fri 17/09/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Jenny Gilbert
Friday, 17 September 2021
If I had to sum up in a single impression the work I’ve seen of Brighton-based, Israeli-born choreographer Hofesh Shechter (now OBE), it would be that of a rock gig. His shows are...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 17 September 2021
Despite an alluring cast which includes Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd and Kevin Kline, The Starling is doomed to be remembered, if at all, as a slender idea unsatisfyingly...
Florence Hallett
Friday, 17 September 2021
When you stand in front of Helen Frankenthaler’s Freefall, 1993, in your mind you drop into its gorgeous, blue abyss. It is enveloping, vertiginous, endless and yet there’s none...
Joe Muggs
Friday, 17 September 2021
Lil Nas X is good at being a pop star. Like, what could pop culture need more than a young, flamboyant, witty gay rapper from the deep south who can top the US country charts then...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 16 September 2021
God is a tricky one. Or should that be One? And definitely not a He. So when she says take revenge, then vengeance is definitely not only hers, but ours too. American playwright...
Joseph Walsh
Thursday, 16 September 2021
On its surface, a biopic of a late-Victorian artist starring big British talents including Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrea Riseborough and Claire Foy, sounds like typical awards fare...
Guy Oddy
Thursday, 16 September 2021
Incredibly it’s now 40 years since the release of Duran Duran’s debut album. To mark this event, the remaining members of...
David Nice
Thursday, 16 September 2021
What a way for the Multi-Story Orchestra, conductor Christopher Stark and composer Kate Whitley to celebrate 10 years of...
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 16 September 2021
Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind of Journey instantly sets its controls for an excursion into the interstellar void...
Tim Cumming
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
This was, said bassist Michael Janisch, his first gig since January last year, and his crack group’s Monday evening set,...
Rachel Halliburton
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
Indecent is a play wrapped inside a news story about stigma. Playwright Paula Vogel was at Cornell University when she...
Nick Hasted
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
There’s a modesty to the Felice Brothers, an absenting of ego, even as they seek glimmers of transcendence in the vast...
David Nice
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
Another season, another new production of Verdi’s nastiest masterpiece. For which we should be profoundly grateful after the...
Sarah Kent
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
It’s been described as “the most improbable story that has ever happened in the art market”, and The Lost Leonardo reveals...
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
The bleakest time of all for live music during the Covid crisis came in the first four and a half months of this year. Re-...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
Joseph Losey’s career covered a great deal of ground, and several continents. From The Boy with the Green Hair, a noirish...
Christopher Lambton
Monday, 13 September 2021
In some deep imagined past, watching the Last Night of the Proms on telly was one of those national collective experiences,...
Christopher Haydon
Monday, 13 September 2021
Programming a theatre during a pandemic has been like trying to nail jelly to a set of constantly moving goalposts....
Veronica Lee
Monday, 13 September 2021
Olga Koch – born in Russia to ethnic German parents, multilingual and now living in London – might fit into the group that...

★★★ DVD/BLU-RAY: MR KLEIN Alain Delon shines in flawed Losey take on the hunted man

★★★ THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN Visually arresting biopic 

★★★★ DURAN DURAN, O2 INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM An intimate gig for the local megastars

★★★★ OUR FUTURE IN YOUR HANDS, PECKHAM SCHOOL CHOIRS, MULTI-STORY ORCHESTRA Kate Whitley's latest work involving local schoolchildren is a big symphonic eco-plea

★★★★ IS GOD IS, ROYAL COURT A thrillingly satirical mash up 


★★★★ THE LOST LEONARDO An incredible tale as gripping as any thriller 

★★★★ THE NORTH WATER, BBC TWO A terrible voyage into the great beyond

★★★ RIGOLETTO, ROYAL OPERA Routine clouds the best in this season opener

CLASSICAL CDS Star sopranos, forest spirits and a Mexican funeral march

disc of the day

Album: Lil Nas X - Montero

For better or worse, the Georgia-born star brings consistency to an extraordinary array of sound


Schumacher, Netflix review - authorised version of the life of an F1 legend

Portrait of German race ace doesn't dig deep enough

The North Water, BBC Two review - a terrible voyage into the great beyond

Director Andrew Haigh brings cinematic heft to this bloody whaling odyssey

The Blood Pact, All 4 review - a (tax) inspector falls

Themes and characters entwine in the third series' masterly denouement


The Starling, Netflix review - a slender idea unsatisfyingly executed

Alluring cast can't save Theodore Melfi's trite melodrama

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain review - visually arresting biopic

Will Sharpe’s portrayal of the fin-de-siècle cat painter, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, offers a visual spectacle

new music

Album: Lil Nas X - Montero

For better or worse, the Georgia-born star brings consistency to an extraordinary array of sound

Duran Duran, O2 Institute, Birmingham review – an intimate gig for the local megastars

40 years on from their debut the New Romantic originators return home


Rigoletto, Royal Opera review - routine clouds the best in this season opener

Orchestra and chorus pass with flying colours, but tradition weighs heavy elsewhere

Summer seasons in a Covid world: five opera company movers and shakers reflect

The admins are the heroes now: how festivals surmounted all obstacles

The Barber of Seville, Welsh National Opera review - back to work in an old banger

Some excellent singing struggling with a weary production and an unhelpful translation


Is God Is, Royal Court review – blister, flare and burn, baby, burn
Aleshea Harris’s award-winning play is a thrillingly satirical mash up
Indecent, Menier Chocolate Factory review - cabaret-style depiction of a rapidly changing world
An intriguing if flawed evening, boosted by ebullient ensemble work
First Person: theatre director Christopher Haydon on how the Rose Theatre, Kingston, can bloom anew
The former artistic director of the Gate Theatre moves his theatrical vision further west


Hofesh Shechter Company, Double Murder, Sadler's Wells review - a well-intentioned but misjudged double bill

After the killing spree, a warm group hug. How to send an audience home feeling numb

Beauty Mixed Programme, Royal Ballet review - no dancers? No problem

The company's 90th anniversary celebration triumphs over setbacks

theartsdesk Q&A: choreographer Christopher Scott

The creator of the sizzling dance scenes for 'In The Heights' on how they came about


theartsdesk Q&A: writer and comedian Tom Davis

From singing Disney songs in drag to 'Murder in Successville' and BBC One's 'King Gary'


Claire-Louise Bennett: Checkout 19 review - coming to life

A genre-bending novel about reading, living, writing and returning

Christopher Clark: Prisoners of Time review - from Kaiser Bill to Dominic Cummings

A leading historian finds the past busily at work in the present

Thora Hjörleifsdóttir: Magma review - love burns in debut novel from Iceland

A raw examination of the destructiveness of a toxic relationship


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