thu 21/09/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

James Saynor
Thursday, 21 September 2023
If you think we’ve got culture wars, then welcome to Transylvania. This rugged Romanian region is home to a bewildering overlap of ethnicities and tongues – Hungarian, a bit of...
Ismene Brown
Thursday, 21 September 2023
This powerful play’s immediate backstory, with Moscow sentencing its author to eight years’ jail and its director going into forced exile, is not its immediate theme – and all the...
Graham Fuller
Thursday, 21 September 2023
A shot of a dead field mouse sets the tone for this sobering “slow cinema” documentary, narrator-director Christopher Morris’s response, simultaneously aghast and philosophical,...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 21 September 2023
Had Devendra Banhart been born between 1940 and 1950, he’d likely be a household name. His output– very loosely – sits between Cat Stevens, Syd Barrett and Richie Havens, studded...
David Nice
Wednesday, 20 September 2023
Many of us have perhaps grown too accustomed to the friendly face of My Fair Lady. George Bernard Shaw’s very original play is sharper, less sentimental yet ultimately more...
Hugh Barnes
Wednesday, 20 September 2023
François Truffaut said that there is no such thing as an anti-war film because cinema inevitably glorifies the horror of conflict. The premise was robustly challenged over the...
Demetrios Matheou
Wednesday, 20 September 2023
With more than 20 plays under her belt, San-Francisco based Lauren Gunderson is one of the most produced playwrights in the...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 20 September 2023
Nothing Lasts Forever opens with a drone, a weightless prologue of guitar feedback evoking the initial moments of the...
Boyd Tonkin
Tuesday, 19 September 2023
These days British orchestras count themselves lucky if they can see, and plan, five years ahead. In Bavaria they do things...
Paul Vale
Tuesday, 19 September 2023
It's rare that a new musical or play opens in the West End with as much positive word-of-mouth as The Little Big Things....
Guido Gärtner
Tuesday, 19 September 2023
Nine cities in seven countries; all in all, eleven concerts, on top of that, an appearance at home in Munich. Celebrating...
CP Hunter
Tuesday, 19 September 2023
Celia Dale published 13 novels between 1944 and her death in 2011. A majority of her these are often categorised – albeit...
Tim Cumming
Tuesday, 19 September 2023
It was more than a decade ago when I first saw Rachel Sermanni in concert, in the upstairs room at The Old Queen’s Head in...
Helen Hawkins
Monday, 18 September 2023
You can imagine the thought processes that brought Kenneth Branagh’s latest adventure as Poirot, his third, to the big...
David Nice
Monday, 18 September 2023
To master even one of Brahms’s three early sonatas is a colossal task for any pianist. To play them all with towering...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 18 September 2023
In 2017, Bolton comic Peter Kay had to cancel his planned tour because of “family circumstances”. But then, when he...
Helen Hawkins
Monday, 18 September 2023
Jenna Coleman has had a mostly upbeat acting CV to date, notably playing Clara in Doctor Who and the young Queen in ITV’s...
Rachel Halliburton
Monday, 18 September 2023
It’s proving to be an extraordinary year for Cairo-born soprano Fatma Said, one of the most exciting musicians to bridge the...
Mark Kidel
Monday, 18 September 2023
Partie de Campagne (1946), while not being one of French cinema giant Jean Renoir’s best-known films, unfinished and just...

★★★ A HAUNTING IN VENICE Branagh and his cast have fun, but not enough narrative impact

★★★★ PETER KAY, O2 ARENA Nostalgia-fest delivers an emotional punch

★★★★THE WHITE FACTORY, MARYLEBONE THEATRE Dazzling treatment of a notorious moral betrayal

★★★★ TOP BOY, SEASON 5, NETFLIX Grime and punishment

★★★ PRIVATE LIVES, AMBASSADOR'S THEATRE Classy revival lacking physical excess

★★★★ FATMA SAID, TIM ALLHOFF, LAFAYETTE CLUB From Fauré to the Middle East & back


disc of the day

Album: Devendra Banhart - Flying Wig

Offbeat singer-songwriter's latest is an electronically adventurous misfire


Wilderness, Prime Video review - twisty thriller that leaves a nasty aftertaste

Gilded couple explore the barren lands of their blighted marriage

Top Boy, Season 5, Netflix review - grime and punishment

Ronan Bennett's Hackney crime epic reaches a fiery conclusion


R.M.N. review - ethnic cleansing in rural Romania

Cristian Mungiu's tale from Transylvania has bite but may not be his best

A Year in a Field review - exemplary eco-doc

Filmmaker Christopher Morris keeps vigil near Lands End as the planet goes to hell

Side By Side Ukrainian Film Festival, Curzon Soho - cameras of courage and resistance

The festival shows war-torn Ukraine in turmoil but unbowed

new music

Album: Devendra Banhart - Flying Wig

Offbeat singer-songwriter's latest is an electronically adventurous misfire

Album: Teenage Fanclub - Nothing Lasts Forever

The indie immortals generate optimism from melancholy

Album: Rachel Sermanni - Dreamer Awake

Reflective songs of dream, myth and experience


First Person: the Bayerisches Staatsorchester's Managing Director Guido Gärtner on its 500th anniversary

Reflections as the Bavarians give two Barbican concerts under Vladimir Jurowski

Brahms Piano Sonatas, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Wigmore Hall review - when giants meet

The young composer's epic-lyric genius revealed and clarified


The Yellow Wallpaper, Lilian Baylis Studio review - a tense and intimate monodrama

New opera re-works classic short story with committed performances and striking staging

Das Rheingold, Royal Opera - knotty, riveting route to destruction

Barrie Kosky and Antonio Pappano work superbly with a true team of singer-actors


The White Factory, Marylebone Theatre review - what price dignity in hell?
Dazzling Russian production finds fresh relevance in the Lodz ghetto massacre
Pygmalion, Old Vic review - zappy wit and emotional intelligence
Patsy Ferran's vibrant Eliza Doolittle sparks Bertie Carvel's Henry Higgins into human life
anthropology, Hampstead Theatre review - AI thriller runs out of code
Lauren Gunderson’s new play is timely, tantalising but doesn’t quite hit its mark


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating display of a full deck of dance styles

From stately to sexy, these fabulously physical dancers engage every emotion

Matthew Bourne's Romeo + Juliet, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating dancing, inventive moves

New Adventures creates lovers with tender appeal for a younger generation

Jewels, The Australian Ballet, Royal Opera House review - a sparkling parade of great dancing

David Hallberg's Australians are pitch perfect in Balanchine's masterpiece


Peter Kay, O2 Arena review - comeback show is worth the wait

Nostalgia-fest delivers an emotional punch

Edinburgh Fringe 2023 review: Ahir Shah

Deserved winner of prestigious award


Celia Dale: Sheep's Clothing review - unsettling, mundane, and right on-trend

Daunt Books continues its mission to bring Dale’s witty amorality to modern light

Lutz Seiler: Pitch & Glint review - real verse power

A seminal work of German verse translated into radiant English for the first time

Zadie Smith: The Fraud review - the trials we inherit

In her first foray into historical fiction, Smith pens a prescient and well-researched retelling

visual arts

Beatriz Milhazes: Maresias, Turner Contemporary review - the taste and sight of Brazil

A retrospective of the Brazilian artist's career transports us to Rio de Janeiro

Differently Various, The Curve, Barbican review - a step in a shared direction

Richly engaging exhibition by artists who have experienced brain injuries

latest comments

Great to receive a comment that gives a very...

This review seems a little mean-spirited. Cavassa...

Artistically fine he might be, but Keller, like...

What a tragicslly sad and narrow worldview. You'd...

Kathryn I really don't understand your tone...

I've been excited for this the whole year. For...


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