fri 22/09/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Helen Hawkins
Friday, 22 September 2023
The work of the double Pulitzer-winning Black American dramatist Lynn Nottage has thankfully become a fixture in the UK. After its award-winning production of Sweat, the Donmar...
Edward Gardner
Friday, 22 September 2023
“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”“What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.”With these two...
Alice Brewer
Friday, 22 September 2023
Motion Sickness (1991) is the second novel published by the writer, art collector and cultural critic Lynne Tillman. It is difficult, to her credit, to say what it is really about...
David Nice
Friday, 22 September 2023
Britten’s biggest cornucopia of invention seems unsinkable, and no-one seeing his breakthrough 1945 opera for the first time in this revival will fail to register its forceful...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 22 September 2023
Thanks to numerous arguments and disagreements over script, casting etc, nine years have elapsed since Expendables 3 hit the multiplexes, and Sylvester Stallone and his mercenary...
Robert Beale
Friday, 22 September 2023
For someone who said when he first took the helm at the Hallé that he “didn’t do much Mahler”, Sir Mark Elder has a pretty good track record. He’s conducted all the symphonies...
Guy Oddy
Friday, 22 September 2023
Two years after the release of her rather flaccid Disco album and five since her somewhat inadvisable foray into country-ish...
Helen Hawkins
Thursday, 21 September 2023
An impressive performance by Samuel West as one of two warring hams stuck on-set in a trailer over a not-so-dormant volcano...
Carol Williams
Thursday, 21 September 2023
I have always had a fascination with concert programmes. I did my Doctorate thesis on this subject. I remember vividly as a...
James Saynor
Thursday, 21 September 2023
If you think we’ve got culture wars, then welcome to Transylvania. This rugged Romanian region is home to a bewildering...
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 21 September 2023
Can there be too much repetition? Is there a limit to the level of rhythmic insistence which can be tolerated? Judging by...
Ismene Brown
Thursday, 21 September 2023
This powerful play’s immediate backstory, with Moscow sentencing its author to eight years’ jail and its director going into...
Graham Fuller
Thursday, 21 September 2023
A shot of a dead field mouse sets the tone for this sobering “slow cinema” documentary, narrator-director Christopher Morris...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 21 September 2023
Had Devendra Banhart been born between 1940 and 1950, he’d likely be a household name. His output– very loosely – sits...
David Nice
Wednesday, 20 September 2023
Many of us have perhaps grown too accustomed to the friendly face of My Fair Lady. George Bernard Shaw’s very original play...
Hugh Barnes
Wednesday, 20 September 2023
François Truffaut said that there is no such thing as an anti-war film because cinema inevitably glorifies the horror of...
Demetrios Matheou
Wednesday, 20 September 2023
With more than 20 plays under her belt, San-Francisco based Lauren Gunderson is one of the most produced playwrights in the...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 20 September 2023
Nothing Lasts Forever opens with a drone, a weightless prologue of guitar feedback evoking the initial moments of the...
Boyd Tonkin
Tuesday, 19 September 2023
These days British orchestras count themselves lucky if they can see, and plan, five years ahead. In Bavaria they do things...



★★★★★ PYGMALION, OLD VIC Zappy wit and emotional intelligence

★★★ A HAUNTING IN VENICE Branagh and his cast have fun, but not enough narrative impact

★★★★ PETER KAY, O2 ARENA Nostalgia-fest delivers an emotional punch

★★★★ TOP BOY, SEASON 5, NETFLIX Grime and punishment


★★★★ THE LITTLE BIG THINGS, @SOHOPLACE An original British musical delivers

disc of the day

Album: Kylie Minogue - Tension

Nineties House and Electro flavour Kylie’s latest reappearance


Wilderness, Prime Video review - twisty thriller that leaves a nasty aftertaste

Gilded couple explore the barren lands of their blighted marriage

Top Boy, Season 5, Netflix review - grime and punishment

Ronan Bennett's Hackney crime epic reaches a fiery conclusion


Expend4bles review - last ride for the over-the-hill gang?

Sly Stallone's veterans franchise has seen better days

R.M.N. review - ethnic cleansing in rural Romania

Cristian Mungiu's tale from Transylvania has bite but may not be his best

A Year in a Field review - exemplary eco-doc

Filmmaker Christopher Morris keeps vigil near Land's End as the planet goes to hell

new music

Album: Kylie Minogue - Tension

Nineties House and Electro flavour Kylie’s latest reappearance

Album: Devendra Banhart - Flying Wig

Offbeat singer-songwriter's latest is an electronically adventurous misfire


First Person: conductor Edward Gardner on some of his questions and obsessions about Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony

On music that can be 'universal and personal, fragile and grand, all at the same time'

Mahler 9, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - beginning a celebration

Conductor’s ‘slightly valedictory’ season begins with affection and passion

First Person: 'America's sweetheart organist' Carol Williams on running the musical gamut

A born entertainer about to surprise London audiences discusses her happy life


Peter Grimes, English National Opera review - not quite the pity or the truth

Strong sounds, but the tension sometimes flags in this hit-and-miss revival

The Yellow Wallpaper, Lilian Baylis Studio review - a tense and intimate monodrama

New opera re-works classic short story with committed performances and striking staging

Das Rheingold, Royal Opera - knotty, riveting route to destruction

Barrie Kosky and Antonio Pappano work superbly with a true team of singer-actors


Mlima's Tale, Kiln Theatre review - simple, powerful tale about the rape of Africa
Lynn Nottage’s 2018 play gets an exquisite staging with moving performances
It's Headed Straight Towards Us, Park Theatre review - indigestible mix of fact and fiction
Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer have muddled aims for a tale of warring actors
The White Factory, Marylebone Theatre review - what price dignity in hell?
Dazzling Russian production finds fresh relevance in the Lodz ghetto massacre


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating display of a full deck of dance styles

From stately to sexy, these fabulously physical dancers engage every emotion

Matthew Bourne's Romeo + Juliet, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating dancing, inventive moves

New Adventures creates lovers with tender appeal for a younger generation

Jewels, The Australian Ballet, Royal Opera House review - a sparkling parade of great dancing

David Hallberg's Australians are pitch perfect in Balanchine's masterpiece


Peter Kay, O2 Arena review - comeback show is worth the wait

Nostalgia-fest delivers an emotional punch

Edinburgh Fringe 2023 review: Ahir Shah

Deserved winner of prestigious award


Warhol, Velázquez, and leaving things out: an interview with Lynne Tillman

Allongside its British re-release, the author of Motion Sickness discusses the state of fiction and her ways of writing

Celia Dale: Sheep's Clothing review - unsettling, mundane, and right on-trend

Daunt Books continues its mission to bring Dale’s witty amorality to modern light

Lutz Seiler: Pitch & Glint review - real verse power

A seminal work of German verse translated into radiant English for the first time

visual arts

Beatriz Milhazes: Maresias, Turner Contemporary review - the taste and sight of Brazil

A retrospective of the Brazilian artist's career transports us to Rio de Janeiro

Differently Various, The Curve, Barbican review - a step in a shared direction

Richly engaging exhibition by artists who have experienced brain injuries

latest comments

Perhaps you could enlarge on that? There was...

Promising start to a new cycle and more...

She shouldn't talk about things she knows nothing...

Great to receive a comment that gives a very...

This review seems a little mean-spirited. Cavassa...

Artistically fine he might be, but Keller, like...

What a tragicslly sad and narrow worldview. You'd...


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