thu 18/04/2024

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Jon Turney
Thursday, 18 April 2024
Our home planet orbits the medium-size star we call the Sun. There are unfathomably many more stars out there. We accepted that these are also suns a little while back, cosmically...
Helen Hawkins
Thursday, 18 April 2024
The Book of Clarence comes lumbered with the charge of being the new Life of Brian, an irreverent spoof of the life of Christ destined to ruffle good Christians’ feathers. It...
Tom Carr
Thursday, 18 April 2024
Thirty years, over 75 million copies sold. It’s been a long journey from nineties Seattle for Pearl Jam, the grunge era icons fronted by Eddie Vedder and his characteristic,...
David Nice
Wednesday, 17 April 2024
All three works in the second of this week’s Neville Marriner centenary concerts from the ensemble he founded vindicated their intention to reign for ever and ever. Those very...
Gary Naylor
Wednesday, 17 April 2024
One can often be made to feel old in the theatre. A hot take in a snappy 90 minutes (with video!) on the latest Gen Z obsession (is it even Gen Z, or were they last year, Daddio...
Colin Alexander And Héloïse Werner
Wednesday, 17 April 2024
For tonight’s performance at Milton Court, the nuanced and delicate tones of strings, voices, harmonium and chamber organ will merge and mingle together to tell tales of a rain-...
Sarah Kent
Wednesday, 17 April 2024
Yinka Shonibare’s Serpentine Gallery exhibition opens with a piece of cloth twirling in the breeze; except that it’s a...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 17 April 2024
Death Songbook is, says Charles Hazlewood, founder, artistic director and conductor of Paraorchestra, an album of “music...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
Ludicrous plotting and a tangled skein of coincidences hold no terrors for the makers of this frequently baffling French...
Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
I’ve never been one for school reunions, but even if I had kept in touch with former classmates I think that American...
India Lewis
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
Artist and writer, Heather McCalden, has produced her first book-length work. The Observable Universe examines, variously,...
Thomas H Green
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
VINYL OF THE MONTHLondon Afrobeat Collective Esengo (Canopy)The weather has not been kind to the UK lately, pelting it daily...
Laura De Lisle
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
History is very present in Philippa Gregory’s new play about Richard III. Literally - History is a character, played by Tom...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
There’s a scene in Priscilla where Elvis stands above his wife, who is scrambling to put her clothes in a suitcase....
Gary Naylor
Monday, 15 April 2024
Lockdown feels more like a dream now: empty streets; bright, scarless skies; pan-banging at 8pm. Did it all happen? One part...
Helen Hawkins
Monday, 15 April 2024
Shakespeare’s plays have ever been meat for masher-uppers, from the bowdlerising Victorians to the modern filmed-theatre...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 15 April 2024
At a time when conflicts in the Middle East are reaching fever pitch, Emel Mathlouthi represents hope. Her new album MRA, is...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 14 April 2024
Brazzaville is on the north side of the Congo River. It is the capital of the Republic of the Congo. Kinshasa is on the...
Joseph Middleton
Saturday, 13 April 2024
Everyone needs friends and everything is connected. As we throw the doors open on to the 2024 Leeds Lieder Festival I am...

★★ SPENCER JONES: MAKING FRIENDS, SOHO THEATRE Quirky, personal and absurd

★★★★ A CERTAIN RATIO - IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS Veteran Mancunians reassess

★★★ ELLIE GOULDING, RPCO, ROYAL ALBERT HALL A mellow evening of strings and song


JOSEPH MIDDLETON Leeds Lieder Festival director on a beloved organisation back from the brink

★★★★ SHEKU KANNEH-MASON, PHILHARMONIA CHORUS, RPO, PETRENKO, RFH Atmospheric Elgar and Weinberg, but Rachmaninov's 'The Bells' takes the palm

★★★★ PLAYER KINGS, NOEL COWARD THEATRE Ian McKellen: a peerless theatrical knight

disc of the day

Album: Pearl Jam - Dark Matter

Enduring grunge era icons return full of energy, arguably their most empowered yet


Anthracite, Netflix review - murderous mysteries in the French Alps

Who can unravel the ghastly secrets of the town of Lévionna?

Ripley, Netflix review - Highsmith's horribly fascinating sociopath adrift in a sea of noir

Its black and white cinematography is striking, but eventually wearying

Scoop, Netflix review - revisiting a Right Royal nightmare

Gripping dramatisation of Newsnight's fateful Prince Andrew interview


The Book of Clarence, review - larky jaunt through biblical epic territory

LaKeith Stanfield is impressively watchable as the Messiah's near-neighbour

Blu-ray/DVD: Priscilla

The disc extras smartly contextualise Sofia Coppola's eighth feature

Back to Black review - rock biopic with a loving but soft touch

Marisa Abela evokes the genius of Amy Winehouse, with a few warts minimised

new music

Album: Pearl Jam - Dark Matter

Enduring grunge era icons return full of energy, arguably their most empowered yet


Bell, Perahia, ASMF Chamber Ensemble, Wigmore Hall review - joy in teamwork

A great pianist re-emerges in Schumann, but Beamish and Mendelssohn take the palm

First Persons: composers Colin Alexander and Héloïse Werner on fantasy in guided improvisation

On five new works allowing an element of freedom in the performance

First Person: Leeds Lieder Festival director and pianist Joseph Middleton on a beloved organisation back from the brink

Arts Council funding restored after the blow of 2023, new paths are being forged


Carmen, Royal Opera review - strong women, no sexual chemistry and little stage focus

Damiano Michieletto's new production of Bizet’s masterpiece is surprisingly invertebrate

La scala di seta, RNCM review - going heavy on the absinthe?

Rossini’s one-acter helps young performers find their talents to amuse


An Actor Convalescing in Devon, Hampstead Theatre review - old school actor tells old school stories
Fact emerges skilfully repackaged as fiction in an affecting solo show by Richard Nelson
The Comeuppance, Almeida Theatre review - remembering high-school high jinks
Latest from American penman Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is less than the sum of its parts
Richard, My Richard, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmund's review - too much history, not enough drama
Philippa Gregory’s first play tries to exonerate Richard III, with mixed results


MacMillan Celebrated, Royal Ballet review - out of mothballs, three vintage works to marvel at

Less-known pieces spanning the career of a great choreographer underline his greatness

Carmen, English National Ballet review - lots of energy, even violence, but nothing new to say

Johan Inger's take on Carmen tries but fails to make a point about male violence

WAKE, National Stadium, Dublin review - a rainbow river of dance, song, and so much else

THISISPOPBABY serves up a joyous tapestry of Ireland contemporary and traditional


Lisa Kaltenegger: Alien Earths: Planet Hunting in the Cosmos review – a whole new world

Kaltenegger's traverses space in her thoughtful exploration of the search for life among the stars

Heather McCalden: The Observable Universe review - reflections from a damaged life

An artist pens a genre-spanning work of tender inconclusiveness

Dorian Lynskey: Everything Must Go review - it's the end of the world as we know it

Authoritative account of how the apocalypse has always been just around the corner

visual arts

Yinka Shonibare: Suspended States, Serpentine Gallery review - pure delight

Weighty subject matter treated with the lightest of touch

Jane Harris: Ellipse, Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine MÉCA, Bordeaux review - ovals to the fore

Persistence and conviction in the works of the late English painter

Sargent and Fashion, Tate Britain review - portraiture as a performance

London’s elite posing dressed up to the nines

latest comments

Couldn't agree more. THIS is the one to see to...

I watched it yesterday and it made feel like "Oh...

I saw this today at The Curve, why any theatre...

Y'all be giving out 100's like hotcakes, do y'all...

Seen in Oxford 9th April.  I agree entirely...


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