Price’s pained silences gave me the impulse to write music for her'

Jonathan Dove on the genesis and full orchestral premiere of his opera Mansfield Park


Oslo, National Theatre review - informative, gripping and moving
Award-heavy American play about the Oslo Accords is highly entertaining
Thebes Land, Arcola Theatre - meta-theatre at its most thrilling
Off West End hit returns for a deserved encore
The Best Plays in London
From Harry Potter to The Ferryman: theartsdesk's stage tips


La Bayadère, Mariinsky Ballet review - a parade of delights

Russians save the best till last in lavish display of showmanship and art

Contrasts, Mariinsky Ballet review - company shows off range of its powers

Ekaterina Kondaurova the star as Russians display heritage and contemporary works at Royal Opera House

Swan Lake, Mariinsky Ballet review - Xander Parish lacks the spark of wildfire

Heritage company fail to set stage alight in good, but not great, performance at the Royal Opera House


Mae Martin, Soho Theatre review - life is a drug

Dry storytelling about an obsessional life

Edinburgh Festival and Fringe 2017 reviews round-up

theartsdesk recommends the shows to catch this August

Edinburgh Fringe 2017 reviews: Ingrid Oliver / Darren Harriott / Jayde Adams

An excellent mimic, a strong debut, and a dynamic entertainer


Destiny 2 review - a worthy follow-up to the biggest game of a generation

Bigger means better for this online sci-fi shooter

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review - absolutely beautiful and still great fun to play

When the old dog looks this good, you don’t need new tricks

Agents of Mayhem review - digital déjà vu

Crazy action wrapped up in a repetitive formula

visual arts

Rachel Whiteread, Tate Britain review – exceptional beauty

A singular vision that transforms everyday objects into extraordinary sculptures

The Best Exhibitions in London

Whiteread, Sargent, Pink Floyd and more: our favourite shows to see now


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