wed 23/01/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Rachel Halliburton
Tuesday, 22 January 2019
How does an unassuming 36-year-old with a terrifyingly sensible haircut and a mildly flamboyant taste in jumpers become the political playwright par excellence of his generation?...
Marianka Swain
Tuesday, 22 January 2019
Following Caroline, or Change and Fun Home, the UK is blessed with another work from American composer Jeanine Tesori; this is the British premiere of her 1997 musical Violet,...
Boyd Tonkin
Tuesday, 22 January 2019
The Endellion Quartet first rehearsed on 20 January 1979, deep in the throes of Britain’s so-called “Winter of Discontent”. That longevity – with three of the original players...
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 22 January 2019
Keda’s already in trouble for not living up to his father’s expectations. And then there’s an unfortunate clash with an angry bison which sends him careering down a vertiginous...
Marina Vaizey
Monday, 21 January 2019
Reckless, unstoppable, one step ahead of everyone else, a hell of a lot of fun, utterly charming, street smart – descriptions of the artist Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) poured out...
Robert Beale
Monday, 21 January 2019
In contrast to a classic film soundtrack played live with the film, the idea in "symphonic cinema" is that the music, and its interpretation, come first. So the conductor is...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 21 January 2019
Daniel Sloss's latest show is called X, to denote his 10th show. The Scottish comic started in comedy as a teenager in 2009...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 21 January 2019
Russian trio Gnoomes have created small waves over the last couple of years with their woozy psychedelia. One of its...
Adam Sweeting
Sunday, 20 January 2019
A bunch of young-ish people stuck in a rambling house in the middle of nowhere, a hatchet-faced senior citizen guarding a...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 20 January 2019
Releases dedicated to previously unisssued live recordings can be tricky. The variables at play don’t necessarily ensure...
Lisa-Marie Ferla
Sunday, 20 January 2019
The disappearance of a band for a while calls for a re-set. A reminder, perhaps, of why you fell for them in the first place...
Graham Fuller
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Very much a woman of today, the Catholic Stuart heroine (Saoirse Ronan) of Mary Queen of Scots frequently hacks her way out...
David Nice
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Julia Wolfe, Caroline Shaw, Anna Þorvaldsdóttir: three names on quite a list I reeled off earlier this week when someone...
Kieron Tyler
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Norway’s Hedvig Mollestad Trio reset the dial to what jazz fusion sought to do when it emerged, and do so in such a way that...
Nick Hasted
Saturday, 19 January 2019
M Night Shyamalan is the Orson Welles of twist-ending fantasy, forever condemned to reach back to his first two successes....
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 19 January 2019
 Mia Brentano’s Hidden Sea – 20 Songs for 2 Pianos Benyamin Nuss & Max Nyberg (pianos) (Mons Records)Hiddensee is a...
Gavin Dixon
Saturday, 19 January 2019
The big news on this programme was Schoenberg’s Pelleas and Melisande. This early score, completed in 1903, is a sprawling...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 19 January 2019
This well-crafted addition to the films inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is subtler and less commercial than last...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Why You So Crazy is a woozy, disorientating and spaced-out affair with a similar understated production to the Dandy Warhols...

★★ GLASS Shattered Shyamalan sequel is a muted meta-superhero mess whose ambition intrigues

★★★★ MONSTERS AND MEN Dynamic drama on the impact of police brutality on black Americans


★★★★ NOLAN: AUSTRALIA'S MAVERICK ARTIST, BBC FOUR A lust for life in all its aspects

★★★ EHNES, BBCSO, RYAN WIGGLESWORTH, BARBICAN Rarely heard Schoenberg compels

★★★ MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS Worthy historical drama sinks under its own weight

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Alpha

Thrills, spills and sentiment in prehistoric boy-meets-wolf epic

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Imagine... James Graham, BBC One review - deft analysis of a working life

The playwright of UK politics on catching the cliff-edge moments of history

Nolan: Australia's Maverick Artist, BBC Four review – a lust for life in all its aspects

The gifted painter from Down Under who rocked the art world

Black Lake, Series 2 Finale, BBC Four review - Swedish chiller fails to thrill

After an intriguing start, spooky sequel goes nowhere fast


DVD/Blu-ray: Alpha

Thrills, spills and sentiment in prehistoric boy-meets-wolf epic

Van Woerkum, BBCPO, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a symphony of cinema

How an ‘image soloist’ makes film dance to music’s beat

Mary Queen of Scots review - Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie excel

A worthy historical drama that sinks under its own weight

new music

CD: Kikok - Sauna

Ear-pleasing retro synth sounds from an obscure corner of Russia

Reissue CDs Weekly: Charles Mingus

‘Jazz in Detroit’ captures the legendary bass-man with a hitherto unheard band at a 1973 show

CD: The Twilight Sad - It Won/t Be Like This All the Time

Scottish miserabilists remind you why you fell for them in the first place


Endellion Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - four decades of excellence

Britain's premier string quartet celebrate in - serious - style

Van Woerkum, BBCPO, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a symphony of cinema

How an ‘image soloist’ makes film dance to music’s beat

Bang on a Can All-Stars, Kings Place review - a kaleidoscope of vibrant sound and vision

The six New York-based players showcase a range of eclectic commissions


'Bringing things to life is what opera is all about': Robert Howarth on a 'Magic Flute' with a difference

Opera North's Mozart conductor on taking a careful look at a masterpiece

The Queen of Spades, Royal Opera review - uneven cast prey to overthought concept

Two stories painstakingly interwoven, but the dark heart of Tchaikovsky/Pushkin falters

Best of 2018: Opera

A year more remarkable for high musical values than any wealth of great UK productions


The Unreturning, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - hymn to home
Frantic Assembly's latest is a moving meditation on war and masculinity
The Daughter-in-Law, Arcola Theatre review - searing simplicity
DH Lawrence's tragically inflected 1913 tale of family relationships powerfully told


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

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Sadler's Wells - vivid, enchanting

Refreshed classic production delights with energy, storytelling and live Tchaikovsky

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


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

Best of 2018: Art

Reputations restored and revised: a look back at some of this year's best art shows

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

latest comments

Huge thanks to Boyd Tonkin for this lovely review...

The acting, production values and (in particular...

They can't do Brexit. They'd all fall out, go...

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