sun 29/03/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 29 March 2020
“My favorite in the place was Karen Dalton. She was a tall white blues singer and guitar player, funky, lanky and sultry. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday’s and played the...
Liz Thomson
Saturday, 28 March 2020
“Friday night is Amami night” – that was the ad that ran from the 1920s through to the 1950s for a brand of “setting lotion”, a delightfully old-fashioned term. Those were the...
Richard Williams
Saturday, 28 March 2020
A combination of chopped-up newsreel and fever dream, “Murder Most Foul” is Bob Dylan’s most striking piece of work in years. This is the author of “Desolation Row” populating a...
Tom Birchenough
Saturday, 28 March 2020
Saudi director Haifaa Al Mansour is back on home territory with her new film, and you’ll recognise much here from her characterful 2012 debut Wadjda, itself the first-ever feature...
Mark Kidel
Saturday, 28 March 2020
Mississippi bluesman Robert Johnson’s reputation was much enhanced by the story – never substantiated – that he’d met with the devil one night at a crossroads, and was...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 28 March 2020
 Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier George Lepauw (piano) (Orchid Classics)How a pianist tackles the opening C major Prelude of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier can often set the...
Joe Muggs
Saturday, 28 March 2020
Dua Lipa's self-titled debut was unmistakably the sound of a musician feeling their way. It had all the flavours of trap,...
Tim Cumming
Friday, 27 March 2020
Miles – where to begin? Some 21st century revisionists find his art fatally tainted by his personal life, and his violent...
Nick Hasted
Friday, 27 March 2020
Imagine being trapped in your perfect home forever. It’s easy if you try now, as Vivarium’s allegory about property and...
Sam Marlowe
Friday, 27 March 2020
“Whipped cream with knives” is how Harold Prince, who directed the Broadway premiere of A Little Night Music in 1973,...
Nick Hasted
Friday, 27 March 2020
Eddie Vedder’s maturing from a mumbling, suspicious victim-star of grunge into a wise elder statesman leading the last...
Joseph Walsh
Thursday, 26 March 2020
Benni, the central character in German writer-director Nora Fingscheidt's haunting new film, has a life of tragedy and...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 26 March 2020
Coming in at around four hours, in two parts, this 2015 documentary is ostensibly about Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, but...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 26 March 2020
Ever since I heard the quintessential prog rock group The Nice do a psychedelic instrumental version of “America” in 1968, I...
Veronica Lee
Thursday, 26 March 2020
Spencer Jones, a clownish stand-up, has been responsible for some the cheeriest, daftest and most heart-warming shows at the...
Mark Kidel
Thursday, 26 March 2020
Sufjan Stevens is an immensely creative musician – a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and composer. His work ranges from...
David Nice
Wednesday, 25 March 2020
We're learning fast what works and what doesn't with online arts offerings in a time of coronavirus. A distinguished young...
India Lewis
Wednesday, 25 March 2020
The Two Killings of Sam Cooke is a programme of multiples, a film which plays with doubles, divergences, and different...
Graham Rickson
Wednesday, 25 March 2020
Along with many others, my first exposure to Stephen Sondheim’s art was through watching the film of Bernstein’s West Side...

SINATRA: ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL, NETFLIX Epic two-parter on pop's first superstar

FIDELIO, ROYAL OPERA Probably better just heard tonight on BBC Radio 3

★★★★ SYSTEM CRASHER Compelling portrait of childhood violence and pain

SONDHEIM AT 90 SONGS: 5 - 'Every Day A Little Death'

★★★ PEARL JAM - GIGATON Rock veterans face troubled times with embattled optimism

disc of the day

Album: Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia

Lipa frees her inner disco diva, and the world is a better place for it


Rock ‘n’ Roll Island: Where Legends Were Born, BBC Four review - remembering rock's big bang

Eel Pie Island was London's answer to the Cavern, but what emerged was less genteel

ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads, Netflix review - a story well told but marred by clichéd style

Robert Johnson: a pact with the devil? A myth de-constructed, yet enhanced

Mister Winner, BBC2 review - gentle comedy about one of life's losers

Spencer Jones plays a modern-day Frank Spencer


The Perfect Candidate review - seeking status for women in Saudi

Haifaa Al Mansour follows 'Wadjda' with a new tale of female independence in Saudi Arabia

Vivarium review – housing ladder to hell

Sharp if limited horror allegory of property and parenthood

System Crasher review – a compelling portrait of childhood violence and pain

Nora Fingscheid’s social realist drama about a troubled 9-year-old is as tough as it is tender

new music

Reissue CDs Weekly: Recording Is The Trip - The Karen Dalton Archives

The Dylan-approved folk-inclined stylist’s 1962 and 1963 recordings get another outing

Single: Bob Dylan - Murder Most Foul

A taste of the apocalypse with Bob Dylan

ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads, Netflix review - a story well told but marred by clichéd style

Robert Johnson: a pact with the devil? A myth de-constructed, yet enhanced


Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Poulenc, Simon Höfele

Life-enhancing keyboard music, cheery sounds from Paris and a dazzling young trumpeter

Notes on a no-show - Nico Muhly

New dance inspired by his music was the first casualty of the darkened Sadler's Wells

'Pause. Notice. Breathe': Elena Urioste on self-love in a time of coronavirus

The violinist on how her yoga practice has informed her life and playing


Classical music/Opera direct to home: 3 - Two Jenůfas

If you want searing music-drama, Janáček's are the place to start - but choose carefully

Sondheim at 90 Songs: 2 - 'Epiphany'/'A Little Priest'

Is there a better climax to a musical first act than the terror-plus-wit in 'Sweeney Todd'?


Sondheim at 90 Songs: 5 - 'Every Day A Little Death'
A stinging duet from 'A Little Night Music' has a savagely funny power
Sondheim at 90 Songs: 4 - 'America'
Brilliant lyrics from the young composer offer a definitive take on migration
Sondheim at 90 Songs: 3 - 'Johanna' (Quartet Version)
Sublime ensemble number from Act Two of 'Sweeney Todd'


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


Roy Hudd: 'I was just trying to make 'em laugh'

The most traditional of entertainers, who has died at 83, harked back to a vanished age


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

10 Questions for Irina Nalis

Multidisciplinary thinking at a multidisciplinary festival in a time of crisis

Among the Trees, Hayward Gallery review - a mixture of euphoria and dismay

Our complex relationship with trees explored to powerful effect


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