mon 26/02/2024

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Helen Hawkins
Monday, 26 February 2024
It’s an unhappy time to be staging Shakespeare’s problematic play, given its antisemitic content, so hats off to adaptor-director Brigid Larmour and actor Tracy-Ann Oberman for...
Boyd Tonkin
Monday, 26 February 2024
Opera in Britain is currently cursed by funders, politicians and ideologues – of right and left – who heartily detest the form. Alas, some directors do their work for them with...
Kieron Tyler
Monday, 26 February 2024
Musically, the assured Focus on Nature knows exactly what it is. Fuzzy, psychedelic-leaning, folk-aware pop-rock with an emphasis on guitars about captures it. And what tunes –...
Paco Peña
Sunday, 25 February 2024
There are moments that forever remain imprinted in our consciousness, engraved on the general map of our lives. I cannot forget the excitement of seeing snow for the first time in...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 25 February 2024
“I hate it, so I guess Eater have succeeded.” NME’s March 1977 appraisal of the debut single by UK punk's teen sensations was direct. In his trailblazing British punk fanzine...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 24 February 2024
A splendid cast struggle to make something coherent out of Wicked Little Letters, the latest film from Thea Sharrock who not that long ago was one of the hottest theatre directors...
David Nice
Saturday, 24 February 2024
Ravel’s Boléro, however well you think you know it, usually wows in concert with its disconcerting mix of sensuality, fun...
Sarah Kent
Saturday, 24 February 2024
At the turn of the 20th century, London’s smart set queued up to get their portraits painted by American-born artist John...
Stephen Walsh
Saturday, 24 February 2024
It’s not often one comes out of a concert of mainly new works with a spring in one’s step. A sigh of relief is rather more...
Gary Naylor
Saturday, 24 February 2024
Is there a healthier sound than that of laughter ringing round a theatre? There are plenty of opportunities to test...
Tom Carr
Saturday, 24 February 2024
There are few bands who can claim to operate in a similar visionary style as Everything Everything. Since their 2010 debut...
Miranda Heggie
Friday, 23 February 2024
An opera about a day in the life of Karl Marx doesn’t exactly sound like a barrel of laughs. But then so much of Jonathan...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 23 February 2024
In 2017, two years after Hir premiered, Taylor Mac was awarded a “Genius Grant” and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for drama...
Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 23 February 2024
Procul Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” is given a new lease on life in Mexican director Michel Franco’s moving, complex...
Gary Naylor
Friday, 23 February 2024
You do not need to be Einstein to feel it. If the only dimension missing is time, 75% of a place’s identity can invade your...
Mert Dilek
Thursday, 22 February 2024
Less than three years after her magnificent Macbeth, Yaël Farber returns to the Almeida with another Shakespeare tragedy....
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 22 February 2024
I first saw Bill Bailey at least 30 years ago in the cabaret tent at Glastonbury Festival, the audience lying on hessian...
Mert Dilek
Thursday, 22 February 2024
Doom and gloom, we are told, may have abounded in the classical underworld, but Hadestown suggests otherwise. Returning to...
Jon Turney
Thursday, 22 February 2024
Consider a chimp peeling a stick which it will poke into a termite nest. It strikes us as a human gesture. Our primate...
 

★★ AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, DUKE OF YORK'S Performative and predictable

★★★ MALOFEEV, BBCSO, LINTU, BARBICAN Finesse as well as fireworks

★★★★ TOM CHATFIELD: WISE ANIMALS A compelling account of how we use technology

★★★★ DOUBLE FEATURE, HAMPSTEAD THEATRE With directors like these, who needs enemies

★★★★ JERZY SKOLIMOWSKI Visually striking early works from an iconoclastic Polish director

★★★★★ LAETITIA SADLER - ROOTING FOR LOVE Strange and beautiful dream transmissions

★★ THE WAY, BBC ONE Michael Sheen's ode to Port Talbot stretches credulity

disc of the day

Album: The Bevis Frond - Focus on Nature

Further confirmation that Nick Saloman is one of the UK’s great musical stylists

tv

The Way, BBC One review - steeltown blues

Michael Sheen's ode to Port Talbot stretches credulity

Kin, Series 2, BBC One review - when crime dynasties collide

Dublin becomes a war zone in Peter McKenna's addictive drama

The New Look, AppleTV+ review - lavish period drama with more width than depth

Ben Mendelsohn's tender performance as Dior anchors the spectacle in emotional truth

film

Wicked Little Letters review - sweary, starry film is mostly strange

Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley re-team, this time as warring neighbours

Memory review - love, dementia and truth

Michel Franco directs Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard in a complex, painful love story

theartsdesk Q&A: Wim Wenders on 'Perfect Days'

The German director explains why he made a drama about a Tokyo toilet cleaner

new music

Album: The Bevis Frond - Focus on Nature

Further confirmation that Nick Saloman is one of the UK’s great musical stylists

Music Reissues Weekly: Blank Generation, Just Want To Be Myself

Fresh looks at North American and UK punk

Album: Everything Everything - Mountainhead

The visionary art-rock group return with dystopian, yet creative and well-earned follow-up

classical

Sánchez, National Symphony Orchestra, Martín, National Concert Hall, Dublin review - Spanish panache

Flamenco song and dance matched to orchestral brilliance brings heat to a freezing city

Uproar, Rafferty, Royal Welsh College, Cardiff review - a rare spring in the new music step

Tight planning and high professionalism make for a consistently enjoyable concert

Fung, BBC Philharmonic, Weilerstein, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - clever and comical

First UK performance of new cello concerto by Katherine Balch given with uncanny skill

opera

Manon Lescaut, English Touring Opera review - a nightmare in too many ways

Grotesque staging sabotages Puccini's breakthrough tragedy

Marx in London, Scottish Opera review - the humour of history made manifest

A capital production of an unexpectedly comic opera

Cavalleria Rusticana/Aleko, Opera North review - a new foil for Mascagni

Overlapping casting in two tragedies of infidelity and jealousy

theatre

The Merchant of Venice 1936, Criterion Theatre review - radical revamp with a passionate agenda
Tracy-Ann Oberman turns Shylock into a heroic Jewish anti-fascist
The Big Life, Stratford East review - big-hearted musical brings the joy and honours the past
Revived 20 years on, this Windrush musical lands differently, but is still wonderfully entertaining
Hir, Park Theatre review - incendiary production for Taylor Mac's rich absurdist family drama
Felicity Huffman, heading a superb cast, is a force of nature

dance

First Person: Ten Years On - Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña pays tribute to his friend, the late, great Paco de Lucía

On the 10th anniversary of his death, memories of the prodigious musician who broadened the reach of flamenco into jazz and beyond

Dance for Ukraine Gala, London Palladium review - a second rich helping of international dancers

Ivan Putrov's latest gala was a satisfying mix of stars and young hopefuls

comedy

Bill Bailey: Thoughtifier, Brighton Centre review - offbeat adventures with a whirling, erudite mind

Bailey's fusion of studied musicality and off-the-wall wordplay remains one-of-a-kind

Jessica Fostekew, Soho Theatre review - age is just a number

Landmark birthday prompts some musings

Books

Tom Chatfield: Wise Animals review - on the changing world

A compelling account of how we use technology – and how it uses us

Sheila Heti: Alphabetical Diaries review - an A-Z of inner life

Heti goes far beyond a gimmick in this work of surprising and moving insight

David Harsent: Skin review - our strange surfaces

A fine poet pens a set of resilient expressions and elegant introspections

latest comments

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