tue 30/11/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Matt Wolf
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
It seemed impossible and yet, the other evening, while idly flicking through emails, I learned the unimaginable: Stephen Sondheim, age 91, had passed away. And very quickly by all...
Ian Julier
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Even with a chill wind blowing from the Sussex Downs, this copper-bottomed Overture-Concerto-Symphony Sunday matinée was guaranteed to entice concert-goers to Eastbourne’s...
John Carvill
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Thomas Pynchon’s saturnine '70s novel Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) begins with “[a] screaming [that] comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it...
Saskia Baron
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
In an era when toxic masculinity has become a clichéd accusation to throw at any portrait of men behaving macho, it’s fascinating to revisit Dennis Hopper’s 1980 movie Out of...
Boyd Tonkin
Monday, 29 November 2021
On a night when any brooks running past the Wigmore Hall might have frozen almost solid, Imogen Cooper’s recital travelled on sparkling waters of the highest purity across almost...
Gary Naylor
Monday, 29 November 2021
"Off-grid" wasn't a thing in the mid-'70s. Sure, people planted a few potatoes in the garden and pottered about a bit in an allotment, but nobody went the whole hog. The rat race...
Sarah Kent
Monday, 29 November 2021
Lubaina Himid won the Turner Prize in 2017 for the retrospective she held jointly at Modern Art, Oxford and Spike Island,...
Christopher Lambton
Monday, 29 November 2021
What happens in an orchestra when your designated conductor for three gigs at the end of the week phones in with Covid on...
Jenny Gilbert
Monday, 29 November 2021
In Paris on a business trip in 1916, Wilhelm Hansen was no doubt typical of many husbands in confessing to his wife that he’...
Sebastian Scotney
Monday, 29 November 2021
Saxophonist Kenny G knows exactly what buttons he needs to press to upset the jazz faithful. He is quoted as having said of...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 28 November 2021
Signs of irrevocable change materialised in December 1965. On Wednesday the 8th, a new band named The 13th Floor Elevators...
Bill Knight
Saturday, 27 November 2021
Paris Photo 2021 was a wonderful show. Back after the pandemic it was moved to the Grand Palais Éphémère, a temporary...
David Nice
Saturday, 27 November 2021
Dara McAnulty’s Diary of a Young Naturalist (14 at the time of writing) is a total vision, effortlessly poetic where the...
Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 27 November 2021
Based fairly closely on Sally Wainwright’s 2009 ITV series Unforgiven, The Unforgivable replaces the former’s star Suranne...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 27 November 2021
When those cold winter nights start closing in, there is really only two choices for facing up to the unpleasantness that...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 27 November 2021
 Brahms: Symphony No. 4, MacMillan: Larghetto for Orchestra Pittsburgh Symphony, Manfred Honeck (Reference Recordings)...
Joe Muggs
Saturday, 27 November 2021
Alejandra Ghersi – Arca – is one of the most influential musicians on the planet in the last decade. Even aside from working...
Rachel Halliburton
Friday, 26 November 2021
Words flow like water in TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, shimmering with allusion, swirling and eddying with the ideas and...
Robert Beale
Friday, 26 November 2021
Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé were making something of a statement in this concert. Gone was the extended platform, gone the...

★★★★ PARIS PHOTO 2021 The Grand Palais Éphémère hosts a wonderful show

★★★★ FOUR QUARTETS, HAROLD PINTER THEATRE Brilliant Fiennes breathes air and physicality into Eliot's work

BOX OF PIN-UPS / THINK I'M GOING WEIRD Nailing the musical unpredictability of 1965-1968

★★★ LUBAINA HAMID, TATE MODERN Carnival of characters looking forwards and backwards

★★★ SCENES FROM THE WILD, MORGAN, CLS, PATERSON, SOUTHWARK CATHEDRAL Cheryl Frances-Hoad's 90-minute song cycle should be a winner when the words emerge

★★★★★ PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS, THE MILL Geordie rockers blow the roof off

★★★★★ KIM, RSNO, STOCKHAMMER, USHER HALL Bold programming survives a replacement

★★★ THE DANISH COLLECTOR: DELACROIX TO GAUGUIN Fabulous art in 'Exhibition on Screen'

disc of the day

Blu-ray: Out of the Blue

Beautiful restoration of Dennis Hopper's dark portrait of a family mired in abuse


The Beatles: Get Back, Disney+ review - 1969 revisited in Peter Jackson's three-part documentary

Eight hours of vintage Fab Four footage may be a trifle excessive

Death of England: Face to Face, National Theatre at Home review - anti-racist trilogy ends with a bang

Roy Williams and Clint Dyer bring their monologue sequence to a triumphant conclusion

Dopesick, Disney+ review - the harrowing inside story of America's OxyContin scandal

How corporate greed rode roughshod over regulatory oversight


Blu-ray: Out of the Blue

Beautiful restoration of Dennis Hopper's dark portrait of a family mired in abuse

The Unforgivable review - Sandra Bullock gets stuck in a doom-struck rut

Movie version of Sally Wainwright TV thriller can't live up to its potential

House Of Gucci review – gloriously gawdy trash

Ridley Scott’s latest is a hot mess of cod accents and daytime drama, yet watchable


Tchetuev, LPO, Larsen-Maguire, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne review - sunshine by the sea

Recreative energy from a conductor to watch, fantasy from a fine Ukrainian pianist

Imogen Cooper, Wigmore Hall review - calm waters run deep

A piano journey down the river of musical time

Kim, RSNO, Stockhammer, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - bold programming survives a replacement

Fascinating sequence culminates in heartrending Brahms from a young master


The Valkyrie, English National Opera review - fitfully flickering flames

Consistently fine orchestra, singing from strong to strenuous, clear but patchy staging

The Cunning Little Vixen, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - nature, large as life

Janáček's natural wonder goes large, in a supercharged concert staging

Macbeth, Royal Opera review - bloody, bold, and resolute

A strong ensemble for Verdi’s tragedy, but Simon Keenlyside dominates


Stephen Sondheim in memoriam - he gave us more to see
A master gone but in no way and never to be forgotten
The Good Life, Richmond Theatre review - popular sitcom gets its own origin story
Tom, Barbara, Jerry and Margo are back in the '70s, but with a message for today


Past Present, Linbury Theatre review - historic, but very much alive

Yorke Dance Project premieres the final work of Robert Cohan

Ballet Black, Linbury Theatre review - an essential part of the landscape

Twenty years on, the pity is that it's still necessary for this excellent company to exist

Curated by Carlos, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - a star turn

Carlos Acosta and Alessandra Ferri show the young things how it's done


The Good Life, Richmond Theatre review - popular sitcom gets its own origin story

Tom, Barbara, Jerry and Margo are back in the '70s, but with a message for today

Alfie Brown, Soho Theatre review - a contrarian on great form

Mental health and male privilege examined

Ahir Shah, Soho Theatre review - lockdown laid bare

Disappointing show feels like a work in progress


Peter Robison: Flying Blind review – a story of decline and crawl

The galling account of the 737 MAX Boeing tragedies

Lucie Elven: The Weak Spot review - a cryptic modern fable

This study in manipulation asks what happens when our weaknesses are weaponised

Sarah Moss: The Fell review - a dark night on the hills

What happens when you go missing in a pandemic?

visual arts

Lubaina Himid, Tate Modern review – more explication please

A carnival of characters looking forwards as well as backwards

The Danish Collector: Delacroix to Gauguin review - fabulous art, not sure about the framing

Exhibition on Screen offers a catch-up for those who missed the RA show

Paris Photo 2021 review - a moveable feast

Paris Photo returns, in a new temporary home

latest comments

Spoilt by ridiculously loud music and cartoon...

My introduction to Sondheim was also via Sweeney...

That's a very subjective opinion of what a review...

This review is very subjective and doesn't focus...

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"With her unwavering regard for fact, Belton has...

I love Charles Lloyd and this is a wonderful...


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