sat 23/01/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Saskia Baron
Saturday, 23 January 2021
This is an odd film, made even odder by a caption near the beginning, which claims it is "inspired by true events" but doesn’t elaborate. Produced in Belarus, it’s a Holocaust...
Mark Kidel
Saturday, 23 January 2021
Bicep's second album fufills the promise of the first, released in 2017 to wide acclaim. Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar, friends since childhood from the city of Belfast,...
Mark Kidel
Friday, 22 January 2021
Jasmila Žbanić’s latest film, once again about the people of her native Bosnia and Herzegovina, is hardly an easy watch. Focusing on Aida, a passionate and highly capable...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 22 January 2021
It has taken three years for the second series of Back to reach our screens (a combination of the creator being busy, a star being unwell and Covid), but it was worth the wait....
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 22 January 2021
Sad to report, this fourth series of Call My Agent! (Netflix) will be the final outing for this caustically addictive saga of actors and their agents. The show’s unique trademark...
Guy Oddy
Friday, 22 January 2021
Norway’s Wardruna have proved to be an unlikely international musical success, both within Scandinavia and further afield, since releasing their 2009 debut album Runalijod – Gap...
Sophia Rahman
Thursday, 21 January 2021
“Fuck business,” Boris Johnson is alleged to have said while Foreign Secretary. (He didn’t deny it). We have seen enough...
Owen Richards
Thursday, 21 January 2021
Romcoms. We all know the tried and tested formula: immature guy, uptight girl, they meet, they like each other, hate each...
Nick Hasted
Thursday, 21 January 2021
Becoming a has-been is Eminem’s main raw material now, the rocket-fuel for his rhetorical flights. He was a folk-devil 20...
Tom Baily
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
It is probable that no other document gets closer to the direct experience of frontline workers and victims of Covid-19 than...
Saskia Baron
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
What a television programme gets called is not always the choice of the people making it, but it certainly is the choice of...
India Lewis
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
In Asylum Road, Olivia Sudjic's third book, everything is purposeful, each loaded gun introduced just waiting to go off...
Katie Colombus
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
In such a somnolent time We Come From The Sun is an awakening – the immediacy and presence of poetry urging you to listen,...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 19 January 2021
The oeuvre of M Night Shyalaman has tended to veer between unsettling creepiness and sometimes hilarious misfires, but,...
Daniel Lewis
Tuesday, 19 January 2021
One of the finer episodes in Raven Leilani’s startling debut (which contains an embarrassment of fine episodes) comes about...
Tom Birchenough
Tuesday, 19 January 2021
Catalan director Albert Serra’s interest in late 18th century France is well established – his previous film was The Death...
Miranda Heggie
Monday, 18 January 2021
Another year, another lockdown. Though I have little doubt this was not the way most us of hoped to start 2021, we can at...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 18 January 2021
Or, What The Durrells Did Next. Writer Simon Nye, writer/director Roger Goldby and star Keeley Hawes are all veterans of ITV...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 18 January 2021
The tears of a clown is a familiar enough metaphor – a cliché, perhaps – and as an image it adorns the sleeve of the latest...
 

★★★★ QUO VADIS, AIDA? A Bosnian woman confronts genocide

★★★★ CALL MY AGENT!, SERIES 4, NETFLIX Daggers drawn in caustic actors-and-agents drama

'THE TOTAL CONFUSION ABOUT POST-BREXIT RULES ADDS TO THE DISTRESS' 10 Classical musicians speak out about EU touring meltdown

★★★ WADRUNA - KVITRAVN Meditative shamen rather than a Viking raiding party

★★★★ BACK, CHANNEL 4 Return of the sibling-rivalry comedy with Mitchell and Webb

★★★★ BABY DONE Funny, sincere, charming Kiwi comedy about unexpected pregnancy

★★★★★ RAVEN LEILANI: LUSTER Portrait of the artist as a black millennial woman

★★★★ OLIVIA SUDJIC: ASYLUM ROAD Trauma, barely suppressed

★★ EMINEM - MUSIC TO BE MURDERED BY SIDE B Diminishing returns in Slim's Psycho II

disc of the day

Album: Bicep - Isles

Dance music to raise lockdown spirits

tv

Call My Agent!, Series 4, Netflix review - the final bow for the Parisian showbiz saga?

It's daggers drawn in the caustic actors-and-agents drama

Silenced: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain, BBC Two review - documentary fails to deliver

Worthy programme flawed by the omission of the learning-disabled

Servant, Apple TV+ review - shocks, shivers and black humour in missing-baby saga

M Night Shyalaman's drama is fascinating and confounding

film

Persian Lessons review - confusing Holocaust drama

Ukrainian film doesn't add much to the genre

Quo Vadis, Aida review - a Bosnian woman confronts genocide

The 1995 massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica told with chilling intimacy

Baby Done review - romcom done right

Funny, sincere and completely charming Kiwi comedy about unexpected pregnancy

new music

Album: Bicep - Isles

Dance music to raise lockdown spirits

Album: Wardruna - Kvitravn

Einar Selvik’s Norsemen prove to be meditative shamen rather than a Viking raiding party

Album: Eminem - Music To Be Murdered By Side B

Diminishing returns in Slim's Psycho II

classical

'The total confusion about post-Brexit rules adds to the distress': classical musicians speak out

Ten players and administrators on the fallout in government restrictions to EU touring

Apartment House, Wigmore Hall online review - introspective music for isolated times

Serene lockdown listening in three concerts dedicated to Morton Feldman

Classical CDs: Janáček, Myaskovsky, Prokofiev, John Wilson

An arboreal opera, two Soviet symphonies and some rarely heard English string music

opera

Best of 2020: Opera

With no touching from mid-March onwards, this art-form was hard hit - but ingenuity ruled

Royal Opera Christmas Concert online review – pajama party around the Nutcracker tree

Vivacious opera and cheesy carols under the lively baton of Mark Wigglesworth

theatre

Peter Pan: The Audio Adventure review - the perfect bedtime story
Sharon D Clarke and Olivia Colman sparkle in delightful radio play in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital
Best of 2020: Theatre
Out of pandemic-driven chaos and confusion came moments of clarity - and "Blindness"

dance

Best of 2020: Dance

In a perilous year, bright ideas and perseverance sometimes prevailed

The Nutcracker: an end-of-year obituary

It's been a rough ride for the seasonal cash cow. Here's how ballet companies coped

The Seven Deadly Sins, Opera North online review - viscerally thrilling

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's indictment of capitalism in a vibrant new production

comedy

Comedy podcasts round-up 2: from home and abroad

Lively chat, masterful spoofing and behind-the-scenes fun

Best of 2020: Comedy

Outdoor venues and podcasts to the rescue

Books

Olivia Sudjic: Asylum Road review - trauma, barely suppressed

A timely and absorbing reminder of the proximity of violence

Raven Leilani: Luster - portrait of the artist as a black millennial woman

Diamond-cut debut catches every glint of our modern malaise

Mark Fisher: Postcapitalist Desire - The Final Lectures review - imagining the alternative

An eye-opening exploration of the relationship between capitalism and desire

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