sun 04/12/2022

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Sunday, 04 December 2022
This greatest of symphonies starts with what’s plausibly described as arrhythmia of the heart, so it shouldn’t have been surprising to find my own racing as Vladimir Jurowski...
Saskia Baron
Sunday, 04 December 2022
We hear the projector whirr as the mute 16mm film flows through the sprockets and on to the screen. For three minutes and a little longer we watch children and adults spilling out...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 04 December 2022
When Trevor Beales’s band Havana Lake released their only album in 1977, it was on a label which also issued records by The Ryman Country Band, The Saddleworth Male Voice Choir,...
Nick Hasted
Saturday, 03 December 2022
Belgian brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne have made their home region of Liège the site of excruciating moral crises and crushing injustice. Their twelve masterful, double...
Robert Beale
Saturday, 03 December 2022
Manchester Collective’s string orchestra programme, opening last night at the Royal Northern College of Music and touring to the South Bank, Leeds and Liverpool, is notable...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 03 December 2022
Opposition (and history) are the apparent mainstays of the ceaselessly busy James Graham, and he conjoins the two to riveting effect in Best of Enemies.Telling of the televised...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 03 December 2022
 GoldMund, Anna Veit: Mehr Oder Weniger Lametta – arrangements of Tchaikovsky, Bach, Humperdinck, Martin Luther, John...
Joe Muggs
Saturday, 03 December 2022
Want an antidote so forced seasonal cheer and the catchiness of Christmas pop? How about some almost entirely atonal drone,...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 02 December 2022
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes are Belgium’s national conscience. The brothers, who have been sharing the roles of writer-...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 02 December 2022
The Bush studio space is proving a fruitful launch pad, not just for new writing but for new performers. It previously...
Kathryn Reilly
Friday, 02 December 2022
Oh dear. 10 songs of very little consequence. And one which has sparked “controversy”. "I Hate You When You're Drunk" has...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 01 December 2022
There was originally a plan to make Tokyo Vice a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, but it has ended up as a TV series...
Cheri Amour
Thursday, 01 December 2022
In 2016’s abrasive album opener, "Dead Weight", frontwoman Mish Barber-Way laments over multiple miscarriages as her...
Gavin Dixon
Wednesday, 30 November 2022
There is no mistaking Christian Gerhaher. His voice is a light, agile baritone, and it is utterly distinctive. He is a very...
Barney Harsent
Wednesday, 30 November 2022
“You’re filmin’ a movie or something – can you explain this?” the radio DJ turns to Neil Young, a laugh underpinning his...
Stephen Walsh
Wednesday, 30 November 2022
There are conductors, and then again there are choral conductors. I sang under David Willcocks in Tallis’s 40-part "Spem in...
Guy Oddy
Wednesday, 30 November 2022
This Is What We Do is only Leftfield’s fourth album in a career that has lasted almost 35 years (on and off). But if there...
Rachel Halliburton
Tuesday, 29 November 2022
The elation in the queue was palpable as people stood laughing and chatting in the November cold waiting for the doors of...
Helen Hawkins
Tuesday, 29 November 2022
For his final bow as artistic director of the Orange Tree, Paul Miller has decided to go out with a bang, amid much giggling...

★★★★ TOKYO VICE, BBC ONE Murder, extortion and corruption in the Japanese capital

★★★ BAGHDADDY, ROYAL COURT Middle-Eastern magic realism is strong if a bit messy

★★★★★ PARK JIHA, STONE NEST, K-MUSIC Timeless evocative East-West soundscapes

★★★★★ MATILDA THE MUSICAL Matthew Warchus's glorious stage show sparkles anew onscreen

★★★★ NEIL YOUNG: HARVEST TIME A thrillingly intimate fly-on-the-wall documentary

★★★★ SHEKU KANNEH-MASON, HARRY BAKER, NOISENIGHT Distinctive, easygoing chemistry

THE ARTS DESK RADIO SHOW 34 Post-punk visionary Lu Edmonds with Peter Culshaw

★★★ IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, ENO Capra’s sharp-edged sentiment smothered in endless schmaltz

★★★★ CHRISTIAN GERHAHER, GEROLD HUBER, WIGMORE HALL Muted regret, distant longing

★★★★ ARMS AND THE MAN, ORANGE TREE THEATRE Absurdly romantic notions about love and war have never been funnier 


disc of the day

Album: Camilla Pisani - Phant[as]

A winter warmer of a very different kind with some Roman drone


Tokyo Vice, BBC One review - murder, extortion and corruption in the Japanese capital

Eager American reporter Jake Adelstein plunges into the murky world of the Yakuza

1899, Netflix review - Atlantic voyage turns into cosmic nightmare

Another mind-bending trip from the creators of 'Dark'

Blood, Sex & Royalty, Netflix review - yo, bros, get down with the GOAT, Henry VIII

Netflix aims a hip hop historical drama about Anne Boleyn at the Young Adult audience


Three Minutes: A Lengthening review - superb portrait of a vanished world

Found footage captures a summer's day in pre-war Poland

Directors the Dardenne brothers: 'To be living means to be fragile'

The Belgian masters discuss 'Tori and Lokita', and finding humanity on film

Tori and Lokita review - a masterpiece of humanist cinema

Belgium's Dardennes Brothers' Cannes winning refugee drama packs a punch

new music

Music Reissues Weekly: Trevor Beales - Fireside Stories

Belated recognition for previously obscure Seventies Hebden Bridge troubadour

Album: Camilla Pisani - Phant[as]

A winter warmer of a very different kind with some Roman drone

Album: Olly Murs - Marry Me

Exhausting if forgettable pop pap


Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - a performance to make the heart beat faster

A great conductor finds a line through Mahler’s most intense glooms and optimisms

Manchester Collective String Orchestra, RNCM, Manchester review - a remarkable new work for string ensemble

This themed set is an enigma, but Shostakovich puts all in perspective

Classical CDs: Christmas discs 2022

A seasonal smorgasbord: tubas, candles and a deep, deep bass


An open letter from Dame Sarah Connolly and colleagues to Arts Council England

The mezzo is joined by an operatic who's who in a plea to save English National Opera

It’s a Wonderful Life, English National Opera review - Capra’s sharp-edged sentiment smothered in endless schmaltz

A committed company show, but Jake Heggie’s operatic musical is irredeemably shallow

The Rake's Progress, Royal Academy of Music review - Hogarth's Rake enters the digital age

Energy and ideas (so many ideas) from this playful production, but where's the emotion?


Best of Enemies, Noel Coward Theatre review - opposites attract, sort of
James Graham play hits the West End on the way, presumably, to Broadway
The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English, Bush Studio review - an engaging debut
Tania Nwachukwu creates a warm hour of music and memories with hidden bite
Arms and the Man, Orange Tree Theatre review - a rollicking take on Shaw's satirical classic
Absurdly romantic notions about love and war have never been funnier


English National Ballet: Ek, Forsythe, Quagebeur review - two masters, two marvels

ENB shows its range in a devastating new Rite of Spring from Mats Ek, and pop heaven from William Forsythe

Birmingham Royal Ballet: Into the Music, Sadler's Wells review - a visual and aural feast

Beethoven rules the day in a fine mixed bill, and an overlooked choreographic master belatedly takes a bow

Light of Passage, Royal Ballet review - a new full-evening work by Crystal Pite is eloquent and moving

Proof, once again, that ballet has the muscle to tackle big topics


Helen Bauer, Soho Theatre review - rollicking show about how to be a modern woman

Feminism from a different angle, as 'Madam Good Tit' flies in from the Fringe


Patti Smith: A Book of Days review - adding to Insta's debris

The punk legend's archive of selfies, birthday greetings, and apothegms

Derek Owusu: Losing the Plot review - the finest perfume

Smells and scent bind this poetic study of identity and diaspora

Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of the Imagination, Science Museum review - travel to a galaxy not so far away

The glitzy Science Museum show fails to impress, but its accompanying book inspires

visual arts

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tate Modern review - a forest of huge and imposing presences

Smell the sisal and feel small in the company of giant hangings

Things, Musée du Louvre, Paris review - the still life brought alive

Monumental Paris art show asks questions about the nature of things

Donna Fleming: Apocalypse, The Pie Factory, Margate review - personal passions and intense feelings

Six years of work expressed through mercurial changes of medium


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