thu 19/05/2022

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Thomas H Green
Thursday, 19 May 2022
One effect of the film I Get Knocked Down, a playfully constructed journey around the life of Chumbawamba vocalist Dunstan Bruce, is to remind that socio-political rage was once...
Bernard Hughes
Thursday, 19 May 2022
I came for the Schubert and the Schubert didn’t disappoint. Which was good, as the Mozart and Stravinsky did, a little. I came to know Schubert’s Fifth Symphony only relatively...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Thursday, 19 May 2022
The Innocents made a splash at Cannes in 2021 and it’s easy to see why. This Norwegian supernatural-thriller is both deeply creepy and heartfelt, deftly written and directed by...
Rachel Halliburton
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Anne-Marie Duff blazes across the stage like a meteorite in Beth Steel’s excoriating drama about the changes sweeping through a Northern mining town over the course of five...
Gary Naylor
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Barry Gibb was at the considerable peak of his era-defining songwriting powers when he provided the song that played over the opening titles of the iconic 1978 film, so it's a...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Toronto’s Tallies have acknowledged their fondness for Aztec Camera, The Smiths and The Sundays. Add Cocteau Twins into the building blocks, too. Encountering a band so strongly...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Swedish singer Lykke Li has called her new album Eyeye “her most intimate work to date”. In regard to Lykke Li’s music, this...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 17 May 2022
Sarah Perry’s 2016 bestseller The Essex Serpent has been described as “a novel of ideas”, which almost sounds like a warning...
Jonathan Geddes
Tuesday, 17 May 2022
“This town makes me sweat”, declared Charlotte Aitchison at one point in this set, as she took a brief breather between...
Graham Fuller
Tuesday, 17 May 2022
Life, opined Thomas Hobbes, is “nasty, brutish, and short”. In Gaspar Noé’s Vortex it’s not short enough for a dementia-...
Tom Carr
Tuesday, 17 May 2022
Since their 2010 debut, Man Alive, Everything Everything have dissected the various structures of human relationships, from...
Caspar Gomez
Monday, 16 May 2022
My friend George claims to have nightmares about The Great Escape. In them he’s standing in an endless queue, never reaching...
Rachel Halliburton
Monday, 16 May 2022
Jude is the kind of girl that no-one would want to mess with – she can dance like a demon to Eric Clapton, skewer an ego in...
David Nice
Monday, 16 May 2022
As the final slew of episodes in the last series of Ozark begins, Marty and Wendy Byrde, ever more the Macbeths of Osage...
Gavin Dixon
Monday, 16 May 2022
Conductor and pianist came at Liszt from opposite directions last night. Michael Tilson Thomas is a venerable presence at...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 16 May 2022
Andy Zaltzman comes on stage to deliver a short preamble to his show Satirist For Hire. Much of the hour is suggested by the...
Robert Beale
Monday, 16 May 2022
Saturday’s concert by the BBC Philharmonic was in large measure about the Mahlers – Gustav and Alma. The former’s First...
Mark Kidel
Monday, 16 May 2022
There is so much gospel out there that it’s not easy to stand out above the crowd. Mavis Staples, with a distinctive voice...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 15 May 2022
“Ramonic buzzsaw impressionism guitars lovingly poured like a truckload of Quaker Oats over the indecipherable lyrical...
 

★★★★ VORTEX An old couple's road to nowhere

★★★★ CHARLI XCX, O2 ACADEMY, GLASGOW Sweat-drenched pop amid feverish atmosphere

★★★★★ THE ESSEX SERPENT, APPLE TV+ Tradition and superstition vs the march of progress

★ GREASE, Dominion Theatre Nostalgia for the late 1950s and late 1970s underpins an entertaining show

★★★ VONDRACEK, LSO, TILSON THOMAS, BARBICAN Detail in Liszt & Mahler, drama lacking

★★★★ ANDY ZALTZMAN, SOHO THEATRE Setting the world to rights, one joke at a time

★★★ MAVIS STAPLES, LEVON HELM - CARRY ME HOME Good enough gospel, a little too bland

★★★ THE BREACH, HAMPSTEAD THEATRE Profoundly uncomfortable work that burns like ice

★★★★ TALLIES, OLD BLUE LAST Canadian quintet rejuvenates indie prototypes

disc of the day

Album: Lykke Li - EYEYE

Lykke Li's shortest album is her most expansive yet

tv

The Essex Serpent, Apple TV+ review - tradition and superstition versus the march of progress

The battle of ideas comes to the East Coast in exquisitely shot treatment of Sarah Perry's novel

Ozark, Series 4 Part 2, Netflix review - crumbling consciences and a last stand

No spoilers, hopefully: farewell to this superbly-acted corruption saga

The Staircase, NOW review - addictive dramatisation of real-life murder investigation

Colin Firth visits the dark side as suspected killer Michael Peterson

film

I Get Knocked Down, Brighton Festival review - Chumbawamba singer's film is lively, funny and thought-provoking

Nineties anarcho-pop star ruminates entertainingly on what it all meant

The Innocents review - they're just playing

Stellar performances by a young cast in this Norwegian supernatural-thriller

Vortex review – an old couple's road to nowhere

Gaspar Noé's unflinching depiction of dementia's merciless grip

new music

Album: Lykke Li - EYEYE

Lykke Li's shortest album is her most expansive yet

Charli XCX, O2 Academy, Glasgow review - sweat-drenched pop amid feverish atmosphere

The singer's commanding presence overcame a slick production

classical

Vondráček, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - mixed messages

Fine detail in Liszt and Mahler, but drama was lacking

Dandy, BBC Philharmonic, New, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - energy and fierce attention

Gustav and Alma Mahler, and pictorial music, are linked in a fascinating programme

Classical CDs: Double reeds, double pianos and double string orchestras

Poetry from a great bassoonist, Slavic jazz, and two fizzing collections of music for string orchestra

opera

Fidelio, Insula Orchestra, Barbican review - truth and justice brought to light

Sturdy singing and human drama enrich a fuss-free staging of Beethoven's only opera

Mavra/Pierrot Lunaire, Linbury Theatre review - operatic madness tempered with plenty of method

A collision of musical worlds makes for an intriguing double-bill

Serse, The English Concert, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - star turns from five remarkable women

Emily D’Angelo’s Xerxes is king, but doesn’t eclipse other greats in a Handel masterpiece

theatre

The House of Shades, Almeida Theatre review - Anne-Marie Duff blazes in Beth Steel's excoriating new drama
Inter-generational story from a Northern mining town melds naturalism and tragedy
Grease, Dominion Theatre review - a super night out, great songs well sung and spectacular dancing
Crowdpleaser pleases crowd: this High School musical delivers what its audience wants

dance

Classical CDs: Toyshops, begging gods and a good year for Austrian music

Classical piano music, French symphonies and a big box of ballets

Dance for Ukraine, London Coliseum, online review - a gala to remember

Swiftly-assembled charity effort demonstrates dancers' engagement with the world

The Weathering/Solo Echo/DGV, Royal Ballet review - the dancer as chameleon

Strong one-act works by Kyle Abraham and Crystal Pite show the dancers at their adaptive best

comedy

Andy Zaltzman, Soho Theatre review - satire on the hoof

Setting the world to rights, one joke at a time

Brandon Wardell, Soho Theatre review - US comic wings it

UK debut show is disjointed and uneven

Stratagem With Alan Partridge, touring review - he's back as a lifestyle guru

Steve Coogan's creation doesn't quite hit the spot

Books

Laura Beatty: Looking for Theophrastus review - adventures in psychobiography

A portrait of Lesbos and its ‘lost’ philosopher

Emily St John Mandel: Sea of Tranquility review - time travel, pandemics and the simulation hypothesis

A compelling and charming novel but the characters are a little thin

latest comments

I agree. I was in the side corner of the stalls...

Great review! I felt like I was the only one who...

... and what about David Hurley, ex-Kings Singer...

This is the oddest review I have ever read. She...

Totally agree. Just watched the episodes on Acorn...

This film tries to give the children, and the...

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters