wed 08/02/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Aleks Sierz
Wednesday, 08 February 2023
With the total loss of its Arts Council funding, Hampstead Theatre’s future as a specialist new writing venue is in doubt. But before anything drastically changes, the playwrights...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 08 February 2023
In this context, what’s named “diamond road” is a metaphor for staying on course rather than, as the lyrics of the song “Diamond Road” put it, letting yourself go or sprawling all...
India Lewis
Tuesday, 07 February 2023
Eliza Carthy has been busy, as she always has. Recording various albums with various artists during the pandemic, her show with her band, The Restitution (and many others), at the...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 07 February 2023
I have wanted to visit the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar for many years: the home of Matthias Grünewald’s masterpiece, the Isenheim Altarpiece (1512-1516), one of the great works of...
David Nice
Tuesday, 07 February 2023
It’s coming up for two years since some of us watched the first three seasons of what’s increasingly coming to seem like television’s greatest dramatic triumph. Babylon Berlin. So...
Boyd Tonkin
Monday, 06 February 2023
No work gives its listeners such pleasure on the way to hell (and back) as Berlioz’s rule-busting “dramatic legend”, The Damnation of Faust. It delivers not just flamboyant...
Nick Hasted
Monday, 06 February 2023
Saint Omer is a psychological and sociological mystery, unpicking the enigma of Laurence (Guslagie Malanda), a French...
Robert Beale
Monday, 06 February 2023
It’s good to think that there are some opera productions – not just compositions – that in themselves can have the status of...
Gary Naylor
Monday, 06 February 2023
A play’s title can be an almost arbitrary matter – there’s no streetcar but plenty of desire in that one for example –...
Guy Oddy
Monday, 06 February 2023
Yo La Tengo’s new disc would appear to be an homage to the indie scene of the mid 1980s: a place before baggy beats became...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 05 February 2023
The New York Dolls, The Ramones, Suicide, Television, Blondie, The Dictators, The Heartbreakers, The Shirts, Richard Hell...
Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 04 February 2023
Bald, barrel-shaped and pugnacious, Doron Kavillio (Lior Raz) could have been conceived as the anti-Bond or the un-Ethan...
Veronica Lee
Saturday, 04 February 2023
The Shrek universe expands a little more with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, another computer-animated family film from...
Liz Thomson
Saturday, 04 February 2023
Shania Twain describes her sixth studio album as “a song of gratitude and appreciation. I was inspired that I still had air...
Gary Naylor
Friday, 03 February 2023
If All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure and Troilus and Cressida have earned the sobriquet "‘problem plays", what...
Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 03 February 2023
Yes, Brendan Fraser gives a fine, Oscar-nominated performance as a morbidly obese man in director Darren Aronfsky’s mawkish...
David Nice
Friday, 03 February 2023
Salome was not to get her head on a silver platter: Jennifer Davis, due to sing the bloody final scene of Strauss’s opera,...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 03 February 2023
The set of 2:22 A Ghost Story is open to the auditorium when we arrive and locates us at once in gentrification-land. We are...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 03 February 2023
It’s been a good year for donkeys at the cinema. Not only did Martin McDonagh make a surprise star out of Jenny the...

★★★★★ PHILHARMONIA, HRUSA, RFH Total brilliance in Bartók, Dvořák and Strauss

★★★★ SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND, ROYAL COURT Loud and triumphantly proud


NORTHERN WINTER BEAT 2023 Agreeable Aalborg accommodates a festival integral to its environment

★★★★★ ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED Nan Goldin's fight against the makers of Oxycontin is as gutsy as her work in Laura Poitras’s superb documentary

★★★★ 2:22 A GHOST STORY, LYRIC THEATRE Cheryl makes an impressive stage debut

★★★★★ EO A donkey's odyssey: Jerzy Skolimowski takes the audience on an incredible journey

★★★ TANNHAUSER, ROYAL OPERA True goodness triumphs in the end

disc of the day

Album: Amber Arcades - Barefoot On Diamond Road

Moody Dutch singer-songwriter puts indie archetypes behind her


DVD: Babylon Berlin, Season Four

Golden threads through a labyrinth of Weimar Republic corruption

Fauda, Season 4, Netflix review - Israeli terrorism thriller gets darker and dirtier

Fourth time around, the human cost is becoming too much to bear


Saint Omer review - exile and erasure

A migrant child-killer's guilt proves elusive in Alice Diop's courtroom meditation

The Whale review - Brendan Fraser stars in a fat suit

Darren Aronofsky's stagey, sentimental portrait of a dying, obese man

new music

Album: Amber Arcades - Barefoot On Diamond Road

Moody Dutch singer-songwriter puts indie archetypes behind her

Eliza Carthy and The Restitution, Barbican review - folk at its finest

Celebration and tribute from the giants of the genre

Album: Yo La Tengo - This Stupid World

Veteran cult band stay fuzzy


The Cunning Little Vixen, Opera North review - magic of a classic staging

A real ensemble effort in Janáček’s cartoon-based tale of nature and human nature

Tannhäuser, Royal Opera review - true goodness triumphs in the end

Lise Davidsen's fully-realised Elisabeth is no pallid virgin in this mixed revival

First Person: soprano Soraya Mafi on why Glyndebourne's tour cancellation is disastrous

Though Arts Council England has partly reinstated English National Opera's grant, its cuts still have devastating consequences for the regions


Linck & Mülhahn, Hampstead Theatre review - problems as well as pleasures
New play about a gender-pioneering couple is provocative and engaging
Smoke, Southwark Playhouse review - dazzling Strindberg update
The perils of navigating power relations when sexual tension is all but tangible


Julie Cunningham & Co, Sadler's Wells review - a fine piece of work, with added spice

The other Cunningham stakes out their territory in contemporary dance, and the non-binary debate

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, Coliseum review - the story of a deluded prince

The corps de ballet take the laurels in Derek Deane's dependably fine production

Best of 2022: Dance

It might not be business as usual, but memorable work has come through


Alex Edelman, Menier Chocolate Factory review - London run for unmissable off-Broadway hit

How a Jewish standup found the funny side of a roomful of white nationalists

Best of 2022: Comedy

The Edinburgh Fringe was back - and so were some memorable shows


'I let it emerge': an interview with Fiona Benson on the cusp of the TS Eliot Prize announcement

The poet discusses her new book, mayflies, motherhood, and memory

Jaan Kross: A Book of Falsehoods review - plague, power and deception in 16th century Tallinn

At last, the translation of volume three in the Estonian master's great historical trilogy

Best of 2022: Books

Our top titles before we turn the page on another year

visual arts

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed review - superb documentary about a campaigning artist

Nan Goldin's fight against the makers of Oxycontin is as gutsy as her work

Spain and the Hispanic World, Royal Academy review - a monumental survey

The refurbishment of New York's Hispanic Society provides a unique opportunity to see its treasures


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