fri 04/12/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 04 December 2020
“California is for cocksuckers and flag-burners. Did they know you were a fag in the army?” Willis (Lance Henriksen; best known as Bishop in Alien) asks his son John (Viggo...
Robert Beale
Friday, 04 December 2020
The Hallé have been slow off the mark, compared with some, in their response to the challenge of concert-giving in the Covid era. But now that they have delivered on the first of...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 04 December 2020
The story of the raid on dams in Germany's Ruhr Valley by the RAF’s 617 Squadron in May 1943 has become a subject of perennial fascination as well as a potent national myth. The...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 04 December 2020
Doncaster musician Dominic Harrison – Yungblud – appeared a couple of years ago, a self-proclaimed punk, alive with vim and righteousness, touting music that, loosely speaking,...
Maxine Kwok
Thursday, 03 December 2020
2020: a year that at some point felt like the end of live performance for the world of the performing arts, certainly for the foreseeable future. Artists spent months without any...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 03 December 2020
This debut feature by writer/director Henry Blake is a shocking and remarkably assured drama about the “county lines” trade, where children are used as drug traffickers. Using...
Veronica Lee
Thursday, 03 December 2020
Edgy comedy runs the risk of discomfiting the audience so much that they can't relax and enjoy the show. But Natalie...
Joe Muggs
Thursday, 03 December 2020
Dance music has a notably different relationship to its past than other kinds of music. This has a real, material basis:...
Sarah Kent
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
Hail the Dark Lioness (Somnyama Ngonyama in Zulu) is a powerful celebration of black identity. These dramatic assertions of...
Demetrios Matheou
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
For so much of the year, Tenet was cited as the film that was going to save cinema – the tentpole extravaganza...
Liz Thomson
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Songs from Home has been an anchor-point almost since the beginning of lockdown for many people, all...
Graham Fuller
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
It was around the time of the 14th century Black Death that the word “corruption” – from the Latin corruptus, the past...
Guy Oddy
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
The Covid pandemic has meant, with both performance and recording opportunities at a minimum, that many musicians have had...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
Throughout its preceding five episodes, The Undoing (Sky Atlantic) has skilfully, if a little shamelessly, kept the fickle...
Boyd Tonkin
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
It began as a Christmas present in the bleakest of winters. In December 1939, as war engulfed Europe, Bertolt Brecht sent a...
Thomas H Green
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
Welcome to the penultimate 2020 edition of the world’s vastest, most musically wide-ranging, regularly posted, online vinyl...
Lydia Bunt
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
As much as we would like it to, writing can never fully recapture someone who is gone. This we learn all too effectively in...
Daniel Baksi
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
In his exclusive half-hour-plus interview for distributor Second Run, the affable Tsai Ming-Liang makes a striking admission...
India Lewis
Monday, 30 November 2020
Zaina Arafat’s debut details the trials and tribulations of its first generation American-Palestinian narrator, desperately...
 

★★★★★ MANK David Fincher’s brilliant, bitter-sweet paean to Hollywood’s Golden Age

★★★ HIGH CONTRAST - NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND An elegiac take on rave revivalism from thoughtful Welsh superstar producer

★★★★★ MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER, ONE NIGHT LONELY LIVESTREAM Down-home and perfectly paced

★★★★ ZANELE MUHOLI, TATE MODERN Photography as protest

★★★★★ NATALIE PALAMIDES: NATE: A ONE MAN SHOW, NETFLIX A deep dive into toxic masculinity

★★★★ THE UNDOING, SERIES FINALE, SKY ATLANTIC Bluff and double-bluff as the truth is revealed

NOT-QUITE-SOLITUDE ON THE 34TH FLOOR Violinist Maxine Kwok on lockdown in the City

★★★★  COUNTY LINES How criminal gangs lure vulnerable children into their distribution rackets

disc of the day

Album: Yungblud - Weird!

Pop-punky Brit singer's second album sounds fizzy and enormous but lacks rebel spirit

tv

The Dambusters, Channel 5 review - yet another telling of the Bouncing Bomb story

An eager Dan Snow recreates the fabled mission of Guy Gibson and 617 Squadron

film

Falling review - Viggo Mortensen's powerful directorial debut

Portrait of a disintegrating mind: Lance Henriksen excels as an angry old man

County Lines review - a scary descent into drug-dealer purgatory

How criminal gangs lure vulnerable children into their distribution rackets

Mank review – David Fincher’s brilliant, bitter-sweet paean to Hollywood’s Golden Age

Gary Oldman is on top form as Citizen Kane’s scathing screenwriter, Herman Mankiewicz

new music

Album: Yungblud - Weird!

Pop-punky Brit singer's second album sounds fizzy and enormous but lacks rebel spirit

Album: High Contrast - Notes From the Underground

An elegiac take on rave revivalism from thoughtful Welsh superstar producer

classical

Not-quite-solitude on the 34th floor: violinist Maxine Kwok on the short film 'Rising'

The LSO player relates her lockdown experience in the City of London she loves so much

opera

L'enfant et les sortilèges, VOPERA, LPO, Reynolds online – Ravel and Colette reimagined

Through the laptop screen and what the child found there, in a brilliant take on a classic

The Seven Deadly Sins, Opera North online review - viscerally thrilling

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's indictment of capitalism in a vibrant new production

Ariodante, Royal Opera online review – stylish, but confined

Accomplished ensemble tries its best to cross the footlights in livestream-only Handel

theatre

What a Carve Up!, Barn Theatre online review – ingenious whodunnit
Film adaptation of Jonathan Coe’s 1994 bestseller is a postmodern masterpiece
15 Heroines, Jermyn Street Theatre online review - putting the women back into Greek myth
Scorching adaptation of Ovid is a welcome theatrical respite from lockdown
Death of England: Delroy, National Theatre review - a furious if fleetingly seen sequel
Opening and closing night were the same for vital solo show

dance

The Seven Deadly Sins, Opera North online review - viscerally thrilling

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's indictment of capitalism in a vibrant new production

The Royal Ballet: Live, Within the Golden Hour review - stunning, joyous dance

Setback? What setback? Restrictions seem to push this company to ever greater things

Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - onward and upward

Carlos Acosta sets out his stall as artistic director of BRB

Books

Annie Ernaux: A Man's Place review - an intimate portrait, necessarily incomplete

In a memoir built on absence, France's leading writer inspects the life of her father

Zaina Arafat: You Exist Too Much review - second-generation love addiction

Self-conscious therapeutic development cannot help but recall the past

Patrick Barwise and Peter York: The War Against the BBC review - we won't know what we've got until it's gone

No government has attacked the BBC more determinedly than 21st century Conservatives

visual arts

Zanele Muholi, Tate Modern review - photography as protest

Pictures so confrontational they knock you sideways

Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, Barbican Art Gallery review - mould-breaker, ground-shaker

A crash course in the life and times of an iconoclast and muse

Sin, National Gallery review - great subject, modest show

A small gathering can't do justice to this fabulous topic

latest comments

My sentiments exactly. I've looked around for the...

this will give insight to people out here

The most boring album of all time from the DM...

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