wed 27/05/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 26 May 2020
This short series of new dramas (BBC Four) by a group of leading playwrights was commissioned a week before the virus lockdown was announced on 23 March, and represents an...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 26 May 2020
David Olusoga’s A House Through Time concept (BBC Two) has proved a popular hit, using a specific property as a keyhole through which to observe historical and social changes....
Thomas H Green
Tuesday, 26 May 2020
At the start of March an obscure alt-metal outfit called Cegvera released a concept album titled The Sixth Glare. The physical album featured the headline “DISEASE” alongside a...
Richard Macer
Tuesday, 26 May 2020
“That’s Marcelino Sambé, he’s wonderful,” said the artistic administrator of the Royal Ballet as I followed her down one of the many corridors that weave throughout the Royal...
Tom Birchenough
Tuesday, 26 May 2020
Czech director Alfréd Radok’s Distant Journey (Daleká cesta) has an unprecedented place in the history of cinema of the Holocaust. Initially released in March 1949, it has been...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 25 May 2020
You may have seen Desiree Burch, a Californian now living in London, on The Mash Report on BBC One. She's an engaging and energetic storyteller and Desiree's Coming Early, her...
Russ Coffey
Monday, 25 May 2020
In pop music, less is often more and it doesn't come much shorter-and-sweeter than Quickies, the new collection from New...
Marina Vaizey
Sunday, 24 May 2020
John Grisham is a brand, in the sense that the reader relies on some sense of what the product is going to be. He is well up...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 24 May 2020
“Collector of the Light” is based around what sounds like a treated bass guitar. As the neck is moved up and down, multiple...
Daniel Baksi
Sunday, 24 May 2020
Over the years, the legend of The Apu Trilogy has been much-repeated. Now widely considered India’s greatest filmmaker,...
Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 23 May 2020
Since it debuted in November last year, Apple TV+ has barely made a dent in a market largely shaped by Netflix, but this...
Joseph Moog
Saturday, 23 May 2020
It can be found in any contract. Both artists, as well as promoters, are aware of it, but it used to be an exception so rare...
Owen Richards
Saturday, 23 May 2020
Don’t do drugs, kids. For the past 50 years, that’s been the consistent message. But how much of what we know about...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 23 May 2020
 Bizet: Carmen Suite No. 1, Symphony No. 1 in C, Gounod: Petite Symphonie Scottish Chamber Orchestra/François Leleux (...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 23 May 2020
Word has been out for a while that EDM megastar Diplo has decided to throw a curve ball with his musical career, don a...
David Nice
Friday, 22 May 2020
What would have been the festival season starts around now. Some organisations are offering mementos of past glories; others...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 22 May 2020
The National Theatre’s triumphant march through its archive of NT Live recordings continues this week with a glorious blaze...
Jill Chuah Masters
Friday, 22 May 2020
The second half of Mark Cousins’ documentary on films by women filmmakers starts with religion; it ends with song and dance...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 22 May 2020
A running gag in David Nicholls' novel The Understudy is that its main character is called Steve McQueen. Not that Steve...

★ DIPLO PRESENTS THOMAS WESLEY EDM megastar teases a change of direction

★★★★ DEFENDING JACOB, APPLE TV+ Does murder run in the family?

★★★ HAVE A GOOD TRIP, NETFLIX A breezy journey into the mind

★★★ JOHN GRISHAM: CAMINO WINDS Morality tale with a light touch

★★★ WOMEN MAKE FILM: PART 2 Two steps forward, one step back


PIANIST JOSEPH MOOG on the difficulties of performing in lockdown

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Distant Journey

Pioneering early Holocaust feature is a phenomenon of Czech cinema


Unprecedented, BBC Four review - perspectives on the pandemic

Playwrights find different ways to approach an unfathomable crisis

A House Through Time, Series 3, BBC Two review - Bristol under the microscope

Slavery, piracy and satire at No 10, Guinea Street

Defending Jacob, Apple TV+ review - does murder run in the family?

Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery impress in adaptation of hit novel


DVD/Blu-ray: Distant Journey

Pioneering early Holocaust feature is a phenomenon of Czech cinema

Blu-ray: The Apu Trilogy

An enduring Bengali epic from India's greatest filmmaker

Have a Good Trip, Netflix review - a breezy journey into the mind

Netflix doc focuses on the lighter side of psychedelics

new music

The Songs of Coronovirus and Lockdown Life

The pandemic has given a worldwide cross section of quarantined musicians plenty to write about

Album: The Magnetic Fields - Quickies

Musical capsules that pack a short, sharp punch

Reissue CDs Weekly: Keith Relf - All the Falling Angels

Confirmation that the face of The Yardbirds was a creative force in his own right


'Artists' online rivalry feels stronger': pianist Joseph Moog on the difficulties of performing in lockdown

Fascinating interpreter of Liszt and others on where musicians find themselves now

Classical CDs Weekly: Bizet, Gounod, Liszt, Heinz Winbeck

French elegance, an epic piano sonata and a contemporary symphonic cycle

'In a country of marvellous communicators': violinist Katherine Hunka on life with the Irish Chamber Orchestra

The ICO's leader/sometime music director for 18 years shares the wonder of life in Ireland


Classical Music/Opera direct to home 12 - partying at a distance

Festivals cope with live online events and past fare

The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, Dutch National Opera, OperaVision review - fairy-tale good and evil made real

Rimsky-Korsakov's myth resonates in the highest musical and production standards

Avoiding meltdown from lockdown: Michael Chance on The Grange Festival's strategy for survival

The countertenor and mastermind of a major summer opera event weighs up the future


A Streetcar Named Desire, National Theatre at Home review - world on fire
NT Live recording of this classic Young Vic production is genuinely unmissable
Theatre Lockdown Special 6: A prolific playwright, a timeless play, and speeches galore
A popular American star vehicle and 'Alice in Wonderland' minute-by-minute figure among the cultural bounty during the week ahead


'If they had been any closer my face would have misted up': filming 'Men at the Barre'

The director Richard Macer had exclusive access to the male stars of the Royal Ballet. He describes what he discovered

The Thread, Sadler's Wells Digital Stage review - Greek folk and contemporary unite

Russell Maliphant breathes fresh life into Hellenic tradition

Palermo, Palermo review - free to view Pina

The Pina Bausch Foundation releases the first in a projected series of digital recordings


Desiree Burch, Soho Theatre On Demand review - fantastical storytelling

California comic on Burning Man, sex, race – and LSD

Lockdown Comedy 2: where to get your laughs this week

Live stand-up recordings and podcasts

Jerry Seinfeld, Netflix review - not bad for a swansong

US comic says this may be his last stand-up show


Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

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

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

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

The Lego Movie 2 Videogame review - everything is not awesome

Few fresh ideas means this movie adaptation treads the same old ground

visual arts

Unto the Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin, Watts Gallery–Artists' Village, review - a breath of fresh air

The former home of Victorian artists GF and Mary Watts is a restorative treat, even online

XXI presented by ARTCELS, HOFA Gallery review - art as investment

Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Banksy and more come together in a depressing investment portfolio


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