sat 10/06/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Saturday, 10 June 2023
Eight years ago I was privileged to be in Denmark on the 150th anniversary of Carl Nielsen’s birth, experiencing for the first time live his masterly Saul and David. The return...
Hugh Barnes
Saturday, 10 June 2023
Rock music helped to subvert the Soviet Union by glamorising youthful rebellion and the West. In the opening scene of Andrey Kurkov’s novel Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv, a bunch of...
Helen Hawkins
Saturday, 10 June 2023
Groundhog Day, appropriately, is back where it started. The hit film about a TV weatherman’s endlessly reiterated day in small-town USA moved to the Old Vic stage in 2016; but...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 10 June 2023
 Isata Kanneh-Mason: Childhood Tales (Decca)Ernst von Dohnányi’s Variations on a Nursery Song is one of the great concertante works for piano and orchestra, rightly compared...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 10 June 2023
Yusuf/Cat Stevens’ latest combines his apparently effortless immediacy at acoustic guitar songwriting with an orchestrated opulence that sometimes pushes the sound towards the...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 09 June 2023
This frothy bio-fantasy about the 18th century composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges and top tunesmith to Marie Antoinette at the French court, could have been a...
Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 09 June 2023
Set on the lands of the Oglala Lakota in South Dakota, War Pony focuses, in a hazy way, on the lives of 23-year-old Bill (...
David Nice
Friday, 09 June 2023
Sullivan’s score for his eighth collaboration with Gilbert is vintage work, mostly equal to the splendid sentinels flanking...
Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou
Friday, 09 June 2023
It is fitting that I watch Otobong Nkanga’s performance on a stranger’s smartphone screen. Solid Maneuvers, 2015,...
Cheri Amour
Friday, 09 June 2023
When McFly returned to our loudspeakers in the summer of 2020 with Young Dumb Thrills, the record marked their first in a...
Boyd Tonkin
Thursday, 08 June 2023
An evening of Mozart favourites in a landmark church on a sunny evening: that might suggest a perfect recipe for gently...
Ismene Brown
Thursday, 08 June 2023
With apocalyptic floods pouring through the Kakhovka dam, and millions of Ukrainians displaced or bereaved, it doesn’t feel...
Kate Whitley
Thursday, 08 June 2023
We at the Multi-Story Orchestra have been writing a new piece of music about social media. In one of the writing sessions I...
Jonathan Geddes
Thursday, 08 June 2023
There was a youthful tinge to the jubilant chorus of “here we, here we, here we f****** go” that greeted Le Tigre arriving...
Helen Hawkins
Thursday, 08 June 2023
Miles Malleson, known as an inter-war character actor who popped up in numerous small roles on stage and screen, was also a...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 08 June 2023
Tony Kushner’s early 1990s play Angels in America is an epochal, mystical, political, state-of-the-nation address, revolving...
David Nice
Wednesday, 07 June 2023
Union Jacks could be stowed away, and EU ones figuratively, furtively flourished: this was a concert of celebratory music...
Laura De Lisle
Wednesday, 07 June 2023
It’s been more than 20 years since the premiere of The Shape of Things, Neil LaBute’s prickly drama about couples and...
Joe Muggs
Wednesday, 07 June 2023
There’s been a good deal of discussion on “the socials” about how much Janelle Monáe’s sexy image is a new thing or a big...

★★★★★ POLLY TOYNBEE: AN UNEASY INHERITANCE - MY FAMILY AND OTHER RADICALS The burden of a social conscience in an experience memoir from the acclaimed journalist

HEAVENLY - LE JARDIN DE HEAVENLY UK indie band’s 1992 album outshines vitriolic detractors

★★★★ LE TIGRE, BARROWLAND BALLROOM, GLASGOW Letting out their emotions while having a party

RIP ASTRUD GILBERTO - THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA: BRAZIL, BOSSA NOVA AND THE BEACH, BBC FOUR The song made famous by Astrud Gilberto is explored by Katie Derham

★★★★ REALITY Chilling docudrama re-creates Reality Winner's interrogation by FBI agents

★★★★ HANDEL FOR THE KING French ensemble plays for Charles III

★YOURS UNFAITHFULLY A sherbert lemon of a play about open marriage from 1933 

★★★★ MCFLY - POWER TO PLAY Chart-topping British foursome turn the amps up to 11, returning to their rock'n'roll roots

★★★★ KING KRULE - SPACE HEAVY A sombre, but warm, meditation on love, loss and space

★★★ PRINCESS IDA, OAE, WILSON, QEH Complete score, superbly done, but dialogue is axed

disc of the day

Album: Yusuf/Cat Stevens - King of a Land

If you can hack the God stuff there are some lovely tunes along the way


Succession Season Four finale, Sky Atlantic review - a glorious bonfire of the vanities

The Roy family saga comes to a satisfyingly bruising end

Hannah Gadsby, Netflix special review - shaggy dog story of marital bliss

Tasmanian talks about marriage, cultural differences and autism


Chevalier review - a less than extraordinary film about an extraordinary man

Paper-thin treatment of the incredible life of Joseph Bologne

War Pony review - life on the Pine Ridge reservation in south Dakota

Riley Keough and Gina Gammell's impressive directorial debut, written in collaboration with two Native Americans

Blu-ray: Laurin

Stylish, atmospheric chiller, handsomely restored

new music

Album: Yusuf/Cat Stevens - King of a Land

If you can hack the God stuff there are some lovely tunes along the way

Album: McFly - Power to Play

Chart-topping British foursome turn the amps up to 11, returning to their rock'n'roll roots

Le Tigre, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow review - letting out their emotions while having a party

The reformed trio sprinted through a set of songs as relevant as ever


theartsdesk in Denmark - celebrating Nielsen in high style

'Nielsen, Nielsen, Nielsen!' presents the greatest of symphonists, in the round

Classical CDs: Nursery rhymes, anvils and polar explorers

A pair of young British pianists, two Requiem settings and a box set of violin sonatas

Bezuidenhout, The English Concert, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - Mozart spring-cleaned

Period styling for favourite pieces – but without the cobwebs


Princess Ida, OAE, Wilson, QEH review - musical brilliance undermined by textual botch

A complete score at last, superbly done, but as usual Gilbert's dialogue is mostly axed

Rigoletto, Opera Holland Park review - Verdi's Duke gets the Oxbridge treatment

A handsome season opener doesn't quite stab where it counts

Requiem, Opera North review - partnership and diversity

Choral-orchestral performance meets contemporary dance in cross-cultural fusion


Groundhog Day, Old Vic review - Tim Minchin’s musical returns in full-on style
A bravura turn from Andy Karl propels a tricky piece over its self-created speed bumps
Patriots, Noël Coward Theatre review - crash-bang brilliant Putin comedy does it again
Peter Morgan's zingy comedy-melodrama about Putin hits even more painful spots now


Requiem, Opera North review - partnership and diversity

Choral-orchestral performance meets contemporary dance in cross-cultural fusion

Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT1), Sadler's Wells review - an extinction rebellion in dance

A rare visit from Europe's No.1 contemporary troupe makes a powerful eco-protest

Hunting legendary treasure with ballet's Indiana Jones - Pierre Lacotte 1932-2023

The prolific recreator of early ballets has died, leaving a lively argument


Phil Wang, RFH review - smut and smarts

Nicely curated show that covers lots of topics

Dear Billy, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh review - powerful tribute to Scottish pride

Celebration of Scotland's iconic comedy legend Billy Connolly is a moving portrait of a nation


Andrey Kurkov: Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv review - a city speaks its multitudes

A middling work from Ukraine's most famous contemporary novelist still hits home, deftly translated by Reuben Woolley

Helen Czerski: Blue Machine review - how the ocean works

Czerski takes a deep dive to explore the ocean-as-engine

Polly Toynbee: An Uneasy Inheritance - My Family and Other Radicals review - looking back

The burden of a social conscience in an experience memoir from the acclaimed journalist


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