fri 30/10/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Friday, 30 October 2020
Nobody would wish it this way, but orchestras playing on a stage specially built-up for distancing to a handful of invitees have never sounded better in the Royal Festival Hall....
Joseph Walsh
Friday, 30 October 2020
 A long shadow looms over Robert Zemeckis’ new take on Roald Dahl’s classic 1980s book The Witches, starring Octavia Spencer, Anne Hathaway and newcomer Jahzir Bruno. That...
Isabella Gallagher
Friday, 30 October 2020
Sam Smith’s third album is kind of perfect for a miserable autumn amidst a global pandemic. It’s reflective, it’s morose and it attempts disco-fun but can’t quite muster the...
Owen Richards
Thursday, 29 October 2020
When Mogul Mowgli was first announced, it was fair to expect something of a realist biopic. After all, you had documentary director Bassam Tariq and actor/musician extraordinaire...
David Nice
Thursday, 29 October 2020
Throughout this most difficult of years, the Royal Opera has done the right thing for the singers on its Jette Parker Young Artists Programme. They were fortunate to finish the...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 29 October 2020
Neil Cross’s novel Burial was hailed for its skilful plotting and insightful characterisations, as well as its macabre atmosphere. Disappointingly, the author’s own adaptation of...
Saskia Baron
Thursday, 29 October 2020
Shirley is one of those films that the mood you’re in when you watch it will dictate whether you think it’s a great...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 29 October 2020
Due to COVID-related nonsense too tedious to relate, this month’s theartsdesk on Vinyl was delayed. But here it is, over...
Nick Hasted
Thursday, 29 October 2020
You can’t ever go all the way home again, and for years Dizzee Rascal didn’t want to. His Mercury-winning debut Boy In Da...
Jessica Duchen
Wednesday, 28 October 2020
To plan a programme around The Tempest, its symbolism and the idea of evanescence, the fragility of the human condition...
Daniel Lewis
Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Among the French composer Claude Debussy’s greatest and characteristically subtle innovations was to put the titles at the...
Guy Oddy
Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Post-rock singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle and high-volume, sludge metal-heads Thou are not obvious musical collaborators...
Bernard Hughes
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
There’s an old rule in the theatre that you don’t have to go on if there are more people on stage than in the audience. Last...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
Plenty of pedigree wattage has been packed into this slickly addictive new HBO drama (showing on Sky Atlantic). The twin...
David Nice
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
Whatever happens next – and even in Tier 3 the Royal Liverpool Phlharmonic goes on playing to carefully distanced audiences...
Owen Richards
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
After Bassam Tariq's feature debut These Birds Walk was released at SXSW 2013, things seemed to slow down. The documentary...
India Lewis
Monday, 26 October 2020
If you’re after a relaxing Sunday watch, Fyzal Boulifa’s Lynn + Lucy is not the one. It begins as a story of old friends in...
Matt Wolf
Monday, 26 October 2020
Call him Ishmael, and the Zimbabwe-born, UK-based writer Zodwa Nyoni has done just that. That's the name of the solo...
Stephen Walsh
Monday, 26 October 2020
Bach’s Goldberg Variations, written for harpsichord in about 1741 supposedly (or perhaps not) for a certain Johann Goldberg...

★★★ DIZZEE RASCAL - E3 AF Man back in the corner

★★★ SHIRLEY Hothouse art film about American horror writer

★★★★ MOGUL MOWGLI Riz Ahmed delivers a tour-de-force

★★★★ MEET THE YOUNG ARTISTS WEEK RECITAL, LINBURY THEATRE Frissons and high drama from Royal Opera acolytes in song

★★ THE SISTER, ITV Half-baked dramatisation of esteemed novel

THEARTSDESK ON VINYL 60 Bumper crop in the biggest vinyl reviews selection of all

disc of the day

Album: Sam Smith - Love Goes

A self-reflective break-up album that's the perfect sound for lockdown


The Sister, ITV review - half-baked dramatisation of esteemed novel

Neil Cross's 'Burial' falls on its face on telly

Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You, Apple TV+ review - his new album is a matter of life and death

Documentary takes an emotional journey through the past with the E Street Band


The Witches review – new take lacks magic

Roald Dahl's tale is transported to 1960s Alabama

Mogul Mowgli review - displacement and generational trauma

Riz Ahmed delivers a tour-de-force performance as a rapper struck down by illness

Shirley review - hothouse art film about American horror writer

Overly artful portrayal of the domestic travails of gothic novelist Shirley Jackson

new music

Album: Sam Smith - Love Goes

A self-reflective break-up album that's the perfect sound for lockdown

Album: Dizzee Rascal - E3 AF

Man back in the corner


Julia Bullock, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – bewitching dreamscapes

Rarefied magic from Ravel and Britten, culminating in a fairy-tale ballet masterpiece

Pavel Kolesnikov, Wigmore Hall review - the stuff of dreams

A breathtaking recital from the Russian pianist, plus a special prize

Philharmonia, Rouvali, RFH review – wide range of American voices

Music from the mid-20th century has colour but lacks a bit of snap


Meet the Young Artists Week recital, Linbury Theatre – four big personalities

Frissons and high drama from Royal Opera acolytes in song

4/4, Royal Opera review – desire, loss and lunacy in four surprising acts

Allan Clayton and Richard Jones are kings of bedlam, but the rest has high style too

First Person: tenor Nicky Spence on working with Blackheath locals on screen Stravinsky

'The Rake's Progress' distilled and introduced by its star and community opera patron


The Great Gatsby, Immersive London review – a warm and electric tribute to the book
It's a true achievement to feel the chemistry of a cast whirring into action again
Quarter Life Crisis, Bridge Theatre review – slender and superficial
Return of one-woman show about growing up is disappointingly thin


The Royal Ballet: Back on Stage review - fireworks in the Garden

At long last, our premier ballet company is back in action. And it's dynamite

theartsdesk in Hamburg: Ghost Light - a ballet in the time of corona

How the city is showing the world a way through the live-performance impasse

'She was Paris': RIP Zizi Jeanmaire (1924-2020)

Ballet or cabaret, Zizi's passion was for performance - preferably with her husband


Gigantic Cinema: A Weather Anthology review - wild writing to stimulate the senses

An ambitious collection inspired by life's eternal backdrop

Judith Herrin: Ravenna review - flashes of order and beauty in a chaotic world

The once-great imperial city's mosaics and buildings have survived a turbulent time

Jenny Hval: Girls Against God review - a sticky dance through space and time

A surreal witches' flight through southern Norway

visual arts

Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, Barbican Art Gallery review - mould-breaker, ground-shaker

A crash course in the life and times of an iconoclast and muse

Sin, National Gallery review - great subject, modest show

A small gathering can't do justice to this fabulous topic

latest comments

After hearing the first six tracks, I thought...

Who was the photographer for this image? I love...

But let’s face it, “Ghosts” is a TOTAL rip off of...

Hendrix was more than a gifted guitar player....

He was a gifted guitar player,that's all.Guitar...

Ronnie Scott was my friend, my tenor sax player...


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