wed 18/09/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Demetrios Matheou
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Three women decide to take over their husbands’ criminal activities, proving more than a match for the men who dominate the underworld. If this outline of The Kitchen ...
Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
The work isn't finished on Big, if this stage musical of the beloved 1988 Tom Hanks film is ever to, um, make it big. A Broadway flop in 1996 where it was among the last shows...
Thomas H Green
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Renée Zellweger already has strong musical cinema form, Her role as Roxie Hart in Chicago garnered her second Oscar nomination. However, playing and singing Judy Garland is a...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 17 September 2019
This new legal comedy is based on a well-received book by Alex McBride, but the transition from print to the BBC Two screen hasn’t been an unalloyed success. It stars Will Sharpe...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 17 September 2019
If you’re a farmer who works round the clock to feed sheep, milk cows and so forth, how on earth do you make time to find a partner and reap a harvest of marital bliss? Well you...
Gavin Dixon
Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Kasper Holten left a mixed bag of productions behind at Royal Opera when he left in 2017, but the best of them - though not all my colleagues on The Arts Desk have agreed - is...
Veronica Lee
Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Rob Brydon, Lee Mack and David Mitchell are the host and team captains respectively of Would I Lie to You?, the long-running...
Ellie Porter
Monday, 16 September 2019
You might think that being first on the bill with a half-hour slot at 1.15pm would be an affront to a band who’d had a 12-...
Jessica Duchen
Monday, 16 September 2019
While the Proms were ringing out the old season, the Wigmore Hall ushered in the big celebration of 2020: the 250th...
David Nice
Monday, 16 September 2019
Any festival would be proud and honoured to end with the great Elisabeth Leonskaja playing the last three Beethoven piano...
Katie Colombus
Monday, 16 September 2019
For a band mostly known as a brilliantly ludicrous cocktail of other’s people’s sound-styles, the Simulation Theory tour is...
Gavin Dixon
Monday, 16 September 2019
Simon Rattle has a knack for unearthing large-scale orchestral works that pack a punch. Olivier Messiaen’s Éclairs sur l’Au-...
Mark Kidel
Monday, 16 September 2019
It is a truth perhaps not quite but almost universally accepted that Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, beloved of GSCE...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 16 September 2019
One question springs immediately to mind on hearing that Romesh Ranganathan’s new stand-up show, The Cynic’s Mixtape, is...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 16 September 2019
Swedish singer Tove Lo appeared at a time when female physical sexuality was being used as a raw, blunt weapon in pop, when...
Gavin Dixon
Sunday, 15 September 2019
The BBC put social and ethnic diversity at the heart of this Last Night programme. The concert opened with a new work, by...
Marina Vaizey
Sunday, 15 September 2019
This is a book about experiences that go beyond reading about art. Martin Gayford’s 20 short essays about press trips and...
Graham Rickson
Sunday, 15 September 2019
Martinů's The Greek Passion is a bold choice as a season opener, all the more so given that Opera North are staging the...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 15 September 2019
Last week in central London, the Covent Garden branch of the book and music chain Fopp was selling CD sets branded as “5...
 

★★★★ CD: TOVE LO - SUNSHINE KITTY Forthright relationship-centred lyricism

TEMPLE, SKY 1 Mark Strong leads powerful cast in fascinating medical thriller

★★★★ MARTIN GAYFORD: THE PURSUIT OF ART Pilgrimages to visit artists and artworks

★★★★ ROMESH RANGANATHAN, BRIGHTON DOME Transgressive, edgy and very likeable

★★★★★ LSO, RATTLE, BARBICAN Serene meditations from Messiaen, energised by the birdsong

★★★★ THE GREEK PASSION, OPERA NORTH Good versus evil in rural Greece

★★ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE* (*SORT OF), BRISTOL OLD VIC Jane Austen as shallow romcom

disc of the day

CD: Renée Zellweger - Judy

The film star does a fine job interpreting a host of Garland classics

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tv

Love in the Countryside, BBC Two review - reaping a harvest of marital bliss?

Sara Cox's dating game for rural singletons is more fun than it ought to be

Temple, Sky 1 review - down in the tube station at midnight

Mark Strong leads powerful cast in fascinating medical thriller

film

For Sama review - besieged, bombed, and defiant in Syria

A young mother's video diary captures the daily horror of the civil war

Phoenix review - Norwegian family tragedy with an autobiographical slant

Mesmerising child performers but Camilla Strøm Henriksen's debut doesn't quite deliver

The Shock of the Future review - for the music nerds

Retro French synth drama focuses on the music over character

new music

CD: Renée Zellweger - Judy

The film star does a fine job interpreting a host of Garland classics

BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park review – Pet Shop Boys, Westlife and Status Quo deliver the hits

Cheery nostalgia is the name of the game at this annual crowdpleaser

Muse, 02 review - bombastic Brit-rock with a sci-fi theme

Instrumental genius and a brilliantly ludicrous cocktail of styles

classical

Beethoven Festival Weekend, Wigmore Hall review 1 - sparkle and charisma versus creative overkill

A peerless opening recital is followed by some curatorial oddities

Beethoven Festival Weekend, Wigmore Hall review 2 - total mastery in tone and depth

Perfect sonorities from ensembles, profundity from the peerless Elisabeth Leonskaja

LSO, Rattle, Barbican Hall review – visions of the beyond

Serene meditations from Messiaen, energised by the joyous sound of birdsong

opera

Don Giovanni, Royal Opera review - laid-back Lothario

Revival cast variable, but Erwin Schrott delivers as the would-be seducer

'This goes beyond music and drama': tenor Nicky Spence on Martinů's 'The Greek Passion'

On his Christ-playing character in Opera North's new production of a Czech masterpiece

theatre

Big the Musical - sweet if wildly overstretched
Onetime Broadway flop has more charm in London but still needs work
Amsterdam, Orange Tree Theatre review - suffocatingly mannered
A potentially compelling play is done in by its structure and an unhelpful staging

dance

Alvin Ailey, Programme C review - black, beautiful, brilliant

America's No.1 rounds off its triumphant visit with a diddly-doo-wop

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells review - Still more Revelations

America's favourite dance ticket shows us how it's done

Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet, Sadler's Wells review - heart-stopping drama

The plot isn't perfect, but this bad romance still packs a punch

comedy

Romesh Ranganathan, Brighton Dome review - transgressive, edgy and very likeable

The TV favourite hits the ground running at the start of his Cynic's Mixtape tour

gaming

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

Foragers of the Foreshore - London's mudlarks on show

The director of Totally Thames introduces this year's festival, including an exhibition of mudlarks and their finds

Artists in Amsterdam, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - a slight but evocative sketch

Amsterdam was Europe's economic hub in the 17th century, a fact reflected in its art

Edinburgh Festival 2019 reviews: Below the Blanket / Samson Young: Real Music

Two Edinburgh shows meld music, sound and visual art to beguiling effect

latest comments

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