mon 10/12/2018

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Monday, 10 December 2018
You wouldn’t turn to Jimmy McGovern for a drawing-room comedy, but there’s no doubting his gift for seizing big issues and turning into them raw, bleeding chunks of drama. You’re...
Liz Thomson
Sunday, 09 December 2018
Amid the cacophony and incivility that characterises so much of our lives today, an evening of calm and beauty with Katie Melua and the Gori Women’s Choir was just the ticket. The...
Boyd Tonkin
Sunday, 09 December 2018
If you believe the bulk of the “books of the year” features that drift like stray tinsel across the media at this time of year, Britain’s literary taste-makers only enjoy the...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 09 December 2018
The double album The Sound Gallery was issued in 1995. It collected British easy listening and library music tracks which had been mostly overlooked by reissue compilers as they...
David Nice
Saturday, 08 December 2018
Five of Leoš Janáček's 10 operas are staples of the worldwide repertoire. Two I'd never seen on stage, so the slice I chose of the19-day festival devoted to all of them for...
Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 08 December 2018
Perhaps belatedly prompted by the release of Barbra Streisand’s new album Walls, the worst-selling disc in her 55 years with Columbia Records, this film was an uncritical...
Gavin Dixon
Saturday, 08 December 2018
Mitsuko Uchida continues her world tour of Schubert sonatas with two concerts for the home crowd, this the second of her...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 08 December 2018
 Bach: Christmas Oratorio Bachchor Mainz, Bachorchester Mainz/Ralf Otto (Naxos)As recordings of Bach's Christmas...
Russ Coffey
Saturday, 08 December 2018
Christmas is traditionally that time of the year when cool rock-dudes like to come over all silly and tinselly. Not Eric...
Tom Birchenough
Friday, 07 December 2018
This is Natasha Gordon’s first play, and in it she has created an entire world. A world of grief and laughter, conflict and...
David Nice
Friday, 07 December 2018
With eyes swivelled towards who'll take over from Esa-Pekka Salonen as the Philharmonia's Principal Conductor in 2021, two...
Tim Cornwell
Friday, 07 December 2018
The Old Vic's revival of its successful Christmas Carol first seen this time last year had me at the mince pies: they were...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 07 December 2018
Despite having enjoyed a prolific few years in which he has appeared in (among others) All Is Lost, Captain America: The...
Rachel Halliburton
Friday, 07 December 2018
What do you gain by casting Dr Faustus and Mephistopheles as women? In the programme for this often illuminating production...
Tom Birchenough
Friday, 07 December 2018
Laurent Cantet’s The Workshop (L’Atelier) is something of a puzzle. There’s a fair deal that recalls his marvellous 2009...
Matt Wolf
Thursday, 06 December 2018
Don't be deceived by Kit Harington's matted, slicked-back hair that is immediately visible the minute the audience enters...
Boyd Tonkin
Thursday, 06 December 2018
Seldom has an encore felt so welcome. With Sir Antonio Pappano as his accompanist at the Barbican, Ian Bostridge tugged us...
Marianka Swain
Thursday, 06 December 2018
There’s a welcome alternative to panto hijinks in this gem of a Trevor Nunn musical revival – more attuned to the biting...
Guy Oddy
Thursday, 06 December 2018
There’ve been more than a few cold and wet days in Birmingham just recently, as winter has been making its presence properly...

★★★ DOCTOR FAUSTUS, SAM WANAMAKER THEATRE Female Faustus reaps rich rewards


★★★★ TRUE WEST, VAUDEVILLE THEATRE Sizzling take on seminal Sam Shepard

★★★★ DVD: THE HEIRESSES Disruptions of a defined world beautifully observed

★★★★ THE NUTCRACKER, ROYAL BALLET A still-magical tale of two couples


★★★★ HARI KONDABOLU, SOHO THEATRE From politics to papayas

disc of the day

CD: Eric Clapton - Happy Xmas

How festive does Slowhand get?

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Care, BBC One review - a blunt but powerful polemic

Jimmy McGovern asks what we're doing about caring for the elderly

Barbra Streisand: Becoming an Icon 1942-1984, BBC Four review - the way she was

The diva's journey from Brooklyn to Broadway and beyond


The Old Man & the Gun review - sundown on Sundance

Robert Redford's swansong is a fitting tribute to a movie legend

DVD: The Workshop

Teenage narrative kicks do not last in Laurent Cantet's latest

DVD: The Heiresses

Disruptions of a defined world beautifully observed in an accomplished Paraguayan debut

new music

Reissue CDs Weekly: Unusual Sounds

Library music compilation lacks the impact of the companion book of the same name

CD: Eric Clapton - Happy Xmas

How festive does Slowhand get?


theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

Rarities in a festival featuring an entire operatic canon, plus heartfelt celebrations

Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall review - conviction and grace

Sophisticated and fragile Schubert, delivered with exquisite beauty

Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas CDs, Week 1

Week one of our bumper seasonal round-up edition


theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

Rarities in a festival featuring an entire operatic canon, plus heartfelt celebrations

'I’ve told everyone that it’s a comedy – but will anyone laugh?' Jonathan Dove on his new Marx opera

Top British composer awaits Bonn premiere of his new work about a German in London

L'heure espagnole, Mid Wales Opera review - Ravel goes like clockwork

Ravel's clock shop farce ticks along delightfullyr in a small production big on character


Nine Night, Trafalgar Studios review - hilarity and heartbreak
Natasha Gordon joins the company as her debut drama transfers from the National
A Christmas Carol, Old Vic review - Dickens adaptation returns, depth and mince pies intact
Last year's festive-season hit, re-cast, continues to enchant
Doctor Faustus, Sam Wanamaker Theatre review - female Faustus reaps rich rewards
A deceptive lightness of tone brings new resonance to the text


The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet review - a still-magical tale of two couples

Peter Wright's balance of story-telling and classical dance lacks only elan from the pit

The Unknown Soldier, Infra, Symphony in C, Royal Ballet, review - WWI ballet honours obscure tragedy

The storyline goes missing, presumed dead, in this Armistice commission

Carlos Acosta: A Celebration, Royal Albert Hall

Candid images of retired ballet legend on stage


Hari Kondabolu, Soho Theatre review - from politics to papayas

US comic with an original take on all manner of things

Matt Forde, Purcell Room review - politics plus deft impressions

Astute state of the nation material from former Labour man


Battlefield V review - WWII on an epic scale

The veteran series returns for another ambitious tour of duty

Red Dead Redemption 2 review - the cowboy drama makes a triumphant return

An ambitious Wild West odyssey that matches epic scale with benchmark skill

visual arts

Edwin Landseer / Rachel Maclean, National Gallery review - a juxtaposition of opposites

The Monarch of the Glen refreshed by a Scottish political satirist

Māris Briežkalns Quintet, EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 review - a Rothko symphony

Latvian players and composers homage a great artist they can call their own

The Best Exhibitions in London

From the Turner Prize shortlist to the future of gaming: our guide to what to see in the city

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