wed 27/03/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Florence Hallett
Wednesday, 27 March 2019
Soon after his death, Van Gogh’s reputation as a tragic genius was secured. Little has changed in the meantime, and he has continued to be understood as fatally unbalanced, ruled...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Let me be clear. The agonising process of the UK’s departure, or not, from the EU will be an infinite field of academic study over the decades to come. Road to Brexit (BBC Two)...
Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Contemporary British theatre loves time travel — and not just to the past. It also enjoys imagining the future, especially the bad stuff ahead. So Ella Road's debut play, The...
Richard Bratby
Tuesday, 26 March 2019
A crash, a scurry, a long, lilting serenade – the overture to Rossini’s Elizabeth I sounds oddly familiar. Not to worry. English Touring Opera has anticipated our confusion. “You...
Heather Neill
Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Obstetrician Dr Mary Barton had the best of intentions. As a missionary in India she had observed the poor treatment of childless women and, back home in England, she took...
Peter Quantrill
Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Mozart in E flat (the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro) and in G (the K.453 Piano Concerto), and Schubert in C – the “Great” C major Symphony, no less – ushered spring into the...
Gavin Dixon
Monday, 25 March 2019
No successor has yet been named to Vladimir Jurowski as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic, so it is interesting...
Asya Draganova
Monday, 25 March 2019
The stereotypical image of heavy metal music suggests it exists in isolation from other musical styles. And while it is true...
Tim Cornwell
Monday, 25 March 2019
I am deeply jealous of Miles Jupp's dressing gown in The Life I Lead, the solo play at the Park Theatre. It's a silky-grey...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 25 March 2019
 ITV has an enviable knack for creating populist historical costume dramas which never seem to wear out, despite a...
Guy Oddy
Monday, 25 March 2019
Balsall Heath’s Castle & Falcon is one of the newer live music venues in Birmingham, a city that finally seems to be...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 25 March 2019
Guy Clark is among the favourite songwriters of Bob Dylan, a Grammy-winning giant of the so-called outlaw country music...
Boyd Tonkin
Sunday, 24 March 2019
Around the works canteen, a dozen huge wall-paintings depict, in bright cheerful colours spread across radically stylised...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 24 March 2019
Until now, Rema-Rema’s only release was a 12-inch EP released in August 1980. It had hit shops after the band fell apart at...
Guy Oddy
Sunday, 24 March 2019
As Nick Cave has edged ever further towards mainstream acceptance with each of his recent Bad Seeds’ albums, so he has...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 23 March 2019
London's impromptu mini-season devoted to the work of Athol Fugard picks up real steam with Blood Knot, Matthew Xia's...
Bernard Hughes
Saturday, 23 March 2019
London performances of Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir are like Meaningful Votes: you wait a long time for one, then...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 23 March 2019
 Martinů: The Complete Music for Violin and Orchestra Bohuslav Matoušek (violin), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 23 March 2019
Edwyn Collins is in a good mood. Perhaps it’s his 2014 move back to his native Scotland where he now lives and records on...

★★★★ VICTORIA, SERIES 3 ITV Jenna Coleman rises to the occasion as violent change rocks the monarchy

★★★ BLOOD KNOT, ORANGE TREE THEATRE Defining apartheid-era drama delivers afresh

★★★ SOLTANI, LPO, GARDNER, RFH  Discipline and dynamism in Elgar and Mahler

★★★★ DOWNSTATE, NATIONAL THEATRE Bruce Norris's ever-provocative play puts people first, labels second

CLASSICAL CDS WEEKLY Martinů on violin, a Scottish Peter and the Wolf and an Arthur Sullivan oratorio

★★★★ MY BABY, CASTLE & FALCON, BIRMINGHAM A riotous nightof funk, rock and rave

disc of the day

CD: Steve Earle & The Dukes - Guy

Steve Earle and friends head to Nashville for a tribute to the late Guy Clark

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Road to Brexit, BBC Two review - a rotten historian for a rotten parliament

Matt Berry's delusional mash-up of history reflects the state of the nation

Victoria, Series 3, ITV review - can Her Maj cope with the Age of Revolution?

Jenna Coleman rises to the occasion as violent change rocks the monarchy

Pose, BBC Two review - transgender goes mainstream

And the category is: master of gloss Ryan Murphy brings on the world of 1980s drag balls


The Best Films Out Now

theartsdesk recommends the top movies of the moment

Minding the Gap review – profound musings on life

Don’t be deceived, this skateboarding documentary is a heartbreaking classic

DVD/Blu-Ray: La Vérité

Henri-Georges Clouzot's powerful 1960 courtroom drama attacks French bourgeois morality

new music

World Metal Congress, Rich Mix, London review - celebration and critique of a global phenomenon

International metalheads and academics get together in Shoreditch to flash the devil’s horns

CD: Steve Earle & The Dukes - Guy

Steve Earle and friends head to Nashville for a tribute to the late Guy Clark


Biss, Philharmonia, Boyd, RFH review – compulsive life-force

Polished Mozart complements late Schubert living in the moment

Soltani, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – disciplined and dynamic accounts

Elegant Elgar, keenly focussed but sometimes lacking nuance

Vasari Singers, Backhouse, St Bride’s Fleet Street review - rarely heard choral classic soars

Schnittke’s challenging Concerto for Choir given a committed reading


Elizabeth I/Macbeth, English Touring Opera review - elegance and eeriness

Heroism and horror in a pair of impressive ensemble performances

La forza del destino, Royal Opera review - generous voices, dramatic voids

Generalised star turns from Kaufmann and Netrebko defuse Pappano's musical drama

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Birmingham Opera Company review - searing music-theatre for all

Bloodied brides and rat-heads run amok in visceral ballroom Shostakovich


The Phlebotomist, Hampstead Theatre review - thought-provoking dystopian thriller
Resonant new play about genetics is well-written and excitingly staged
Mary's Babies, Jermyn Street Theatre review - rollercoaster investigation of early fertility treatment
Two-hander provides multifarious acting opportunities but insufficient focus
The Life I Lead, Park Theatre review - pleasant enough but lacks bite
Solo play looks back blandly at the celebrated screen dad in 'Mary Poppins'


Bon Voyage, Bob, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells review - interminable ennui

At three and a half wearisome hours, this feels like a marathon

The Rite of Spring/Gianni Schicchi, Opera North review - unlikely but musically satisfying pairing

Odd-couple double bill of Stravinsky and Puccini with plenty to delight ear and eye


The Lego Movie 2 Videogame review - everything is not awesome

Few fresh ideas means this movie adaptation treads the same old ground

Anthem review - singing praises? More like a cautious nod

A rocky start for a new franchise that offers potential and problems in equal measure

Crackdown 3 review - spectacular super-powered action that was great fun many years ago

Nearly a decade has passed since the last incarnation but little has changed in this stagnant shooter

visual arts

The Best Exhibitions in London

The capital's best exhibitions now

An encounter with John Richardson, Picasso's biographer who has died at 95

Picasso's definitive biographer recalls the artist he knew

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