thu 28/01/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 28 January 2021
The Sutton Hoo burial site in Suffolk has proved to be one of the most valuable archaeological finds ever made in Britain, shedding priceless light on the Anglo-Saxon period...
Guy Oddy
Thursday, 28 January 2021
South London all-female post punkers, Goat Girl caused a bit of a splash with their self-titled debut album and early, belligerent tunes like “Scum” back in 2018. Now, however, is...
Miranda Heggie
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Fast making a name for themselves in contemporary chamber music, The Hermes Experiment players here give a wonderful debut recital at the Wigmore Hall, With a range of pieces as...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Anna Friel’s unstable detective Marcella Backland has been on the brink of existential burn-out ever since her first appearance on ITV in 2016, but it seems audiences have a...
Liz Thomson
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Never have the early months of the year felt more cruel. Escape is what we all yearn for – from home, from ourselves and our shrunken lives. Never has music been more...
Jessica Duchen
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
From a distance, the pianist Christian Blackshaw bears an uncanny resemblance to Franz Liszt, silver hair swept back à la 19th century. At the piano, though, you could...
Liz Thomson
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
I suspect that the work of James Baldwin is not all that familiar to readers in Britain, perhaps not even to black readers...
Richard Bratby
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
A darkened stage; a pool of light; a solitary figure. And then, flooding the whole thing with meaning, music – even it’s...
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Relic's deliberate drabness hits home first; set in Victoria, Natalie Erika James’s modern horror shows us a grey...
Laura De Lisle
Monday, 25 January 2021
Polly Walker's character in Netflix's sumptuous new Regency romance, Bridgerton, could've easily been little more than a...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 25 January 2021
“Hope”, from the debut album by 20 year old London singer-songwriter Arlo Parks, has a perfect chorus for these times....
David Nice
Sunday, 24 January 2021
Finally, it seems, the time is right for a major British TV drama about how the AIDS crisis hit the early 1980s London gay...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 24 January 2021
"Three plus versions of the same album. It’s ridiculous, but I’m glad.” The first paragraph of Richard Hell’s text in the...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 23 January 2021
This is an odd film, made even odder by a caption near the beginning, which claims it is "inspired by true events" but doesn...
Mark Kidel
Saturday, 23 January 2021
Bicep's second album fufills the promise of the first, released in 2017 to wide acclaim. Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar...
Mark Kidel
Friday, 22 January 2021
Jasmila Žbanić’s latest film, once again about the people of her native Bosnia and Herzegovina, is hardly an easy watch....
Veronica Lee
Friday, 22 January 2021
It has taken three years for the second series of Back to reach our screens (a combination of the creator being busy, a star...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 22 January 2021
Sad to report, this fourth series of Call My Agent! (Netflix) will be the final outing for this caustically addictive saga...
Guy Oddy
Friday, 22 January 2021
Norway’s Wardruna have proved to be an unlikely international musical success, both within Scandinavia and further afield,...

'THE TOTAL CONFUSION ABOUT POST-BREXIT RULES ADDS TO THE DISTRESS' 10 Classical musicians speak out about EU touring meltdown

★★★★ CALL MY AGENT!, SERIES 4, NETFLIX Daggers drawn in caustic actors-and-agents drama

★★★★★ IT'S A SIN, CHANNEL 4 Poignant, funny, vibrant masterpiece

★★★★ ROMANCES ON BRITISH POETRY / THE POET'S ECHO, ENGLISH TOURING OPERA Britten and Shostakovich in a double mirror

Q&A: ACTOR POLLY WALKER On 'Bridgerton' and the new breed of period drama

★★★★ CHRISTIAN BLACKSHAW, WIGMORE HALL Mozart and Schubert on their own terms

★★★★★ DVD / BLU-RAY: RELIC Dementia as demonic possession in an outstanding contemporary horror

★★★ ARLO PARKS - COLLAPSED IN SUNBEAMS Anticipated debut is a persuasive, sweet-natured, poetic listen

disc of the day

Album: Goat Girl - On All Fours

South London hipsters meander through 2021’s big issues


Marcella, Series 3, ITV review - Anna Friel returns as the defective detective

Terror and trauma in a high-risk mission in Belfast

theartsdesk Q&A: actor Polly Walker on 'Bridgerton' and the new breed of period drama

Talking wigs, women, and her (brief) experience of coronavirus

It's a Sin, Channel 4 review - poignant, funny, vibrant masterpiece

Russell T Davies's deep and shapely drama about the impact of AIDS on 1980s London


DVD/Blu-ray: Relic

Dementia as demonic possession in an outstanding contemporary horror

Persian Lessons review - confusing Holocaust drama

Ukrainian film doesn't add much to the genre

Quo Vadis, Aida review - a Bosnian woman confronts genocide

The 1995 massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica told with chilling intimacy

new music

Album: Goat Girl - On All Fours

South London hipsters meander through 2021’s big issues

Album: Steve Hackett - Under A Mediterranean Sky

A transport of delight in our troubled times

Album: Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams

Anticipated debut is a persuasive, sweet-natured, poetic listen


The Hermes Experiment, Wigmore Hall online review - innovative and uplifting

Much exciting music being made by, and written for, this talented young quartet

Christian Blackshaw, Wigmore Hall online review - pure as the driven snow

The British pianist takes Mozart and Schubert on their own terms

'The total confusion about post-Brexit rules adds to the distress': classical musicians speak out

Ten players and administrators on the fallout in government restrictions to EU touring


Romances on British Poetry / The Poet's Echo, English Touring Opera online review - Britten and Shostakovich in a double mirror

Two composers add up to one compelling drama, as ETO cuts its cloth to suit the times

Best of 2020: Opera

With no touching from mid-March onwards, this art-form was hard hit - but ingenuity ruled

Royal Opera Christmas Concert online review – pajama party around the Nutcracker tree

Vivacious opera and cheesy carols under the lively baton of Mark Wigglesworth


Peter Pan: The Audio Adventure review - the perfect bedtime story
Sharon D Clarke and Olivia Colman sparkle in delightful radio play in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital
Best of 2020: Theatre
Out of pandemic-driven chaos and confusion came moments of clarity - and "Blindness"


Best of 2020: Dance

In a perilous year, bright ideas and perseverance sometimes prevailed

The Nutcracker: an end-of-year obituary

It's been a rough ride for the seasonal cash cow. Here's how ballet companies coped

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

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


Comedy podcasts round-up 2: from home and abroad

Lively chat, masterful spoofing and behind-the-scenes fun

Best of 2020: Comedy

Outdoor venues and podcasts to the rescue


Eddie S Glaude Jr: Begin Again - James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Today review - can America avoid the fire this time?

A historiographical study of the activist and writer, 'the figure we need to turn to in the age of Trump'

Olivia Sudjic: Asylum Road review - trauma, barely suppressed

A timely and absorbing reminder of the proximity of violence

Raven Leilani: Luster - portrait of the artist as a black millennial woman

Diamond-cut debut catches every glint of our modern malaise


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