sun 01/08/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Stephen Walsh
Sunday, 01 August 2021
There are advantages and disadvantages about opera-in-the-round, and it’s a format that suits some operas better than others. Longborough’s Cunning Little Vixen, staged by Olivia...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 01 August 2021
Anyone in San Francisco on 15 and 16 June 1968 would have had a tough choice if they wanted to see live music. On Saturday the 15th, Big Brother & the Holding Company and The...
David Nice
Saturday, 31 July 2021
Did absence from Albert’s colosseum from early September 2019 until now and a roof-raising finale hoodwink many of us into thinking Dalia Stasevska’s interpretation of Sibelius’s...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 31 July 2021
How lovely it must be to direct a documentary about your favourite musicians and have no one stop you from cramming in everyone who has ever loved them too. The British director...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 31 July 2021
 Riccardo Muti – The Complete Warner Symphonic Recordings (Warner Classics)As with Warner Classics’s recent André Previn box set, begin at the end. Jon Tolansky’s audio...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 31 July 2021
Displacement looms large over every quietly impressive frame of Limbo, writer-director Ben Sharrock's magnetic film about a young Syrian man called Omar (Amir El-Masry) who finds...
Tim Cumming
Saturday, 31 July 2021
The folk world is slowly coming out of its long pandemic slumber, with Sidmouth’s month-long festival starting in the midst...
Enrique Mazzola
Friday, 30 July 2021
It is difficult to know why some operas succeed while others remain unknown. The reasons can be emotional or historical, or...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 30 July 2021
A gorgeous song exists in search of a show to match over at Bagdad Café, the 1987 film that gave the world the...
Stephen Walsh
Thursday, 29 July 2021
King Arthur, as every schoolgirl knows, never actually existed, so it made perfect sense that the Gabrieli Consort’s...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 29 July 2021
Before seeing this play, I decided to eat a steak. It seemed the right culinary equivalent to David Mamet, one of America’s...
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 29 July 2021
Already Dead’s opening cut is titled “Youth on a Spit”. As it unfolds, Willy Mason declares “I feel no pain I’ve already...
Sarah Kent
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is the most harrowing film you are ever likely to watch, but don’t let that put you off...
David Nice
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
Now that the summer opera-house companies have pulled off staged triumphs under the most difficult of circumstances, it’s...
Joe Muggs
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
Scottish singer-songwriter Dorothy Allison pretty much defines cool. Her band One Dove was the first to snare Andrew...
Alexandra Coghlan
Tuesday, 27 July 2021
It’s the trivia question no one ever thought to ask: where was the only Tennessee Williams play premiered outside America...
Izzy Smith
Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Mieko Kawakami sits firmly amongst the Japanese literati for her sharp and pensive depictions of life in contemporary Japan...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 26 July 2021
ITV’s new detective mystery, Professor T, is an adaptation of a Belgian series of the same name, and was filmed in Belgium...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 26 July 2021
Willow Smith has done more during her life than the average 20-year-old. The daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith,...

★★★★★ DOT ALLISON - HEART-SHAPED SCARS The Scottish singer-songwriter finds herself

★★★ BAGDAD CAFE, OLD VIC Stage adaptation needs more narrative drive

★★★ PROFESSOR T, ITV Whimsical tales of boffinly detection

ENRIQUE MAZZOLA The conductor on Verdi's time-travelling 'Luisa Miller', coming to Glyndebourne

★★★★ OLEANNA, ARTS THEATRE Mamet on power and tragedy

★★★★★ THREE CHOIRS FESTIVAL - PURCELL, GABRIEL JACKSON, DURUFLE Choral music loud, soft and chorus-less as the oldest festival returns

★★★★ THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD A harrowing tale vividly told

disc of the day

Album: Katherine Priddy - The Eternal Rocks Beneath

It's time to welcome an original and compelling new voice in British folk music


Professor T, ITV review - whimsical tales of boffinly detection

Ben Miller illustrates the power of mind over matter

Uprising, BBC One review - powerful documentary about the New Cross fire

How a tragic teenage birthday party led to protests calling for police reform


The Sparks Brothers review - giddy celebration of the Mael brothers

Edgar Wright takes a break from directing actors to craft a love letter to pop

Limbo review - quiet but voluble

Story of a Syrian in Scotland packs a gentle wallop

new music

Reissue CDs Weekly: Tim Buckley - Merry-Go-Round at the Carousel

Essential first-ever release of previously unheard live shows from 1968

Album: Katherine Priddy - The Eternal Rocks Beneath

It's time to welcome an original and compelling new voice in British folk music

Album: Willy Mason - Already Dead

The world-weary return of the American singer-songwriter after almost a decade away


First Night of the Proms, Hyde, BBCSO, Stasevska review - levitational ecstasies

Finn floats and ignites a well conceived programme back in the Royal Albert Hall

Classical CDs: Big boxes, Russian ballets, wind concertos and baroque sonatas

Box sets celebrating Italian conductors, plus a pair of contrasting piano discs and 20th century wind music

theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - Purcell, Gabriel Jackson and Duruflé

Choral music loud, soft and chorus-less as the oldest festival returns


The Cunning Little Vixen, Longborough Festival Opera review - life, death and the menopause in the forest

Janáček's strip cartoon engagingly directed and sung, orchestrally problematic

First Person: conductor Enrique Mazzola on Verdi's time-travelling 'Luisa Miller'

Notes from the musician who knows Glyndebourne's last main-season production best

Opera in Song, Opera Holland Park review – world-class singers in a brilliant recital triptych

Baritone Julien Van Mellaerts and pianist Dylan Perez programme a winning mini-festival


Bagdad Café, Old Vic review - sweet but scattershot
Stage adaptation of 1987 film needs more narrative drive
Oleanna, Arts Theatre review - Mamet on power and tragedy
David Mamet’s most controversial play retains its explosive charge
The Two Character Play, Hampstead Theatre review - tender, poetic and piercingly cruel
A timely return for Tennessee Williams' long-neglected play


Beauty Mixed Programme, Royal Ballet review - no dancers? No problem

The company's 90th anniversary celebration triumphs over setbacks

theartsdesk Q&A: choreographer Christopher Scott

The creator of the sizzling dance scenes for 'In The Heights' on how they came about

Solstice, English National Ballet, RFH review - a midsummer treat

A grand summer picnic at the Southbank Centre


Comedy Shindig, Melbourne Hall review - Jason Manford headlines opening night

Summer season of outdoor shows off to a terrific start

Jimmy Carr, Palace Theatre review - rape gags and risible claims

The jokes are relentless, but so is the misogyny

Mark Thomas, Soho Theatre review - new state-of-the-nation show

Post-Brexit Britain under the spotlight


10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami

Assaying 'Heaven' - the Japanese writer on childhood, vulnerability, and violence as a complement to beauty

Samantha Walton: Everybody Needs Beauty review - the well of the world

Can a person be healthy if their environment is not?

Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing review – core writing from England's regions

A rich cross-section of new and northern writing to right the wrongs of regional imbalance

visual arts

Karla Black, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh review - airy free-for-all

A retrospective of the abstract sculptor highlights her idiosyncracies

Ben Nicholson: From the Studio, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester review - domestic bliss

Still life takes the foreground in a long-awaited survey of the painter's career

latest comments

Haven't seen it yet, but surely it can't be 'the...

Thanks in turn for your contribution, Pete. You...

I’m enjoying the album immensely. It’s...

This review is spot on….I heard one song on the...


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