wed 19/02/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Jonathan Geddes
Wednesday, 19 February 2020
Matt Shultz was clearly taking no chances. The Cage the Elephant frontman appeared onstage underneath a large umbrella, presumably bought to cope with the day’s deluge of rain. In...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
Perhaps somebody at BBC Four has had a quiet word with Lucy Worsley, because in this first of a new three-part series she did hardly did any of her usual irritating dressing up....
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
With prison overcrowding reaching chronic proportions, police in County Durham have developed the Checkpoint programme to try to keep offenders out of jail with rehabilitation in...
Veronica Lee
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
What joy it is to welcome this offshoot of the television series to the West End stage – complete with several of that show's cast, plus a few new additions. Ben Elton has...
Marina Vaizey
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
It’s all in the timing. Here was David Baddiel beginning a stand-up turn at a gig in Finchley. A Holocaust survivor gets to heaven, and God asks for a Holocaust joke. God says...
Bernard Hughes
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
In a week when my colleague Jessica Duchen was delighted by the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, last night’s concert, also at Wigmore Hall, by Michael Collins and London Winds...
Sebastian Scotney
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
Sam Lee has a strong, richly resonant and recognisable voice – and equally strong beliefs. His album Old Wow has really...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
8 ½ is one of the classic films about the art of cinema. There is something about the make-believe of movies, and our buying...
Jessica Duchen
Monday, 17 February 2020
Nobody could deny that this was a weekend when we needed cheering up. The place for that was the Wigmore Hall, which played...
Jonathan Geddes
Monday, 17 February 2020
It might have been 24 hours after Valentine’s Day, but James McGovern still seemed to have a touch of romance in his head....
Bernard Hughes
Monday, 17 February 2020
In my reviewing for theartsdesk I like as much as possible to ski off-piste, reaching areas of repertoire, performer and...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 17 February 2020
Simon Evans is a comic known for pithy observational humour, and an often acerbic take on politics, with occasional bits of...
Kieron Tyler
Monday, 17 February 2020
Spook The Herd concludes with “A Fitting End”. In a cracked, reflective voice, Hazel Wilde sings: “I want a door to the...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 16 February 2020
August and September 1964 were golden months for Pye Records. The Kinks hit number one on the British charts in September...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 15 February 2020
Lesley Manville’s thrilling career ascent continues apace with The Visit, which marks American playwright ...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 15 February 2020
Welcome to the biggest plastic reviews party on earth. Now that vinyl is steadily successful as niche musical medium, some...
Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 15 February 2020
This eight-part mystery from Netflix is based on the titular novel by American writer Harlan Coben, who has formed a...
Aleks Sierz
Saturday, 15 February 2020
Queer people of colour face a double discrimination: racism and homophobia. Against this sickness of negation and stupidity...
Jill Chuah Masters
Saturday, 15 February 2020
Roland Orzabal, co-founder and lead guitarist of Tears for Fears, laughs to himself often during this documentary — the...

CLASSICAL CDS WEEKLY Brahms, Magnard, Skempton

★★★★ STEVE MCQUEEN, TATE MODERN Films that stick in the mind

★★★★ THE HIGH TABLE, BUSH THEATRE Party on in Lagos and London

★★★★ FIRST LOVE Takashi Miike delivers thrills and spills

★★★★ SIMON EVANS, BLACKHEATH HALLS A big reveal worth waiting for

★★ THE VISIT, NATIONAL THEATRE Lesley Manville rises above the prevailing muddle

★★★★ PAT METHENY - FROM THIS PLACE A beautiful but complex album

★★★★ ELYSIAN SINGERS, SPCMH, SAM LAUGHTON, ST LUKE'S, CHELSEA John Cage and friends given a rare airing

disc of the day

Blu-ray: 8 ½

Fellini's masterpiece of cinema tackles filmmaker's block

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Royal History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley, BBC Four review - is this version more valid than anyone else's?

Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell are spun in the pop-history blender

How To Stay out of Jail, Channel 4 review – a bold rehabilitation programme from Durham police

Touching and insightful film about offenders trying to seize a second chance

Confronting Holocaust Denial with David Baddiel, BBC Two review - grappling with the incomprehensible

Writer and comedian tries to fathom how so many can deny such well-documented history


Blu-ray: 8 ½

Fellini's masterpiece of cinema tackles filmmaker's block

First Love review - Miike delivers thrills and spills

Renowned director is the ultraviolent gift that keeps on giving

Sonic the Hedgehog review - stuck in first gear

Bizarrely slow-motion effort to exploit Sega's speedster


Michael Collins, Michael McHale, London Winds, Wigmore Hall review - flying the flag for wind chamber music

Long-standing ensemble makes a persuasive case for music familiar and unfamiliar

Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, Wigmore Hall review - a joyous celebration

A sparky, shape-shifting ensemble of starry young musicians

Elysian Singers, SPCMH, Sam Laughton, St Luke’s, Chelsea review - John Cage and friends given a rare airing

Adventurous choral modernism alongside entertainingly anarchic postmodernism


Luisa Miller, English National Opera review - Verdi in translation makes a stylish comeback

Musical splendours peak in a tenor aria to die for and a moving last act

theartsdesk Q&A: soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn

Returning to ENO to sing Verdi's Luisa Miller, a great singer-actor reflects

Les vêpres siciliennes, Welsh National Opera review - spectacular, silly, but some great music

Verdi's reluctant grand opera colourfully staged, brilliantly played, unevenly sung


The Visit, National Theatre review - star turn bolsters baggy rewrite
Lesley Manville rises above the prevailing muddle
The High Table, Bush Theatre review - party on in Lagos and London
New debut play is a heartfelt account of the black lesbian experience


Bluebeard, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells review - bleak but ground-breaking

This 1977 take on Bartok's murderous opera was a watershed for European theatre

Michael Keegan-Dolan, MÁM, Sadler's Wells review - folk goes radical

Digging deeper into Irish tradition has yielded Michael Keegan-Dolan's most visionary work yet

'She was revolutionary': Tanztheater Wuppertal's new director on the legacy of Pina Bausch

Bettina Wagner-Bergelt talks violence and taped music in a monumental early masterpiece


Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

Challenge The Authority in this 'Mad Max on mushrooms' renegade romp

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to Celebrate Brighton Festival!

An eclectic line-up spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, comedy, literature and spoken word could be yours with boutique hotel and exquisite meals included

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

Chainsawing the brain-eaters as you battle against the tide of the undead


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