fri 27/11/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Bernard Hughes
Friday, 27 November 2020
After a brief interlude of concerts with a live audience, we are back to streamed events from empty halls (though many venues in London will be opening up again from next Thursday...
Joseph Walsh
Friday, 27 November 2020
You can practically smell the fumes coming off Thomas Vinterberg’s latest drama Another Round, known in Denmark simply as "Druk". Co-written with Tobias Lindholm, the story is...
Joe Muggs
Friday, 27 November 2020
Miley Cyrus has always been, broadly, A Good Thing. A Top Pop Star. A sassy, funny, puritan-scaring, omnisexual chaos monkey at the heart of pop culture, doing pretty much...
David Nice
Thursday, 26 November 2020
Colette’s sharply fantastical libretto for Ravel’s second one-act opera imagines wrongs exercised upon objects and animals by a naughty child revisited by the victims upon the...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 26 November 2020
Many have struggled to bring a new slant to the horror genre, but writer-director Brandon Cronenberg has managed it with Possessor, his second full-length feature. Being the son...
Barney Harsent
Thursday, 26 November 2020
Gary Barlow’s Music Played By Humans is, in all but name, a Christmas album. Mixing big-band jazz, Latin and pop, it’s an assortment box of bubbly, broad-based business bangers...
Graham Fuller
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
Published in June 2016, J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy became a best-seller around the time of that November’s...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
During the first lockdown in March, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong took the time to reflect “on the things that matter...
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
The infamous border wall. Prolonged detention. Children in cages. Even as Biden's election promises a sea change in Trump's...
Graham Fuller
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
Stylistically, Waxworks (1924) was the apogee of German Expressionist cinema in that it was the last pure distillation of...
Jenny Gilbert
Monday, 23 November 2020
Theatres are currently banned from moving scenery and props about on stage and you might expect this to present a major...
David Nice
Monday, 23 November 2020
“After black and gloomy night, the sun shines all the brighter,” sings hero Ariodante after a life-threatening bout of...
Chen Reiss
Monday, 23 November 2020
I am not the first to say this, and I won’t be the last, but what a strange year 2020 has become! I am learning afresh what...
Peter Quinn
Monday, 23 November 2020
EDM bangers? Check. Melancholic ballads? Why certainly. Great vocal arrangements which switch from rap to angelic falsetto...
Tim Cumming
Sunday, 22 November 2020
There have been Felabrations, stage musicals, bands featuring his sons Seun and Femi that have continued the legacy. There...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 22 November 2020
 “During 1975, 1976 and the first half of 1977 punk was the future but, after the highpoint of ‘God Save the Queen’,...
Saskia Baron
Sunday, 22 November 2020
Director Claudia Weill’s landmark feature debut benefits from Criterion’s high quality re-issue, which was made possible...
David Nice
Saturday, 21 November 2020
It was Mahler as conductor who made the famous declaration that “Tradition ist Schlamperei” (sloppiness), or something along...
Paul Bullock
Saturday, 21 November 2020
Producing music programmes for TV with live performance during the past few months has not been without its challenges, but...

★★★ HILLBILLY ELEGY Ron Howard's melodrama softens the message of a Trump-era memoir

★★★★ POSSESSOR Startling vision of corporate assassination from director Brandon Cronenberg

★★★★ L'ENFANT ET LES SORTILEGES, VOPERA, LPO, REYNOLDS Ravel and Colette reimagined

★★ BILLIE JOE ARMSTRONG - NO FUN MONDAYS Green Day singer offers up collection of lockdown covers

★★★★ THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS, OPERA NORTH Viscerally thrilling

EXTRACT: 'ON LONELINESS' BY FATIMAH ASGHAR One of 26 powerful essays on being made to feel other in today's America 

disc of the day

Album: Miley Cyrus - Plastic Hearts

Miley's ever-shifting sound alights on a Big Eighties aesthetic


Arena - Fela Kuti: Father of Afrobeat, BBC Two review - the music that never dies

Intimate and in-depth portrait of West Africa's great cultural icon

The Good Lord Bird, Sky Atlantic review - picaresque account of the myth of John Brown

Ethan Hawke leads an outlandish ride through American history

Offended by Irvine Welsh, Sky Arts review - are we seeing the end of free speech?

'Trainspotting' author examines the insidious march of cancel culture


Another Round review – delight and despair

Mads Mikkelsen stars in Thomas Vinterberg’s alcohol-fumed tragicomedy

Possessor review - death by virtual reality

Startling vision of corporate assassination from director Brandon Cronenberg

Hillbilly Elegy review - misery in the heartland

Ron Howard's melodrama softens the message of a Trump-era memoir

new music

Album: Miley Cyrus - Plastic Hearts

Miley's ever-shifting sound alights on a Big Eighties aesthetic

Album: Gary Barlow - Music Played By Humans

The Take That frontman's latest is a tiresome cue-call for spontaneous fun

Album: Billie Joe Armstrong - No Fun Mondays

The Green Day singer offers up his collection of lockdown cover versions


Clayton, Frank-Gemmill, SCO, Kuusisto online review – small but beautifully formed

Music of style and substance presented in an enticing online package

Má Vlast, Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov online review – finest silk for Velvet Revolution anniversary concert

Smetana's national epic comes up fresh and meaningful in a miraculous online happening

Classical CDs Weekly: Osvaldo Golijov, Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams

A contemporary song cycle, romantic cello sonatas and an iconic 'masque for dancing'


L'enfant et les sortilèges, VOPERA, LPO, Reynolds online – Ravel and Colette reimagined

Through the laptop screen and what the child found there, in a brilliant take on a classic

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

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

Ariodante, Royal Opera online review – stylish, but confined

Accomplished ensemble tries its best to cross the footlights in livestream-only Handel


15 Heroines, Jermyn Street Theatre online review - putting the women back into Greek myth
Scorching adaptation of Ovid is a welcome theatrical respite from lockdown
Death of England: Delroy, National Theatre review - a furious if fleetingly seen sequel
Opening and closing night were the same for vital solo show
Little Wars, Union Theatre online review - richly emotional, but formulaic
Lillian Hellman meets a handful of other female greats in an imaginary dinner party


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

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

The Royal Ballet: Live, Within the Golden Hour review - stunning, joyous dance

Setback? What setback? Restrictions seem to push this company to ever greater things

Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - onward and upward

Carlos Acosta sets out his stall as artistic director of BRB


Extract: 'On Loneliness' by Fatimah Asghar, from 'The Good Immigrant USA'

One of 26 powerful essays on being made to feel other in today's America

Nicole Krauss: To Be a Man review - first short-story collection from the award-winning novelist

Love, complicity, the burden of the past: ten stories with a wide-ranging focus

Andrey Kurkov: Grey Bees review - light Ukrainian odyssey, with bite

Journey of a beekeeper lays bare the simultaneous severity and stupidity of conflict

visual arts

Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, Barbican Art Gallery review - mould-breaker, ground-shaker

A crash course in the life and times of an iconoclast and muse

Sin, National Gallery review - great subject, modest show

A small gathering can't do justice to this fabulous topic

latest comments

Yikes. I get that you don't like the synth-based...

One of the best rock interviews I've read in some...

Ronnie's is being screened on BBC Four...

Ugh. She's unbearable. Please, no.


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