sat 31/10/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Liz Thomson
Saturday, 31 October 2020
It’s 45 years since the West End success of John, Paul, George Ringo… and Bert put a young Scottish folkie named Barbara Dickson on the map, launching a career that brought richly...
Graham Fuller
Saturday, 31 October 2020
The bleak power of the Australian horror movie Relic, Natalie Erika James’s feature debut, derives from its masterful use of a simple metaphor. The creepy house wherein Kay (Emily...
Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 30 October 2020
“Make contact with the left eye - it is a direct pathway to the emotions. Then make yourself scarce so that the desire in her can grow.” This fine flirting advice comes from a...
David Nice
Friday, 30 October 2020
Nobody would wish it this way, but orchestras playing on a stage specially built-up for distancing to a handful of invitees have never sounded better in the Royal Festival Hall....
Joseph Walsh
Friday, 30 October 2020
 A long shadow looms over Robert Zemeckis’ new take on Roald Dahl’s classic 1980s book The Witches, starring Octavia Spencer, Anne Hathaway and newcomer Jahzir Bruno. That...
Isabella Gallagher
Friday, 30 October 2020
Sam Smith’s third album is kind of perfect for a miserable autumn amidst a global pandemic. It’s reflective, it’s morose and it attempts disco-fun but can’t quite muster the...
Owen Richards
Thursday, 29 October 2020
When Mogul Mowgli was first announced, it was fair to expect something of a realist biopic. After all, you had documentary...
David Nice
Thursday, 29 October 2020
Throughout this most difficult of years, the Royal Opera has done the right thing for the singers on its Jette Parker Young...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 29 October 2020
Neil Cross’s novel Burial was hailed for its skilful plotting and insightful characterisations, as well as its macabre...
Saskia Baron
Thursday, 29 October 2020
Shirley is one of those films that the mood you’re in when you watch it will dictate whether you think it’s a great...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 29 October 2020
Due to COVID-related nonsense too tedious to relate, this month’s theartsdesk on Vinyl was delayed. But here it is, over...
Nick Hasted
Thursday, 29 October 2020
You can’t ever go all the way home again, and for years Dizzee Rascal didn’t want to. His Mercury-winning debut Boy In Da...
Jessica Duchen
Wednesday, 28 October 2020
To plan a programme around The Tempest, its symbolism and the idea of evanescence, the fragility of the human condition...
Daniel Lewis
Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Among the French composer Claude Debussy’s greatest and characteristically subtle innovations was to put the titles at the...
Guy Oddy
Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Post-rock singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle and high-volume, sludge metal-heads Thou are not obvious musical collaborators...
Bernard Hughes
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
There’s an old rule in the theatre that you don’t have to go on if there are more people on stage than in the audience. Last...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
Plenty of pedigree wattage has been packed into this slickly addictive new HBO drama (showing on Sky Atlantic). The twin...
David Nice
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
Whatever happens next – and even in Tier 3 the Royal Liverpool Phlharmonic goes on playing to carefully distanced audiences...
Owen Richards
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
After Bassam Tariq's feature debut These Birds Walk was released at SXSW 2013, things seemed to slow down. The documentary...

★★★ SHIRLEY Hothouse art film about American horror writer

★★★★ MEET THE YOUNG ARTISTS WEEK RECITAL, LINBURY THEATRE Frissons and high drama from Royal Opera acolytes in song

★★ THE SISTER, ITV Half-baked dramatisation of esteemed novel

THEARTSDESK ON VINYL 60 Bumper crop in the biggest vinyl reviews selection of all

★★★ DIZZEE RASCAL - E3 AF Man back in the corner

★★★★ MOGUL MOWGLI Riz Ahmed delivers a tour-de-force


The Same Sky, More4 review - Cold War thriller from both sides of the Berlin wall

Deutschland 74: German-British co-production explores the surreality of spying

The Sister, ITV review - half-baked dramatisation of esteemed novel

Neil Cross's 'Burial' falls on its face on telly


Relic review – a deadly disappearing act

A family of women reaps the wrath of dementia

The Witches review – new take lacks magic

Roald Dahl's tale is transported to 1960s Alabama

Mogul Mowgli review - displacement and generational trauma

Riz Ahmed delivers a tour-de-force performance as a rapper struck down by illness

new music

Album: Barbara Dickson - Time is Going Faster

Bringing it all back home again

Album: Sam Smith - Love Goes

A self-reflective break-up album that's the perfect sound for lockdown

Album: Dizzee Rascal - E3 AF

Man back in the corner


Julia Bullock, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – bewitching dreamscapes

Rarefied magic from Ravel and Britten, culminating in a fairy-tale ballet masterpiece

Pavel Kolesnikov, Wigmore Hall review - the stuff of dreams

A breathtaking recital from the Russian pianist, plus a special prize

Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review – wide range of American voices

Music from the mid-20th century has colour but lacks a bit of snap


Meet the Young Artists Week recital, Linbury Theatre – four big personalities

Frissons and high drama from Royal Opera acolytes in song

4/4, Royal Opera review – desire, loss and lunacy in four surprising acts

Allan Clayton and Richard Jones are kings of bedlam, but the rest has high style too

First Person: tenor Nicky Spence on working with Blackheath locals on screen Stravinsky

'The Rake's Progress' distilled and introduced by its star and community opera patron


The Great Gatsby, Immersive London review – a warm and electric tribute to the book
It's a true achievement to feel the chemistry of a cast whirring into action again
Quarter Life Crisis, Bridge Theatre review – slender and superficial
Return of one-woman show about growing up is disappointingly thin


The Royal Ballet: Back on Stage review - fireworks in the Garden

At long last, our premier ballet company is back in action. And it's dynamite

theartsdesk in Hamburg: Ghost Light - a ballet in the time of corona

How the city is showing the world a way through the live-performance impasse

'She was Paris': RIP Zizi Jeanmaire (1924-2020)

Ballet or cabaret, Zizi's passion was for performance - preferably with her husband


Gigantic Cinema: A Weather Anthology review - wild writing to stimulate the senses

An ambitious collection inspired by life's eternal backdrop

Judith Herrin: Ravenna review - flashes of order and beauty in a chaotic world

The once-great imperial city's mosaics and buildings have survived a turbulent time

Jenny Hval: Girls Against God review - a sticky dance through space and time

A surreal witches' flight through southern Norway

visual arts

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

Thank you for this wonderful review. One thing,...

After hearing the first six tracks, I thought...

Who was the photographer for this image? I love...

But let’s face it, “Ghosts” is a TOTAL rip off of...

Hendrix was more than a gifted guitar player....

He was a gifted guitar player,that's all.Guitar...


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