fri 20/09/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Rachel Halliburton
Friday, 20 September 2019
The Permanent Way first roared its way into the national consciousness in 2003 when, after a triumphant opening in York, it toured the UK before transferring to the National...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 20 September 2019
David Cameron has been a recluse since the fateful days of June 2016 when the referendum on EU membership didn’t go quite the way he’d hoped. He’s probably been living through a...
Tom Birchenough
Friday, 20 September 2019
Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s “refugee musical” – now there’s a phrase you don’t expect to write – is a treat. Harking back to the early 20th century pogroms of Eastern...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 20 September 2019
Count Arthur Strong, the character created by Steve Delaney, started life in the late 1990s and  became a cult figure at the Edinburgh Fringe over several years. Radio shows...
Nick Hasted
Friday, 20 September 2019
The cancer weepie is knocked off its tear-jerking axis by Lulu Wang’s sly and heartfelt autobiographical tale. Drawing on the first-generation immigrant, internal culture-clash...
Nick Hasted
Friday, 20 September 2019
Keane were always the best of that post-millennium Coldplay crowd. Tim Rice-Oxley showed adult craft in his lyrics and keyboard textures on their 5 million-selling debut, Hopes...
Demetrios Matheou
Thursday, 19 September 2019
There have been a number of excellent science fiction films of late – Gravity, The Martian, Annihilation...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 19 September 2019
Connoisseurs of gnarly Boston-based crime sagas like The Town, The Departed and Black Mass will quickly find themselves at...
Miranda Heggie
Thursday, 19 September 2019
Celebrating the friendship between the two great 20th-century composers, the Britten-Shostakovich Festival Orchestra...
Russ Coffey
Thursday, 19 September 2019
Liam Gallagher's 2017 solo debut, As You Were, took everybody by surprise. Not only did it show Gallagher Jnr to be still...
Jessica Duchen
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Goethe’s Die Leiden des junges Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther) was a vital spark in the ignition of the German...
Demetrios Matheou
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Three women decide to take over their husbands’ criminal activities, proving more than a match for the men who dominate the...
Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
The work isn't finished on Big, if this stage musical of the beloved 1988 Tom Hanks film is ever to, um, make it big. A...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
This new legal comedy is based on a well-received book by Alex McBride, but the transition from print to the BBC Two screen...
Tom Birchenough
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Alexander Zeldin continues his devastating analysis of modern Britain in this culminating play of a (very loose)...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
If you’re a farmer who works round the clock to feed sheep, milk cows and so forth, how on earth do you make time to find a...
Thomas H Green
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Renée Zellweger already has strong musical cinema form, Her role as Roxie Hart in Chicago garnered her second Oscar...
Gavin Dixon
Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Kasper Holten left a mixed bag of productions behind at Royal Opera when he left in 2017, but the best of them - though not...
Veronica Lee
Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Rob Brydon, Lee Mack and David Mitchell are the host and team captains respectively of Would I Lie to You?, the long-running...

★★★ BIG THE MUSICAL, DOMINION THEATRE Sweet if wildly overstretched

★★★ THE KITCHEN More gangsters' molls taking over the reins

THE BEST MUSICALS IN LONDON Everybody's talking about these top shows

★★★★ BBC RADIO 2 LIVE IN HYDE PARK Pet Shop Boys, Westlife and Status Quo deliver the hits

★★ DEFENDING THE GUILTY, BBC TWO New legal comedy struggles to get off the ground

★★★★ WERTHER, ROYAL OPERA Shadows and sunsets from an unreconstructed romantic

FAITH, HOPE & CHARITY, NATIONAL THEATRE Alexander Zeldin's bleak study of society on the edge

disc of the day

CD: Keane - Cause And Effect

Tim Rice-Oxley's break-up reunites his band with songcraft and synth-pop

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The Cameron Years, BBC One review - quite interesting but a bit boring

The former Prime Minister finally opens up about the EU referendum

City on a Hill, Sky Atlantic review - power, corruption and larceny in 1990s Boston

The cast is strong, the action is brisk and the politics are poisonous


The Farewell review - warmly comic culture-clash

Deathbed deceit causes Chinese-American confusion in a sly memoir

Ad Astra review – out of this world

Brad Pitt is the astronaut whose mission is to save the solar system – from his dad

The Kitchen review – more gangsters' molls taking over the reins

Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elizabeth Moss star in female-led crime thriller

new music

CD: Keane - Cause And Effect

Tim Rice-Oxley's break-up reunites his band with songcraft and synth-pop

CD: Liam Gallagher - Why Me? Why Not.

The songs may remain the same, but the delivery has a little more charm

CD: Renée Zellweger - Judy

The film star does a fine job interpreting a host of Garland classics


Beethoven Festival Weekend, Wigmore Hall review 1 - sparkle and charisma versus creative overkill

A peerless opening recital is followed by some curatorial oddities

Beethoven Festival Weekend, Wigmore Hall review 2 - total mastery in tone and depth

Perfect sonorities from ensembles, profundity from the peerless Elisabeth Leonskaja


Werther, Royal Opera review - shadows and sunsets from an unreconstructed romantic

Massenet's opera shines bright, notwithstanding a slightly clunky hero

Don Giovanni, Royal Opera review - laid-back Lothario

Revival cast variable, but Erwin Schrott delivers as the would-be seducer


Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, Wilton's Music Hall review - klezmer revue is moving and inventive
An original piece of theatre-making finds joyous exuberance, as well as sorrow, in the immigrant experience
Big the Musical - sweet if wildly overstretched
Onetime Broadway flop has more charm in London but still needs work


Alvin Ailey, Programme C review - black, beautiful, brilliant

America's No.1 rounds off its triumphant visit with a diddly-doo-wop

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells review - Still more Revelations

America's favourite dance ticket shows us how it's done

Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet, Sadler's Wells review - heart-stopping drama

The plot isn't perfect, but this bad romance still packs a punch


Romesh Ranganathan, Brighton Dome review - transgressive, edgy and very likeable

The TV favourite hits the ground running at the start of his Cynic's Mixtape tour


Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

Challenge The Authority in this 'Mad Max on mushrooms' renegade romp

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to Celebrate Brighton Festival!

An eclectic line-up spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, comedy, literature and spoken word could be yours with boutique hotel and exquisite meals included

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

Chainsawing the brain-eaters as you battle against the tide of the undead

visual arts

Foragers of the Foreshore - London's mudlarks on show

The director of Totally Thames introduces this year's festival, including an exhibition of mudlarks and their finds

Artists in Amsterdam, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - a slight but evocative sketch

Amsterdam was Europe's economic hub in the 17th century, a fact reflected in its art

Edinburgh Festival 2019 reviews: Below the Blanket / Samson Young: Real Music

Two Edinburgh shows meld music, sound and visual art to beguiling effect

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