thu 02/07/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Matt Wolf
Thursday, 02 July 2020
Can this weekly lineup really now be three months old?  As we move towards at least some degree of relaxation on the social restrictions that have long been in place, the...
Bernard Hughes
Thursday, 02 July 2020
The Opera Company is an enterprising set-up based in London and founded with a mission to commission and stage new operas by early career composers. They have so far produced...
Joseph Walsh
Thursday, 02 July 2020
British director Fyzal Boulifa makes his feature film debut with a bruising account of female-friendship torn apart by personal tragedies and gossipmongers, on a council estate in...
Laura De Lisle
Thursday, 02 July 2020
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks’ best-selling First World War novel, has been adapted quite a few times in its twenty-seven years. First came the TV series in 2012, starring Eddie...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 02 July 2020
American history of the 1930s and ‘40s suddenly seems to be all the rage on TV, cropping up in the reborn Perry Mason, Das Boot and now this new incarnation of Penny Dreadful (Sky...
Tom Birchenough
Thursday, 02 July 2020
David France’s revelatory film may have been subtitled “The Gay Purge”, but from the start it was clear this wasn’t just another documentary from Russia charting the increasing...
Katherine Waters
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
With the first round of galleries opening their doors in June and a new round getting ready to open in July, we’ve a half-...
Caspar Gomez
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
Coronavirus blah blah blah. Glastonbury cancelled. What to do? Didn’t go to the 2010 festival for reasons too tedious to go...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
The second series of Das Boot (Sky Atlantic) began strongly, and by the time we reached this last pair of episodes it was...
Marianka Swain
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
The movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights was meant to hit cinemas this summer, but, in response to Covid-...
Florence Hallett
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
From her fourth floor flat, which is also her studio, the painter Celia Paul looks out over the British Museum, the figures...
Svend McEwan-Brown
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
They say that you discover who your true friends are when you find yourself in direst need. East Neuk Festival, our success...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
The nightmarishness of the M25 motorway is well known, especially if you get stuck on the Heathrow section on a wet Sunday...
Liz Thomson
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
Listening to Willie Nelson’s latest album is like pulling on a pair of beloved beat-up cowboy boots. The declarative vocal...
David Nice
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
In her surprisingly self-revealing collection of essays and interviews Frantumaglia (Neapolitan dialect word for a...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Criss Cross is a superbly taut film noir, a 1949 drama that unfolds with the inevitable downward spiral of ancient tragedy....
Liz Thomson
Monday, 29 June 2020
It’s 15 years since two schoolfriends with a passion for acoustic music opened Green Note in London’s Camden Town, their...
Mark Kidel
Monday, 29 June 2020
One of the songs on Paul Weller’s excellent new album – only similar to his previous one True Meanings (2018) in that once...
Katherine Waters
Sunday, 28 June 2020
In July 1966, Tahar Ben Jelloun’s life changed. As punishment for participating in a peaceful student demonstration against...

★★★ THE HIDDEN WILDS OF THE MOTORWAY, BBC FOUR Mysteries and marvels of the M25

SVEND MCEWAN-BROWN, EAST NEUK FESTIVAL DIRECTOR 'We are still standing and planning for the brightest future we can'



GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL 2020 Beyoncé, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., marijuana and time travel


★★★ WILLIE NELSON - FIRST ROSE OF SPRING Willie Nelson will soothe our lockdown souls

★★★★ HAMILTON, DISNEY+ Puts us all in the room where it happened

disc of the day

Album: Willie Nelson - First Rose of Spring

Lockdown has made us all a little crazy - Willie Nelson will soothe our souls


Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Sky Atlantic review - the good, the bad and the unspeakable

Shape-shifting Natalie Dormer wreaks havoc in a combustible 1930s Los Angeles

Storyville: Welcome to Chechnya, BBC Four review - trauma, tension and resistance

David France's 'guerrilla' documentary charts brave Russian response to extreme anti-LGBTQ campaign

Das Boot, Series 2 Finale, Sky Atlantic review - deeper and darker

The casualties mount as the waters keep getting rougher


Lynn + Lucy review - a bruising tale of female friendship

Fyzal Boulifa directorial debut is a stark, unforgiving portrait of modern Britain

Blu-ray: Criss Cross

Robert Siodmak's masterpiece of film noir - a story of passion and betrayal

Blu-Ray: Laughter in Paradise, The Green Man

Alastair Sim redeems a pair of patchy non-Ealing comedies

new music

Glastonbury Festival 2020: Beyoncé, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., marijuana and time travel

With Glastonbury halted, our intrepid reporter attempts to recreate it, while dreaming of the 1990 Festival

Album: Willie Nelson - First Rose of Spring

Lockdown has made us all a little crazy - Willie Nelson will soothe our souls


‘We are still standing and planning for the brightest future we can’: Svend McEwan-Brown on the survival of a festival

East Neuk Festival Director finds generosity, humanity and a hunger for culture in a crisis

Classical CDs Weekly: Enescu, Mendelssohn, Tuur, Sara Stowe

String octets, Estonian orchestral music and an avant-garde vocal disc


The Opera Story: Episodes review - whimsical takes on lockdown life

Young London company offers snapshots of contemporary living

Classical music/Opera direct to home 17 - festive inventions

Celebrating a maverick conductor, two great artists in recital and home-grown ingenuity

Don Giovanni/Sibelius plus, Swedish RSO, Harding, livestream review - dark studio rituals

Vivid Mozart style from top cast and conductor, but concepts work only fitfully


Theatre Lockdown Special 12: An American rarity, a British savoury, and fresh Apples
Nigel Slater is back, as is Richard Nelson's Apple family for a second time via Zoom
Birdsong, The Original Theatre Company online review – a gutsy experiment
Socially distanced version of Sebastian Faulks novel clips along at a fair pace
Hamilton, Disney+ review - puts us all in the room where it happened
Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical gets another shot on screen


'If they had been any closer my face would have misted up': filming 'Men at the Barre'

The director Richard Macer had exclusive access to the male stars of the Royal Ballet. He describes what he discovered

The Thread, Sadler's Wells Digital Stage review - Greek folk and contemporary unite

Russell Maliphant breathes fresh life into Hellenic tradition

Palermo, Palermo review - free to view Pina

The Pina Bausch Foundation releases the first in a projected series of digital recordings


Desiree Burch, Soho Theatre On Demand review - fantastical storytelling

California comic on Burning Man, sex, race – and LSD

Lockdown Comedy 2: where to get your laughs this week

Live stand-up recordings and podcasts

Jerry Seinfeld, Netflix review - not bad for a swansong

US comic says this may be his last stand-up show


Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

Challenge The Authority in this 'Mad Max on mushrooms' renegade romp

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

Chainsawing the brain-eaters as you battle against the tide of the undead

The Lego Movie 2 Videogame review - everything is not awesome

Few fresh ideas means this movie adaptation treads the same old ground

visual arts

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 4: half-way houses

Some galleries prepare to reopen, others remain closed; online still offers riches

Celia Paul: My Studio, Victoria Miro review - sublime isolation

One of the great painters of our time responds to life in lockdown

Shirley Baker: A Different Age, James Hyman Gallery review - the old at leisure

A little-known photographer and an overlooked subject take the spotlight

latest comments

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