fri 01/03/2024

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Gary Naylor
Friday, 01 March 2024
Transgression was so deliciously enticing. Back in the 80s when I saw Les Liaisons Dangereuses in the West End on three occasions, life was simpler - or so us straight white men...
Ellie Roberts
Friday, 01 March 2024
Kaiser Chiefs’ appropriately named Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album is a collection of ten easy listening, but not particularly imaginative, tracks. That said, with nine Top 40...
Boyd Tonkin
Thursday, 29 February 2024
Trials by fire and water pale in comparison with trials by Arts Council England. English National Opera’s long torment has lately involved redundancy notices issued mid-...
Helen Hawkins
Thursday, 29 February 2024
Keeley Hawes onstage is something to look forward to, so rare are her appearances there. In Lucy Kirkwood’s new play, The Human Body, we are given a double treat: Hawes, plus her...
James Saynor
Thursday, 29 February 2024
The French military outpost on Madagascar is a “family cocoon, full of love and benevolence”, according to a character in this fictional portrait of the country in the early 1970s...
Gary Naylor
Thursday, 29 February 2024
If Mark Twain thought that a German joke was no laughing matter, what would he make of a German comedy? That quote came to mind more than once during Patrick Marber’s...
Guy Oddy
Thursday, 29 February 2024
Those who were around to witness the release of the Stone Roses’ Second Coming album will no doubt remember how a record-...
Helen Hawkins
Wednesday, 28 February 2024
Hot on the heels of Brigid Larmour’s updating of The Merchant of Venice to the East End in 1936, a spirited new musical...
Bernard Hughes
Wednesday, 28 February 2024
I have never seen the Wigmore Hall stage more crammed with instruments than for this Colin Currie Quartet concert. Sadly the...
Veronica Lee
Wednesday, 28 February 2024
In the middle of another age of austerity, a climate crisis and seemingly intractable international conflicts, it's cheering...
Aleks Sierz
Wednesday, 28 February 2024
One island off the coast of Spain has more cultural oomph than all the rest put together. I’m talking about Ibiza, the sun-...
Mark Kidel
Wednesday, 28 February 2024
The best popular music tunes into the zeitgeist. It can reflect cultural currents, encourage them, or enable the public to...
David Nice
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
It was chance that the National Concert Hall’s weekend of quartet events featuring responses to war and refugees should...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
When the first season of Drive to Survive launched on Netflix in 2019, it was greeted with suspicion by some in the Formula...
Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
For the past ten years, Black-British playwrights have been in the vanguard of innovation in the form and content of new...
Stephen Walsh
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
We can’t do without Così fan tutte; it’s an irresistible masterpiece. But it’s a thorn in the flesh of modern directors, who...
Sarah Kent
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
Hilmar Oddsson’s award-winning film Driving Mum is pitch-perfect. Jon has spent the last 30 years looking after his...
Boyd Tonkin
Monday, 26 February 2024
Opera in Britain is currently cursed by funders, politicians and ideologues – of right and left – who heartily detest the...
Helen Hawkins
Monday, 26 February 2024
It’s an unhappy time to be staging Shakespeare’s problematic play, given its antisemitic content, so hats off to adaptor-...

10 YEARS ON - PACO PENA A tribute to his friend, the late, great flamenco star Paco de Lucía

★★★★ MEMORY Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard in a complex, painful love story

★★★★ THE BEVIS FROND - FOCUS ON NATURE Nick Saloman is a great musical stylist


★★★★ ANDY PARSONS, TOURING Reasons to be cheerful...

★★★★ THE BIG LIFE, STRATFORD EAST Big-hearted musical brings joy and honours the past



Drive to Survive, Season 6, Netflix review - F1 documentary overtaken by events

Real-life dramas in the paddock were too late to make the cut

The Way, BBC One review - steeltown blues

Michael Sheen's ode to Port Talbot stretches credulity

Kin, Series 2, BBC One review - when crime dynasties collide

Dublin becomes a war zone in Peter McKenna's addictive drama


Red Island review - Madagascar miniatures

An undemanding study of the post-colonial French

Driving Mum review - a dark comedy that has you laughing out loud

A son fulfils his mother’s wishes and stifles his own

Wicked Little Letters review - sweary, starry film is mostly strange

Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley re-team, this time as warring neighbours

new music

Album: Kaiser Chiefs – Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album

The slump continues for Ricky Wilson’s gang

Album: Liam Gallagher John Squire - Liam Gallagher John Squire

Uninspiring Dad Rock that sounds pretty much as expected

Album: Yard Act - Where's My Utopia?

An ironic take on our brave new world


Colin Currie Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - toccatas for triangles and teacups

Scintillating virtuosity from world-leading percussion quartet

'Migrations' String Quartet Weekend, National Concert Hall, Dublin review - memorials and masterpieces

Five of the best respond magisterially to a programme focused on war and displacement

RSNO Chorus, Doughty, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh review - breaking out in anniversary Bruckner

A motet and a mass sometimes needed more focus, but a rare suite proved a delight


The Magic Flute, English National Opera review - return of an enchanted evening

Simon McBurney's dark pantomime casts its spell again

Manon Lescaut, English Touring Opera review - a nightmare in too many ways

Grotesque staging sabotages Puccini's breakthrough tragedy


Cruel Intentions, The Other Palace review - Uneasy vibes, but hit tunes and sparkling staging makes a super show
Jukebox musical gets toes tapping, even if the thrill of transgression ain't what it used to be
The Human Body, Donmar Warehouse review - Keeley Hawes and Jack Davenport excel in an intriguing staging
Lucy Kirkwood’s latest mixes the birth of the NHS with a Brief Encounter-ish romance
Nachtland, Young Vic review - German black comedy brings uneasy humour and discomfiting relevance
Something to laugh at and plenty to think about in a tonally inconsistent 90 minutes


First Person: Ten Years On - Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña pays tribute to his friend, the late, great Paco de Lucía

On the 10th anniversary of his death, memories of the prodigious musician who broadened the reach of flamenco into jazz and beyond

Dance for Ukraine Gala, London Palladium review - a second rich helping of international dancers

Ivan Putrov's latest gala was a satisfying mix of stars and young hopefuls


Andy Parsons, Touring review - reasons to be cheerful...

...Even if the country's falling apart

Bill Bailey: Thoughtifier, Brighton Centre review - offbeat adventures with a whirling, erudite mind

Bailey's fusion of studied musicality and off-the-wall wordplay remains one-of-a-kind


Tom Chatfield: Wise Animals review - on the changing world

A compelling account of how we use technology – and how it uses us

Sheila Heti: Alphabetical Diaries review - an A-Z of inner life

Heti goes far beyond a gimmick in this work of surprising and moving insight

David Harsent: Skin review - our strange surfaces

A fine poet pens a set of resilient expressions and elegant introspections


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