sat 22/01/2022

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 22 January 2022
There has been no shortage of documentaries about king Beach Boy Brian Wilson, not to mention the 2014 bio-drama Love & Mercy, so the purpose of this new effort by director...
Nick Hasted
Friday, 21 January 2022
Mr. E’s music examines hellish depths, but always climbs back towards the light. Electro-Shock Blues (1998) was soon redeemed by “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues”, and a trilogy of...
Jenny Gilbert
Friday, 21 January 2022
Neglected classics, whether books, plays or ballets, are usually neglected for a reason, and so it is with the three-act ballet Raymonda. A hit in 1898 for the Imperial ballet in...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 21 January 2022
Director Guillermo del Toro has described Nightmare Alley as “a straight, really dark story”, lacking the supernatural elements in his previous films such as Crimson Peak and The...
Marianka Swain
Friday, 21 January 2022
One of the many theatrical casualties of Omicron in December was the official UK opening of Moulin Rouge!, the stage version of Baz Luhrmann’s indelible 2001 film that has already...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 21 January 2022
Memory Box is that rare thing, a glimpse into a lost world from its traumatised inhabitants. Made by the Lebanese artist-filmmakers, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (a...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Friday, 21 January 2022
Around 2017, Thebe Neruda Kgositsile, known professionally as Earl Sweatshirt, said he wanted to push his music in a more...
Femi Elufowoju Jr
Thursday, 20 January 2022
I find that my experience of living as a Black man in the UK cannot help but inform the way I approach my work and never...
Veronica Lee
Thursday, 20 January 2022
In 2019, Russell Howard was all set to celebrate his 20th year in comedy by going on a world tour. Covid put paid to that,...
Liz Thomson
Thursday, 20 January 2022
“I didn’t even know what I was writing about. It was just sent to me”, John Mellencamp has said of Strictly A One-Eyed Jack...
Gary Naylor
Wednesday, 19 January 2022
There's a lot of True Crime stuff about, so it's hardly a surprise to see Stephen Dolginoff's 2003 off-Broadway musical back...
Thomas H Green
Wednesday, 19 January 2022
Virtual “mixtapes” are not proper albums. Their purpose is often to whet the appetite. Nowhere is this more so than in US...
Sebastian Scotney
Tuesday, 18 January 2022
“It mustn’t be a surface thing. You have to put in the work,” Janet Baker once said. Sandrine Piau’s Wigmore recital of...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 18 January 2022
The name of Neville Chamberlain and the term “appeasement” have become indelibly linked, thanks to his efforts to...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 18 January 2022
In my teens, I was one of the budding cinephiles who ran the Film Club at my boarding school. Once a month, we’d rent an...
Ian Julier
Monday, 17 January 2022
Having conducted two Discovery programmes with the LSO after being a finalist in the 2016 Donatella Flick competition,...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 17 January 2022
There was a time when UK pantomime was heavily populated by Australian soap stars; rather late in the day Jason Donovan –...
Aleks Sierz
Monday, 17 January 2022
History is a prison. Often, you can’t escape. It imprints its mark on people, environments and language. And nowhere is this...
Joe Muggs
Monday, 17 January 2022
This is just boggling. The Japanese rock trio Boris have been together in the same lineup for over a quarter of a century –...

disc of the day

Album: Eels - Extreme Witchcraft

Domesticity is bittersweet for cursed optimist E


Rules of the Game, BBC One review - feminist workplace drama topples into farce

Screenwriter Ruth Fowler's characters turn into caricatures

Witch Hunt, All 4 review - dark deeds and dirty money

A tangled web of power, skulduggery and lies

The Apprentice, Series 16, BBC One review - will they never learn?

Welcome return of Lord Sugar and his gang of hopefuls


Nightmare Alley review - a dazzling trip through a heart of darkness

Bradley Cooper shines in Guillermo del Toro's lurid pulp fiction

Memory Box review - exquisitely made drama set in Lebanon

Ingenious fusion of archival material and constructed narrative brings the civil war to life

new music

Album: Eels - Extreme Witchcraft

Domesticity is bittersweet for cursed optimist E

Album: Earl Sweatshirt - Sick!

Earl Sweatshirt's distinctive style is in full bloom on new album


Sandrine Piau, David Kadouch, Wigmore Hall review - the joy is in the detail

Superb pianist and programme-builder in perfect partnership with the great soprano

Liebeck, Bournemouth SO, Hasan, Lighthouse, Poole review - evergreen gifts of melody

Popular classics freshly minted in the hands of young talent

Classical CDs: Violins, timpani thwacks and a symphony of iron and steel

A birthday tribute for celebrated violinist Gidon Kremer, plus symphonies, operetta and a great 20th century piano concerto


First Person: Femi Elufowoju Jr. on directing Verdi's 'Rigoletto'

A theatre director's take on his first opera as he rehearses in Leeds

Nabucco, Royal Opera review - high passion but low drama

Atmospheric but ambiguous production, given extra weight by cast of rich voices

Le nozze di Figaro, Royal Opera review - New Year champagne

Perfect ensembles and recits with Antonio Pappano's return as conductor and fortepianist


Best of 2021: Dance

There was gold among the rubble in this wreck of a year for dance

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!, Sadler's Wells Theatre review - new candy, but the nuts are off

This is designer Anthony Ward’s Nutcracker! with multiple exclamation marks


One-Woman Show review - Liz Kingsman's spot-on spoof

Comic does a deep dive into Fleabag territory

Best of 2021: Comedy

One masterpiece, and a celebration of the great outdoors


Best of 2021: Books

Our top fiction titles from this year

The Holiness of Sex: Leonard Cohen's Biblical Theology

Harry Freedman, author of a new book about Leonard Cohen's spirituality, considers the singer's attitude to gettin' it on

Peter Robison: Flying Blind review – a story of decline and crawl

The galling account of the 737 MAX Boeing tragedies

visual arts

Paula Rego: The Forgotten, Victoria Miro review - relentless focus

A selection of later work is more than a coda to Tate's recent retrospective

Best of 2021: Visual Arts

Our highlights of the year just gone

latest comments

Stopped watching this sort of ideological twaddle...

The Dutch press is reporting that there is a Klem...

we went to the performance on 17th and confirm...

Ha ha - I fail to see how people can't understand...

As background for this excellent review I suggest...

The film was completely biased against Kaiser...


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