sat 15/12/2018

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

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 known as one half of DJ-producer outfit 2 Bears. It’s a...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 14 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...
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 absent from our stages for about a decade. The last...
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 idiosyncratic equivalent to the original Engelbert...
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 that is back in our midst once more, comes when the...
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 hey, that’s cool, because she’s made it into the Good...
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...
Joe Muggs
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III – Aloe Blacc – is one shrewd dude. He's extremely adept at reaching out beyond the confines of...
Gavin Dixon
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Janáček has been an abiding passion for Thomas Adès. As both composer and performer, Adès revels in the whimsical and the...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
It was when he was on holiday at his agreeable estate in the Algarve in August 2014 that Cliff Richard got a phone call...
Joseph Walsh
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
After Sam Raimi’s original mixed-bag trilogy, Andrew Garfield’s all too familiar outing as the webslinger, and last year’s...
Thomas H Green
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
It’s the season of giving so theartsdesk on Vinyl feels compelled to draw your attention to Unicef’s Blue Vinyl campaign....

★★★★★ MRS WILSON FINALE, BBC ONE Stranger than fiction

★★★★ ALADDIN, HACKNEY EMPIRE Susie McKenna creates fast-paced fun in a busy mix

★★ THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, BARBICAN The RSC makes its laboured way to Essex

★★★★ LIZZIE Historic axe-killer mystery reworked as feminist fable

ALBUMS OF 2018: ERLAND GOOPER'S SOLAN GOOSE Taking a flight into the ambient

disc of the day

Albums of the Year 2018: Farai - Rebirth

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

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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

Sir Cliff Richard: 60 Years in Public and in Private, ITV review - bachelor boy bounces back

How the pop veteran weathered career-threatening accusations


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

The Old Man & the Gun review - sundown on Sundance

Robert Redford's swansong is a fitting tribute to a movie legend

new music

Albums of the Year 2018: Farai - Rebirth

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

theartsdesk on Vinyl 46: Christmas 2018 Special with Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, The Rolling Stones, Lulu and more

The season's best with the most extensive monthly record reviews of all

Albums of the Year 2018: Sarah Gillespie - Wishbones

It was a close thing, but in the end heart and gut beat head and hips


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

theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

Rarities in a festival featuring an entire operatic canon, plus heartfelt celebrations


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 Chistianity 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


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

Carlos Acosta: A Celebration, Royal Albert Hall

Candid images of retired ballet legend on stage


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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