sun 27/11/2022

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Matt Wolf
Sunday, 27 November 2022
I bow to no one in my affection for Matilda the Musical onstage, which I've loved across multiple iterations, from Stratford-upon-Avon to the West End and Broadway, and numerous...
Liz Thomson
Sunday, 27 November 2022
Mary Gauthier’s first tour in more than three years landed at London’s Union Chapel on Saturday, concluding with another sold-out gig. The venue is perfect for unplugged acts –...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 27 November 2022
Any reminder of the greatness of Love is welcome, and Expressions Tell Everything does this in fine style. A box set, it contains eight picture-sleeve seven-inch singles, a book...
David Nice
Saturday, 26 November 2022
Looking for a sparkly operatic musical, well sung and played, slick and saturated in a range of mainstream styles that stop short in the year the movie masterpiece It’s a...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 26 November 2022
You expect gross-out movies to send your hands flying in front of your eyes. But Luca Guadagnino's ludicrous Bones and All is not just gory but grossly sentimental, too. Reuniting...
Bernard Hughes
Saturday, 26 November 2022
This collaboration between two young and exciting ensembles, the choir Sansara and the United Strings of Europe, had its heart in a good place: it explored notions of sanctuary...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 26 November 2022
Nanny is being marketed as a horror movie, and arachnophobes should certainly beware, but it’s also a stylish...
India Lewis
Saturday, 26 November 2022
Arriving to the second night of two shows in the same venue, you would expect it to be a little quieter. But Wet Leg’s...
Gary Naylor
Saturday, 26 November 2022
Just about the three toughest tricks to pull off in the theatre are making a musical, making a family show and making...
Rachel Halliburton
Saturday, 26 November 2022
It begins in darkness. All that can be heard is the sound of a human struggling painfully for breath so that even before the...
Liz Thomson
Saturday, 26 November 2022
On a dreary evening in our dark winter of discontent, a couple of hours spent in the company of The Manhattan Transfer was a...
Kieron Tyler
Saturday, 26 November 2022
Choosing packs a punch – the effect of which lingers. What’s captured by these 11 songs comes across as unfiltered,...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 25 November 2022
The set at the Arcola for Frank McGuinness’s Dinner with Groucho naturally features a table with two place settings and a...
Robert Beale
Friday, 25 November 2022
If there was a certain doom-laden dimension to Clemens Schuldt’s Bridgewater Hall programme with the Hallé ( … Requiem …...
Nick Hasted
Friday, 25 November 2022
Wilko Johnson, who has died aged 75, enjoyed an astonishing afterlife while he was still alive. After Julien Temple’s Dr....
Veronica Lee
Friday, 25 November 2022
Sara Pascoe comes on stage to tell us there has been a small wardrobe malfunction. She's made an effort and is wearing...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 25 November 2022
There’s been a quiet storm of critical approval building around Weyes Blood. American singer Natalie Mering has been...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 24 November 2022
The chorus to Working Men’s Club’s song “Money is Mine” usually runs, “Endless depression, it’s time/Suicide is yours when...
Graham Fuller
Thursday, 24 November 2022
Five years have elapsed since New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey revealed that dozens of women had...
 

★★★ SARA PASCOE, ASSEMBLY HALL, TUNBRIDGE WELLS Her most personal show to date

RIP WILKO JOHNSON (1947-2022) Snug-bar confessions in an epic encounter with the Bard of Canvey Island

★★★ WEYES BLOOD - AND IN THE DARKNESS, HEARTS AGLOW Part Two of US musician's album trilogy gently holds its own

★★★ WORKING MEN'S CLUB, CHALK, BRIGHTON Untrammelled, noisy and grim-faced

 A CHRISTMAS CAROL, RSC Old favourite finds contemporary relevance in sanitised staging

★★★ THE RAKE'S PROGRESS, ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC Hogarth's Rake enters the digital age

★★ BLOOD, SEX & ROYALTY, NETFLIX Anne Boleyn for the Young Adult audience

★★★★ SHE SAID A necessary newsroom thriller

★★★★ MAGDALENA ABAKANOWICZ, TATE MODERN A forest of huge, imposing presences

disc of the day

Album: Sophie Jamieson - Choosing

Disconcerting debut album from London-based singer-songwriter

tv

1899, Netflix review - Atlantic voyage turns into cosmic nightmare

Another mind-bending trip from the creators of 'Dark'

Blood, Sex & Royalty, Netflix review - yo, bros, get down with the GOAT, Henry VIII

Netflix aims a hip hop historical drama about Anne Boleyn at the Young Adult audience

The White Lotus, Season 2, Sky Atlantic review - the sizzling hit drama moves to Italy, but with less fizz

Sex has replaced cultural cringe as the show's new focus, though it's mostly offstage

film

Matilda the Musical review - a dizzying, smartly subversive delight

Matthew Warchus's glorious stage show sparkles anew onscreen

Bones and All review - eat, don't heat

'Call Me By Your Name' star and director reunite to unsavoury effect

Nanny review - no spoonfuls of sugar in this spooky tale

Intriguing and ambitious psychological drama addresses race and class

classical

Hewitt, Hallé, Schuldt, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - lightening the gloom

Precise and telling results in Britten, Mozart, Strauss and Thorvaldsdottir

Kristian Bezuidenhout, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Wigmore Hall review - fires of London

Uplifting Purcell and Handel in expert German (and Australian) hands

opera

It’s a Wonderful Life, English National Opera review - Capra’s sharp-edged sentiment smothered in endless schmaltz

A committed company show, but Jake Heggie’s operatic musical is irredeemably shallow

The Rake's Progress, Royal Academy of Music review - Hogarth's Rake enters the digital age

Energy and ideas (so many ideas) from this playful production, but where's the emotion?

First Person: conductor Leo Hussain on why we still need English National Opera in London

Arts Council England's evisceration of ENO has provoked outrage. A regular explains why

theatre

Elf, Dominion Theatre review - hit musical revival slays it again
Buddy the Elf charms everyone on either side of the fourth wall
Henry V, Shakespeare's Globe review - anatomy of a violent, murky world of leadership
The play is stripped down to expose sinister undercurrents of nationalism and honour-culture
Dinner with Groucho, Arcola Theatre review - often opaque
Frank McGuinness's new play about T S Eliot and Groucho Marx is a poetic puzzle

dance

English National Ballet: Ek, Forsythe, Quagebeur review - two masters, two marvels

ENB shows its range in a devastating new Rite of Spring from Mats Ek, and pop heaven from William Forsythe

Birmingham Royal Ballet: Into the Music, Sadler's Wells review - a visual and aural feast

Beethoven rules the day in a fine mixed bill, and an overlooked choreographic master belatedly takes a bow

Light of Passage, Royal Ballet review - a new full-evening work by Crystal Pite is eloquent and moving

Proof, once again, that ballet has the muscle to tackle big topics

comedy

Helen Bauer, Soho Theatre review - rollicking show about how to be a modern woman

Feminism from a different angle, as 'Madam Good Tit' flies in from the Fringe

Books

Patti Smith: A Book of Days review - adding to Insta's debris

The punk legend's archive of selfies, birthday greetings, and apothegms

Derek Owusu: Losing the Plot review - the finest perfume

Smells and scent bind this poetic study of identity and diaspora

Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of the Imagination, Science Museum review - travel to a galaxy not so far away

The glitzy Science Museum show fails to impress, but its accompanying book inspires

visual arts

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tate Modern review - a forest of huge and imposing presences

Smell the sisal and feel small in the company of giant hangings

Things, Musée du Louvre, Paris review - the still life brought alive

Monumental Paris art show asks questions about the nature of things

Donna Fleming: Apocalypse, The Pie Factory, Margate review - personal passions and intense feelings

Six years of work expressed through mercurial changes of medium

latest comments

I was also there, aged 16. Yes Wilko was amazing...

Beautifully directed , superb performances and a...

This is one of the most boring films I have seen...

Cracking and extremely perceptive review – biased...

Goodness me, make-up have done a remarkable job...

I know. But their reference point is the Beach...

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters