wed 23/10/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Boyd Tonkin
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
The Oslo Philharmonic finished its centenary tour of Europe at the Barbican last night with ample proof that it consistently delivers one of the continent’s most well-rounded, and...
Jenny Gilbert
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
As a mood-lifter, it’s hard to beat the opening of Concerto. Against a primrose sky, figures in daffodil, tangerine and brick form lozenges of fizzing colour, foregrounded by a...
David Nice
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
There are now two septuagenarians playing Schubert at a level no other living pianist can touch. Imogen Cooper celebrated her 70th birthday on 28 August, and marked it at the...
Ellie Porter
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
There’s no getting around it – it’s very surreal indeed to be in the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and see an eye-wateringly famous movie and TV star rocking out on stage. But it’s a...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
This terrifying but gripping BBC Four series about Northern Ireland’s savage sectarian war reached its conclusion with a meticulously detailed account of how hostilities were...
Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Even the mighty Almeida is allowed the occasional dud and it’s sure as hell got one at the moment with Vassa. Maxim Gorky’s 1910 play (rewritten in 1935) about a matriarch in...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
What’s the most ridiculous programme that Channel 4 has ever made? Sex Box? The Execution of Gary Glitter? Extreme Celebrity...
Russ Coffey
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
James Blunt loves to joke about how gloomy his songs are and he says Once Upon a Mind is his most depressing collection yet...
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
London is the theatre capital of the world, with more than 50 playhouses offering theatrical entertainment. From the mighty...
Sam Marlowe
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
Playing our monarch and her husband in The Crown has made actors Claire Foy and Matt Smith into TV drama royalty, so...
Hannah Khalil
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
It all started in 2009 in the National Portrait Gallery. I’d had a meeting nearby so popped in to get a cuppa and stare at...
Rachel Halliburton
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
At a point in history where – yet again – a few misplaced words from English politicians could wreak havoc with Irish lives...
Graham Fuller
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
The British Film Institute’s excellent Flipside strand resurrects neglected or marginalised UK movies, many of them...
David Nice
Monday, 21 October 2019
We have John Eliot Gardiner to thank for an unconventional diptych of Czech masterpieces in the London Symphony Orchestra's...
Sarah Kent
Monday, 21 October 2019
Focusing on twelve women who played a key role in the lives of Pre-Raphaelite painters like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John...
Sebastian Scotney
Monday, 21 October 2019
"Revelatory":  it’s one of those words which is now completely devalued through having been carelessly dropped into a...
Mark Kidel
Monday, 21 October 2019
Tom Morris’s production of Cyrano starts with a procession of nuns, some of them bearded, chanting verses from the medieval...
Gabriela Montero
Monday, 21 October 2019
For as long as I can remember, there has been a continuous loop of original music playing in my mind. My father used to joke...
Nick Hasted
Monday, 21 October 2019
Neil Young’s prolific, patchy output rejects the very notion of major releases, though only a major artist would be given so...

★★★★★ HISHAM MATAR: A MONTH IN SIENA Luminous memoir on reflection & acceptance of loss

★★★★★ LSO AND CHORUS, ONO, BARBICAN Voices and trumpets blaze in Janáček

★★★ LUNGS, OLD VIC Claire Foy and Matt Smith elevate toothless parenting drama

THE BEST PLAYS IN LONDON The Arts Desk's stage tips

★★★★ SPIRAL, SERIES 7, BBC FOUR Crime, slime and real-life issues in a de-glamourised Paris

GABRIELA MONTERO ‘We must not allow boorish, opportunistic autocrats to hijack music’

★★ THE MASK OF ORPHEUS, ENO Camp carnival defuses focus in Birtwistle's bruising score

disc of the day

CD: James Blunt - Once Upon a Mind

The ex-army officer is back with more MOR angst

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The Troubles: A Secret History, BBC Four, finale review - peace at last, but at what price?

Concluding part of shocking and sobering documentary series

The British Tribe Next Door, Channel 4 review - risible culture-clash farrago

What have Namibia's Himba tribe done to deserve the Moffatts from Bishop Auckland?

Spiral, Series 7, BBC Four review - hard-hitting return of our favourite French cop show

Crime, slime and real-life issues in a de-glamourised Paris


DVD/Blu-ray: Legend of the Witches & Secret Rites

Modish early '70s documentaries about Wicca were aimed at the dirty mac brigade

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil review - fantasy follow-up falls flat

Angelina Jolie's charms aren't enough to carry Disney sequel

Non-Fiction - adultery spices up digitisation drama

Sexual fidelity is as believable as the digitally derived "truth" in Olivier Assayas's latest

new music

Kiefer Sutherland, Shepherd's Bush Empire review - actor totally convinces as country rocker

Star of 24, Designated Survivor and The Lost Boys rocks up to serenade London

CD: James Blunt - Once Upon a Mind

The ex-army officer is back with more MOR angst

CD: Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Colorado

Friendships fade and the planet burns, but the Horse plough on


Andsnes, Oslo Philharmonic, Petrenko, Barbican review – polish and passion

A centenary showcase for one of Europe's greatest orchestras

Imogen Cooper 70th Birthday Concert, Wigmore Hall review - outwardly austere, lit from within

Choosing to play Schubert's three last sonatas meant to give and not to receive homage

London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Ono, Barbican review - feet on the ground, eyes to the skies

Solo vocal, choral and orchestral trumpets blaze in Janáček's Glagolitic Mass


The Mask of Orpheus, English National Opera review - amorphous excess

Daniel Kramer's camp carnival defuses any focus in Birtwistle's bruising score

Don Pasquale, Royal Opera review - fun and frolics in stylish new production

Bryn Terfel shines but Olga Peretyatko soars in Donizetti's charming comedy

The Cunning Little Vixen, Welsh National Opera review - family night in the forest

Janáček’s life cycle comes up fresh and inspiring after four decades


Vassa, Almeida Theatre review - delayed opening doesn't land
Gorky play suffers an identity crisis in uneasily-pitched revival
The Best Plays in London
What to see where and until when: theartsdesk's stage tips
Lungs, Old Vic review - deluxe casting and slick delivery
Claire Foy and Matt Smith elevate Duncan Macmillan's rather toothless parenting drama


Concerto/Enigma Variations/Raymonda Act III, Royal Ballet review - time to cheer the corps de ballet

Three revivals from the mid-Sixties allow the rank and file to shine

The deathless Alicia Alonso, in person

Remembering the woman who was Cuban ballet's legend and monster

Cross Currents/Monotones II/Everyone Keeps Me, Linbury Theatre review - the Royal Ballet finds the missing link

In exploring the road not taken, the Royal Ballet turns up treasures old and new


Elf Lyons, Komedia, Brighton review - bonkers, brilliant and a bit of bare bum

An endearing personal journey into why guinea pigs hate their loving, attentive owners

Rob Beckett, St David's Hall, Cardiff review - a mixed bag of observations

Scattergun approach yields both killer lines and tame misses

DVD: Do Not Adjust Your Set / At Last The 1948 Show

What the Pythons did first: the remnants of two iconic 1960s shows, restored with respect


Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

Challenge The Authority in this 'Mad Max on mushrooms' renegade romp

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to Celebrate Brighton Festival!

An eclectic line-up spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, comedy, literature and spoken word could be yours with boutique hotel and exquisite meals included

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

Chainsawing the brain-eaters as you battle against the tide of the undead

visual arts

Rembrandt's Light, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - a film-maker out of time?

A novel collaboration between curators and cinematographer Peter Suschitzky


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