sun 16/12/2018

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Barney Harsent
Sunday, 16 December 2018
Kosua was released only last month, but its journey began two years ago when George Thompson, aka Black Merlin, released Hipnotik Tradisi, a beautiful and captivating document of...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 16 December 2018
In April 1973, John Peel wrote that “For my money, Tangerine Dream are the best of the Kosmische Music bands. Whenever any of their extended works are played on the radio there is...
Hanna Weibye
Saturday, 15 December 2018
The Matthew Bourne Swan Lake has become a classic. And – lest that word conjure up dusty tomes and a niggling sense of obligation – this is definitively not the old-but-worthy,...
Aleks Sierz
Saturday, 15 December 2018
Wow! First, the Black Panther team took cinema by storm; now, they have conquered theatre as well. Or, at least, two of them have. The Convert has been written by actor and...
Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 15 December 2018
When Bruce Springsteen’s one-man show opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre on New York’s West 48th Street in October last year it was only supposed to run for six weeks. This being...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 15 December 2018
 Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain Apollo’s Fire/Jeannette Sorrell (Avie)Subtitled ‘an Irish-Appalachian celebration’, this disc follows the Scottish and Irish immigrants who...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 15 December 2018
It’s been an odd year for albums. The one I’ve listened to most is Stop Lying, a mini-album by Raf Rundel, an artist best...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 14 December 2018
Playwright Mark Ravenhill, who shot to fame in 1996 with his in-yer-face shocker Shopping and Fucking, has been more or less...
David Nice
Friday, 14 December 2018
Once upon a time there was the terrible mouth of Richard Jones's Welsh National Opera/Met Hänsel und Gretel, finding an...
Tim Cornwell
Friday, 14 December 2018
One emotional high point in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the much-lauded Simon Stephens adaptation...
Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 14 December 2018
Welcome to your first day in the afterlife! Everything is fine! Eleanor Shellstrop (a sparkling Kristen Bell) is dead, but...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 14 December 2018
The time of giving is here and what better presents than great slabs of lovely vinyl; sounds that bring joy to all. Our last...
Howard Male
Friday, 14 December 2018
The problem with being an increasingly senile but still rabidly enthusiastic music fan is that you find yourself declaring...
Tom Birchenough
Thursday, 13 December 2018
For those of us who have never thought much before about links between pantomime and Shakespeare, Fiona Laird’s new Merry...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 13 December 2018
The story of Lizzie Borden, controversially acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe in Fall River,...
Katie Colombus
Thursday, 13 December 2018
I’ve noticed a stark shift in transition of the kind of music I want to spend my time listening to over 2018. I’ve slowed...
Robert Beale
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
The Royal Northern College of Music’s December opera production was the useful double bill of Suor Angelica and Gianni...
Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
It's been 40 years since The Double Dealer last had a major airing (indeed, perhaps any airing) in London, so on the basis...
Saskia Baron
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
As the priest said, "Understanding comes first, then forgiveness". Thus the rather enjoyable (if slightly overstretched) Mrs...

★★★ HÄNSEL UND GRETEL, ROYAL OPERA Not quite hungry enough


★★★★ THE GOOD PLACE, EPISODE ONE, E4 Trailing clouds of glory

★★★★★ THE CANE, ROYAL COURT Hey teacher, leave them kids alone

ALBUMS OF 2018: SARAH GILLESPIE - WISHBONES Heart and gut beat head and hips

THEARTSDESK ON VINYL 46 Christmas 2018 Special with Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, The Rolling Stones, Lulu and more

disc of the day

Albums of the Year 2018: Black Merlin - Kosua

The year's best celebrate different tongues and shared languages

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Springsteen on Broadway, Netflix review - one-man band becomes one-man show

An emotional trip into the mind of New Jersey's patron saint

The Good Place, E4 review - episode one trails clouds of glory

Michael Shur's metaphysical sitcom about the afterlife combines ethics and hilarity

Mrs Wilson finale, BBC One review - stranger than fiction

Alison Wilson's search for the truth keeps turning up new mysteries


Springsteen on Broadway, Netflix review - one-man band becomes one-man show

An emotional trip into the mind of New Jersey's patron saint

Lizzie review - murder most meticulous

Historic axe-killer mystery reworked as feminist fable

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse review - a new hope for the superhero genre

An anarchic animated adventure with a psychedelic style and whip-smart voice cast

new music

Reissue CDs Weekly: Tangerine Dream

‘The Pink Years’ collects the German Kosmische titans first four albums in a box

Albums of the Year 2018: Black Merlin - Kosua

The year's best celebrate different tongues and shared languages

Albums of the Year 2018: Farai - Rebirth

In the end, it's a very recent raging release from London that blows away the competition


Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas, part 2

Six more seasonal discs, covering celebrations from Tokyo to rural Virginia

Thomas Adès, Wigmore Hall review - playful and erratic Janáček

Kindred spirits, but quirks sometimes overplayed

The Swingles, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review – austere Stravinsky, luminous Berio

Year-long Stravinsky festival wraps up with a diverse sixties showcase


Hänsel und Gretel, Royal Opera review - not quite hungry enough

Three top voices and vivacious conducting aren't enough to set fairytale juices flowing

Gianni Schicchi/Suor Angelica, RNCM, Manchester review – music does the magic

A new and impressive approach to college opera performance

Candide, LSO, Alsop, Barbican review - nearly the best of all possible...

Bernstein centenary reaches a smashing conclusion with a flawed masterpiece


The Convert, Young Vic review - Africa's electric cry for justice
Thrilling revival of Danai Gurira's 2012 play about Christianity and imperialism
The Cane, Royal Court review - hey teacher, leave them kids alone
Mark Ravenhill's comeback play is a brilliant account of the abuse of power
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Piccadilly Theatre review - back for a heart-tugging encore
Award-winning adaptation of Mark Haddon's novel retains its ingenuity and pathos


Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Sadler's Wells - vivid, enchanting

Refreshed classic production delights with energy, storytelling and live Tchaikovsky

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet review - a still-magical tale of two couples

Peter Wright's balance of story-telling and classical dance lacks only elan from the pit

The Unknown Soldier, Infra, Symphony in C, Royal Ballet, review - WWI ballet honours obscure tragedy

The storyline goes missing, presumed dead, in this Armistice commission


Hari Kondabolu, Soho Theatre review - from politics to papayas

US comic with an original take on all manner of things

Matt Forde, Purcell Room review - politics plus deft impressions

Astute state of the nation material from former Labour man


Battlefield V review - WWII on an epic scale

The veteran series returns for another ambitious tour of duty

Red Dead Redemption 2 review - the cowboy drama makes a triumphant return

An ambitious Wild West odyssey that matches epic scale with benchmark skill

visual arts

Edwin Landseer / Rachel Maclean, National Gallery review - a juxtaposition of opposites

The Monarch of the Glen refreshed by a Scottish political satirist

Māris Briežkalns Quintet, EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 review - a Rothko symphony

Latvian players and composers homage a great artist they can call their own

The Best Exhibitions in London

From the Turner Prize shortlist to the future of gaming: our guide to what to see in the city

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