mon 20/09/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Veronica Lee
Monday, 20 September 2021
Anuvab Pal may be a new name to some UK audiences (although many will know him from the global satirical podcast The Bugle), but he is well known in his native India. And it is...
Guy Oddy
Monday, 20 September 2021
Public Service Broadcasting’s latest addition in their on-going string of concept albums could reasonably be described as an impressionistic musical portrait of Weimar-era Berlin...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 20 September 2021
As the summer folds away on itself, theartsdesk on Vinyl returns. Beset by backlogs at pressing plants and delayed by COVID, it's finally here, jammed to the gunwales with...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 19 September 2021
“Reaffirmation” is the sound of a San Francisco ballroom in 1968. The 12-minute long track opens mysteriously with what might be a Mellotron on the flute setting. A bubbling bass...
Sarah Kent
Saturday, 18 September 2021
Mark Cousins, the multi-award winning director of this strange film, is lying in bed watching Ray Charles speaking on the Dick Cavett Show in 1972. The singer went blind in...
Saturday, 18 September 2021
They must have been especially overjoyed to be back in front of (or with back to the greater part of) a live audience. But inspiring musicians is what conductors are there to do...
Markie Robson-Scott
Saturday, 18 September 2021
Rose (Ann Skelly; The Nevers) is adopted. The name on her birth certificate is Julie and the possibility of a different...
Alexandra Coghlan
Saturday, 18 September 2021
Rarely has the revolving door of opera twirled so efficiently. David McVicar’s venerable production of Rigoletto may have...
Katie Colombus
Saturday, 18 September 2021
For those amongst you who listened obsessively to the soundtrack of Call Me By Your Name, the idea of an album by cult...
Jenny Gilbert
Friday, 17 September 2021
If I had to sum up in a single impression the work I’ve seen of Brighton-based, Israeli-born choreographer Hofesh Shechter (...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 17 September 2021
Despite an alluring cast which includes Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd and Kevin Kline, The Starling is doomed to be...
Florence Hallett
Friday, 17 September 2021
When you stand in front of Helen Frankenthaler’s Freefall, 1993, in your mind you drop into its gorgeous, blue abyss. It is...
Joe Muggs
Friday, 17 September 2021
Lil Nas X is good at being a pop star. Like, what could pop culture need more than a young, flamboyant, witty gay rapper...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 16 September 2021
God is a tricky one. Or should that be One? And definitely not a He. So when she says take revenge, then vengeance is...
Joseph Walsh
Thursday, 16 September 2021
On its surface, a biopic of a late-Victorian artist starring big British talents including Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrea...
Guy Oddy
Thursday, 16 September 2021
Incredibly it’s now 40 years since the release of Duran Duran’s debut album. To mark this event, the remaining members of...
David Nice
Thursday, 16 September 2021
What a way for the Multi-Story Orchestra, conductor Christopher Stark and composer Kate Whitley to celebrate 10 years of...
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 16 September 2021
Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind of Journey instantly sets its controls for an excursion into the interstellar void...
Tim Cumming
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
This was, said bassist Michael Janisch, his first gig since January last year, and his crack group’s Monday evening set,...



★★★★ IS GOD IS, ROYAL COURT A thrillingly satirical mash up 

★★★ LIL NAS X - MONTERO Georgia-born star brings consistency to an extraordinary array of sound

★★★ THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN Visually arresting biopic 

★★★★ DURAN DURAN, O2 INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM An intimate gig for the local megastars

★★★★ OUR FUTURE IN YOUR HANDS, PECKHAM SCHOOL CHOIRS, MULTI-STORY ORCHESTRA Kate Whitley's latest work involving local schoolchildren is a big symphonic eco-plea

★★★ DOUBLE MURDER, HOFESH SHECHTER COMPANY, SADLER'S WELLS A well-intentioned but misjudged double bill

disc of the day

Album: Public Service Broadcasting - Bright Magic

Willgoose and Wrigglesworth celebrate Berlin


Schumacher, Netflix review - authorised version of the life of an F1 legend

Portrait of German race ace doesn't dig deep enough

The North Water, BBC Two review - a terrible voyage into the great beyond

Director Andrew Haigh brings cinematic heft to this bloody whaling odyssey

The Blood Pact, All 4 review - a (tax) inspector falls

Themes and characters entwine in the third series' masterly denouement


The Story of Looking review – bedside musings on how and what we see

A lifetime of looking recalled in words and pictures

Rose Plays Julie review - a sombre story of rape, adoption and a search for identity

In Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor's third feature, revenge is served very cold

The Starling, Netflix review - a slender idea unsatisfyingly executed

Alluring cast can't save Theodore Melfi's trite melodrama

new music

Reissue CDs Weekly: Help Yourself - Passing Through, The Complete Studio Recordings

Box-set tribute to the idiosyncratic Seventies British band

Album: Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine - A Beginner's Mind

An intriguing album of music inspired by film

Album: Lil Nas X - Montero

For better or worse, the Georgia-born star brings consistency to an extraordinary array of sound


Podium odes to joy: conductors at the 2021 BBC Proms

Comsummate photographer Chris Christodoulou's annual gallery yields more treasures

Our Future in Your Hands, Peckham School Choirs, Multi-Story Orchestra, Stark, Bold Tendencies review - blazing community epic

Kate Whitley's latest work involving local schoolchildren is a big symphonic eco-plea

Last Night of the Proms, BBC review - a feast of unusual morsels in a traditional wrapper

15 composers and more in the latest take on a worldwide phenomenon


The Magic Flute, Royal Opera review - all but a guarantee of a great night out

Opera's classiest pantomime looks better than ever in this handsome revival

Rigoletto, Royal Opera review - routine clouds the best in this season opener

Orchestra and chorus pass with flying colours, but tradition weighs heavy elsewhere

Summer seasons in a Covid world: five opera company movers and shakers reflect

The admins are the heroes now: how festivals surmounted all obstacles


Is God Is, Royal Court review – blister, flare and burn, baby, burn
Aleshea Harris’s award-winning play is a thrillingly satirical mash up
Indecent, Menier Chocolate Factory review - cabaret-style depiction of a rapidly changing world
An intriguing if flawed evening, boosted by ebullient ensemble work
First Person: theatre director Christopher Haydon on how the Rose Theatre, Kingston, can bloom anew
The former artistic director of the Gate Theatre moves his theatrical vision further west


Hofesh Shechter Company, Double Murder, Sadler's Wells review - a well-intentioned but misjudged double bill

After the killing spree, a warm group hug. How to send an audience home feeling numb

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


Claire-Louise Bennett: Checkout 19 review - coming to life

A genre-bending novel about reading, living, writing and returning

Christopher Clark: Prisoners of Time review - from Kaiser Bill to Dominic Cummings

A leading historian finds the past busily at work in the present

Thora Hjörleifsdóttir: Magma review - love burns in debut novel from Iceland

A raw examination of the destructiveness of a toxic relationship


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