mon 17/01/2022

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Aleks Sierz
Sunday, 16 January 2022
History is a prison. Often, you can’t escape. It imprints its mark on people, environments and language. And nowhere is this more true that in Northern Ireland, where the history...
Veronica Lee
Sunday, 16 January 2022
There was a time when UK pantomime was heavily populated by Australian soap stars; rather late in the day Jason Donovan – formerly known as Scott from Neighbours – makes his panto...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 16 January 2022
TV-watching pop fans in many of the British regions were served a treat on 16 September 1966. A whole episode of Ready Steady Go! was dedicated to Otis Redding, who had arrived in...
Gavin Dixon
Saturday, 15 January 2022
This latest revival of the Royal Opera’s Nabucco production has suffered more than most from COVID disruptions. At the first night, on 20 December, the chorus were obliged to wear...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 15 January 2022
 Gidon Kremer: The Warner Collection (Warner Classics)The words of dedication in Gidon Kremer’s autobiography, Between Worlds (2003) are chosen with care. The book is, he...
Mark Kidel
Saturday, 15 January 2022
There is a sense in which Elvis Costello emerged as a recording artist fully grown, with that unique vocal mix of vulnerability and insolence, savvy and often brilliant lyrics....
David Nice
Friday, 14 January 2022
After a too-much-too-soon debut disc, Lisa Davidsen has just rolled out the gold on CD with her great fellow Norwegian Leif...
David Nice
Thursday, 13 January 2022
Most dystopian satires are located in a nightmarish future, but their scripts build on the worst of our world today. Adam...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 13 January 2022
The BBC have billed this as a “four-part thriller about sexual politics in the modern workplace”, which is slightly...
Tim Cumming
Thursday, 13 January 2022
The first set of Spell Songs, The Lost Words, was inspired by nature writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris’s...
Gary Naylor
Wednesday, 12 January 2022
In the 80s, An Audience With... gave a television studio to an actor who then recounted stories culled from a life in...
Veronica Lee
Wednesday, 12 January 2022
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say. I'm not sure One-Woman Show, written and performed by comic, writer...
Jack Barron
Wednesday, 12 January 2022
It might be said that Paula Rego’s subject is light: but rather than painting it, she gives it. She paints deep into social...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 12 January 2022
Although Storm Queen begins forcefully with the suitably tempestuous “Heaven,” the most affecting track on the second album...
David Nice
Tuesday, 11 January 2022
It sounds like the title of a play by Rattigan. No such luck: “Force Majeure” – a legal term with which all too few will be...
Guy Oddy
Tuesday, 11 January 2022
It has been claimed by a good many commentators over the years, that an album of cover versions suggests that an artist is...
David Nice
Monday, 10 January 2022
One of the galvanizing wonders of the operatic world happened when David McVicar’s production of Mozart’s The Marriage of...
Matt Wolf
Monday, 10 January 2022
A small film that packs a significant wallop, The Humans snuck into view at the very end of 2021 to cast a despairing shadow...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 09 January 2022
“The Gun Club were true originals and Jeffrey Lee Pierce a genius. They were the inspiration behind many bands, I myself...

★★★ FORCE MAJEURE, DONMAR WAREHOUSE Too many easy laughs in ski-resort trauma

★★★★ SPELL SONGS II - LET THE LIGHT IN More nature-centric magic from the folk supergroup

★★★★ LISE DAVIDSEN, LEIF OVE ANDSNES, BARBICAN Perfect Grieg, strong Strauss & Wagner

★★ RULES OF THE GAME, BBC ONE Feminist workplace drama topples into farce 


★★★★★ ONE-WOMAN SHOW Liz Kingsman's spot-on spoof deep dives Fleabag territory

disc of the day

Album: Elvis Costello and the Imposters - The Boy Named If

Nothing will ever stop our super-gifted Elvis


Rules of the Game, BBC One review - feminist workplace drama topples into farce

Screenwriter Ruth Fowler's characters turn into caricatures

Witch Hunt, All 4 review - dark deeds and dirty money

A tangled web of power, skulduggery and lies

The Apprentice, Series 16, BBC One review - will they never learn?

Welcome return of Lord Sugar and his gang of hopefuls


Don't Look Up, Netflix review - hitting most targets in high style

Brilliant satire, not preachy lecture, on the way we live now

The Humans review - staring headlong into the abyss

Stephen Karam's Tony-winning play is even bleaker on screen

A Hero review - a morality tale with no firm conclusions

Asghar Farhadi's new film explores a weak man's selfless act, but there's not enough at stake

new music

Music Reissues Weekly: Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds - Stormy Monday And The Eagles Fly On Friday

Proof there was more to the blues-soul stylist than oldies radio staple ‘Out of Time’

Album: Elvis Costello and the Imposters - The Boy Named If

Nothing will ever stop our super-gifted Elvis

Album: Spell Songs II – Let the Light In

A second volume of nature-centric magic from the folk supergroup


Classical CDs: Violins, timpani thwacks and a symphony of iron and steel

A birthday tribute for celebrated violinist Gidon Kremer, plus symphonies, operetta and a great 20th century piano concerto

Lise Davidsen, Leif Ove Andsnes, Barbican review - perfect Grieg, impressive Strauss and Wagner

Norwegian soprano and pianist do their greatest compatriot proud in a superb song-cycle

Best of 2021: Classical music concerts

Big orchestral works returned with impressive panache, but for how long?


Nabucco, Royal Opera review - high passion but low drama

Atmospheric but ambiguous production, given extra weight by cast of rich voices

Le nozze di Figaro, Royal Opera review - New Year champagne

Perfect ensembles and recits with Antonio Pappano's return as conductor and fortepianist

Best of 2021: Opera

Only seven and a half months of live performance, but what riches under pressure


Best of 2021: Dance

There was gold among the rubble in this wreck of a year for dance

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!, Sadler's Wells Theatre review - new candy, but the nuts are off

This is designer Anthony Ward’s Nutcracker! with multiple exclamation marks

Starstruck, Scottish Ballet review - smart, sassy and cinematic

A ballet by Gene Kelly from 1960 gets new wings


One-Woman Show review - Liz Kingsman's spot-on spoof

Comic does a deep dive into Fleabag territory

Best of 2021: Comedy

One masterpiece, and a celebration of the great outdoors

Shagged. Married. Annoyed. Live, O2 Arena review - popular podcast lost in translation

Intimacy crucial to Chris and Rosie Ramsey's show is missing


Best of 2021: Books

Our top fiction titles from this year

The Holiness of Sex: Leonard Cohen's Biblical Theology

Harry Freedman, author of a new book about Leonard Cohen's spirituality, considers the singer's attitude to gettin' it on

Peter Robison: Flying Blind review – a story of decline and crawl

The galling account of the 737 MAX Boeing tragedies

visual arts

Paula Rego: The Forgotten, Victoria Miro review - relentless focus

A selection of later work is more than a coda to Tate's recent retrospective

Best of 2021: Visual Arts

Our highlights of the year just gone

latest comments

As background for this excellent review I suggest...

The film was completely biased against Kaiser...

One thing that didn’t make sense to me was that...

Your excellent review says she "ends the evening...

this release is messy, the recording technique...

Indeed, brainslip, thanks, I'll correct that.

I've seen this production a few times before and...


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