sat 29/02/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Three works two centuries apart, two of them rarities, with 100/200 years between each: that's no guarantee for programming success, and no way to fill a hall (though the London...
Markie Robson-Scott
Saturday, 29 February 2020
It’s hard to believe that Jesse Armstrong (Succession, Veep) co-wrote the screenplay for this feeble American remake of Swedish director Ruben Ostlund’s Force Majeure (2014)....
Christopher Lambton
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Scotland was at the cutting edge of culture in 1988, when the Edinburgh International Festival hosted the UK premiere of Nixon in China in the Houston Grand Opera production at...
India Lewis
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Big Thief’s show promised that particular brand of raw singing and perfect guitarmanship that only they can provide, something which they presented with a playful, earnest charm....
Stephen Walsh
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Once upon a time writing an opera was first and foremost a question of choosing a good story. But times move on, and today – as Nicholas Till reminds us in a fascinating programme...
Anthony Walker-Cook
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Layla is trapped in a pit of sand up to her shoulders, with a shroud over her head and piles of rocks surrounding her. On steps Nur, who has been tasked with arranging the rocks....
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 29 February 2020
 Eisler: Leipzig Symphony, Night and Fog, Sorrowful Pieces from Film Scores MDR-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig,...
Howard Male
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Inevitably expectations were high, given that this Chicago experimental rock band are one of my favourite groups of the 21st...
Graham Fuller
Friday, 28 February 2020
Portrait of a Lady on Fire is windblown, spare, taut, and sensual – a haunted seaside romantic drama, set in the 18th...
Florence Hallett
Friday, 28 February 2020
For David Hockney, drawing is born out of familiarity: his portraits both express and fulfil the urge to know someone deeply...
Robert Beale
Friday, 28 February 2020
Honouring Beethoven in Manchester is a united enterprise, at least between the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic, two symphony...
Joseph Walsh
Friday, 28 February 2020
Back in 2017, writer-director Eliza Hittman won over audiences with her beautiful coming-of-age drama Beach Rats. Her...
Rachel Halliburton
Friday, 28 February 2020
This raunchy, gleefully cynical production takes one of Thomas Middleton’s most famous tragedies and turns it into a Netflix...
Jill Chuah Masters
Friday, 28 February 2020
Watching Dark Waters, the latest film from director Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven), I kept thinking — what’s the...
Jessica Duchen
Friday, 28 February 2020
Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss are not the composers you'd hear at a typical chamber music concert. Their early efforts...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 28 February 2020
Ahir Shah has delivered some very good comedy by performing as a man who knows he is right about everything – that's what a...
Liz Thomson
Friday, 28 February 2020
“Fire and Rain”. Who doesn’t recall James Taylor’s first number one 50 years ago! Born in Carolina and a “graduate” of the...
Jenny Gilbert
Thursday, 27 February 2020
Mention Isadora Duncan and the best response you’re likely to get is “Wasn’t she that dancer who died when her scarf got...
Veronica Lee
Thursday, 27 February 2020
Simon Brodkin is best known for his cheeky Cockney wideboy character Lee Nelson, and for pranking the famous – notably...


★★★ CD: JAMES TAYLOR, AMERICAN STANDARD A trip down memory lane

★★★★ HALLE, ELDER, GERNON, BRIDGEWATER HALL Fiery Beethoven tribute

★★★ DARK WATERS Ominous drama with plenty of backbone, but not enough flesh

★★★★★ PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE Love unshackled in spellbinding drama

★★★ ALI SHAH, ALDERSHOT A millennial's existential angst

disc of the day

CD: Califone - Echo Fall

Chicago's finest rock experimentalists return after seven years

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The Windsors, Series 3, Channel 4 review - perfect timing for return of the bogus royals

Harry Enfield's Prince Charles tries to show leadership to his farcical band of ninnies

Back in Time for the Corner Shop, BBC Two review - open all hours with the Ardern family

Engrossing recreation of the lives of Sheffield's Victorian shopkeepers

Flesh and Blood, ITV review - Vivien's new love affair throws a cat among the family pigeons

Francesca Annis and Imelda Staunton in a twisty drama of secrets and lies


Downhill review - American remake wanders off-piste

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell on a skiing break: it's an uphill struggle

Portrait of a Lady on Fire review – love unshackled

Céline Sciamma's spellbinding costume drama has no room for a Mr. Darcy or Heathcliff

Berlinale 2020: Never Rarely Sometimes Always review - raw and unflinching abortion drama hits home

Plus Abel Ferrara's Jungian nightmare and Decker's shrieking 'Shirley'

new music

Big Thief, Eventim Apollo review - flashes of brilliance

A joyful performance, revelling in guitar

CD: Califone - Echo Fall

Chicago's finest rock experimentalists return after seven years

Alice Boman, Union Chapel review - Swedish singer-songwriter confounds expectations

A bumpier ride than the recent debut album ‘Dream On’


Denk, LPO, Vänskä, RFH review - 200 years of joy and sorrow

A febrile odyssey from fresh Beethoven to over-the-rainbow Enescu

Classical CDs Weekly: Eisler, Hindemith, Gabriel Prokofiev

East German film music, a 20th century response to Bach and a pair of contemporary concertos

Hallé, Elder, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, review - fiery Beethoven tribute

Manchester puts its people on parade in another joint special


Nixon in China, Scottish Opera - musical chatter, poetic banality

Three decades on from its UK premiere in Edinburgh, how does John Adams' first opera fare?

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


Sinners, Playground Theatre review - intimacy but also fear
Brian Cox turns director in an attenuated two-hander starring his wife
Women Beware Women, Shakespeare's Globe, review – wittily toxic upgrade of a Jacobean tragedy
In the #Metoo era, the exploitation of the female characters is particularly resonant


Isadora Now, Barbican Theatre review - a little piece of history

Attempt to revive the spirit of Isadora Duncan is of academic interest, little more

Alina, Sadler's Wells review - I think therefore I dance

An unusual hybrid show gives a glimpse into the mind of a great ballerina

Message in a Bottle, Peacock Theatre review - a hiphop singalong

A show that brings streetdance and the songs of Sting to bear on the refugee crisis is far too jolly


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

visual arts

David Hockney: Drawing from Life, National Portrait Gallery review - an anatomy of love

The artist's close friends star in the first exhibition of his drawings for over 20 years

Steve McQueen, Tate Modern review – films that stick in the mind

Memorable artist's films by the award winning director

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