fri 22/02/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Alexandra Coghlan
Friday, 22 February 2019
Hel, heroine of Gavin Higgins and Francesca Simon’s new opera, is the illegitimate daughter of the Norse god Loki. In many ways The Monstrous Child itself feels like a bastard...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 22 February 2019
There is no doubt that Peter Shaffer's Equus is a modern classic. But does that justify reviving this 1973 hit play in our current social circumstances? And what can it say to us...
Owen Richards
Friday, 22 February 2019
It’s always interesting to see how presenters make their presence known in documentaries. Louis Theroux hovers on the sidelines like an ethereal presence, Stacey Dooley connects...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 22 February 2019
An entirely electric leading performance from the fast-rising Ukweli Roach is the reason for being for revisiting Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, back in London for the first major...
Heather Neill
Friday, 22 February 2019
Here's a recipe for a successful National Theatre production: take a well-loved classical comedy, employ an outstanding young director and a talented writer (so much the better if...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 22 February 2019
It’s another night in an emergency services dispatch room in Copenhagen. Policeman Asger Holm has been taken off active patrol pending a conduct investigation and is stuck on the...
Markie Robson-Scott
Thursday, 21 February 2019
An angry little boy, in jail after stabbing someone, stands in a Beirut courtroom and tells the judge that he wants to sue...
David Nice
Thursday, 21 February 2019
Give me some air! Stop screaming at me! Those are not exclamations I'd have anticipated from the prospect of a Vienna...
Matt Wolf
Thursday, 21 February 2019
Just when you think you may have heard (and seen) enough of Donald J Trump to last a lifetime, along comes Anne Washburn's...
Tim Cornwell
Thursday, 21 February 2019
Breathe in the love and breathe out the bullshit. After the Arcola Theatre's founder and artistic director Mehmet Ergen read...
Steve O'Rourke
Thursday, 21 February 2019
Did you play videogames back in 2010? If you did, there’s a reasonable chance you played Crackdown 2. Only a reasonable...
Laura De Lisle
Thursday, 21 February 2019
Bodies is the latest in Two's Company's series of what they deem "forgotten masterworks", this one making a less-than-...
Tom Birchenough
Thursday, 21 February 2019
Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time is an intoxicating cinematic collage-compilation that embraces social history – in...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
It was TV gold-dust. The original seven series of Only Fools and Horses were broadcast on BBC One from 1981-1991, and a...
Miranda Heggie
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
For its first ever performance in this country, the Symphony Orchestra of India - formed in only 2006 - kicked off its UK...
Saskia Baron
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Time once again to roll out that line about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. The creators of All in a Row...
Owen Richards
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
A British boys boarding school in the 1980s. Not the most obvious setting for a romantic comedy, especially one based on the...
Demetrios Matheou
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
When the world is as crazy as it is right now, its political life dominated by dolts and villains, it needs a new kind of...
Veronica Lee
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
David Ireland is a playwright who likes to jolt his audience and Cyprus Avenue, a dark absurdist comedy about an Ulster...

★ ALL IN A ROW, SOUTHWARK PLAYHOUSE Soapy and shrill pity party

★★★★★ CYPRUS AVENUE, ROYAL COURT THEATRE Stephen Rea is utterly compelling


DIRECTOR TOBY MACDONALD: 'Comedy is something people need at the moment'

★★★★ ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES, THEATRE ROYAL HAYMARKET Rollicking remake of much-loved TV sitcom

★★★★ TYNAN, APPL, BURNSIDE, WIGMORE HALL The music of domesticity explored in song

★★★ ON THE BASIS OF SEX Felicity Jones is Ruth Bader Ginsberg in a feelgood drama with smarts

disc of the day

DVD: The Guilty

Thrillingly tense police procedural that never leaves its one location

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Sleeping with Extremists: The Far Right, Channel 4 review - insightful but flawed documentary

Alice Levine follows far right activist Jack Sen with mixed results

Traitors, Channel 4 review - Cold War thriller fails to reach room temperature

Battling Stalin's secret infiltration of Whitehall


DVD: The Guilty

Thrillingly tense police procedural that never leaves its one location

Capernaum review - sorrow, pity and shame in the Beirut slums

Reality and fiction collide in Nadine Labaki's powerful exposé of Lebanese street children

DVD/Blu-ray: Dawson City - Frozen Time

Gold Rush social history seen through revelatory silent cinema documentary

new music

CD: John Mayall - Nobody Told Me

Them dirty blues should not be too clean

Lau, Cheese & Grain, Frome review - the dangerous charm of electronica

Folk giants brought down by electronic monster


Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Ádám Fischer, Barbican review - ferocious Mahler 9 without inscape

Brutally brilliant playing, but inwardness only came at the end of this performance

Hussain, Symphony Orchestra of India, Dalal, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - new sounds from a new band

Vigorous, fresh playing from India’s only professional symphony orchestra

Tynan, Appl, Burnside, Wigmore Hall review - the music of domesticity explored in song

Wide-ranging duet recital covers the joys and trials of home and family


The Rite of Spring/Gianni Schicchi, Opera North review - unlikely but musically satisfying pairing

Odd-couple double bill of Stravinsky and Puccini with plenty to delight ear and eye

The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera review - charming to hear, charmless to look at

Mozart's pantomime about Nature and Reason stuck in a box


Tartuffe, National Theatre review - morality-heavy version of the comedy classic
Brexit provides an unwelcome motor for John Donnelly's Molière-with-a-twist
Equus, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - thrilling physicality
Brilliant revival of the 1970s classic about pagan worship and repressed sexuality


The Rite of Spring/Gianni Schicchi, Opera North review - unlikely but musically satisfying pairing

Odd-couple double bill of Stravinsky and Puccini with plenty to delight ear and eye

Brighton Festival 2019 launches with Guest Director Rokia Traoré

The south-coast's arts extravaganza reveals its 2019 line-up

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, London Coliseum review - a solid, go-to production

Traditional stagings don't come much more satisfying than Derek Deane's for ENB


Brighton Festival 2019 launches with Guest Director Rokia Traoré

The south-coast's arts extravaganza reveals its 2019 line-up

Adam Riches Is The Guy Who..., Drink, Shop & Do review - super-suave Lothario on the prowl

Immersive show examines male-female engagement in the #MeToo era


Crackdown 3 review - spectacular super-powered action that was great fun many years ago

Nearly a decade has passed since the last incarnation but little has changed in this stagnant shooter

Battlefield V review - WWII on an epic scale

The veteran series returns for another ambitious tour of duty

visual arts

Don McCullin, Tate Britain review - beastliness made beautiful

The darkest, most compelling exhibition you are ever likely to see

Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory review, Tate Modern - plenty but empty

A major retrospective of the French post-impressionist is huge, but unilluminating

latest comments

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