sat 23/03/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Matt Wolf
Saturday, 23 March 2019
London's impromptu mini-season devoted to the work of Athol Fugard picks up real steam with Blood Knot, Matthew Xia's transfixing take on one of the benchmark titles of the...
Bernard Hughes
Saturday, 23 March 2019
London performances of Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir are like Meaningful Votes: you wait a long time for one, then they come in clusters. After last night’s Vasari Singers...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 23 March 2019
 Martinů: The Complete Music for Violin and Orchestra Bohuslav Matoušek (violin), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Christopher Hogwood (Hyperion)You can't overdose on Martinů:...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 23 March 2019
Edwyn Collins is in a good mood. Perhaps it’s his 2014 move back to his native Scotland where he now lives and records on the wild north-eastern coast. Perhaps it was finding a...
David Nice
Friday, 22 March 2019
When "Maestro" Riccardo Muti left the Royal Opera's previous production of Verdi's fate-laden epic, disgusted by minor changes to fit the scenery on the Covent Garden stage, no-...
Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 22 March 2019
NYC, 1987. AIDS is ravaging the city, Reagan’s in power, Trump is in his tower. The American dream is available - to some. And for some of those to whom it’s not, there’s the...
Owen Richards
Friday, 22 March 2019
Where would you go for a devastating study on the human condition? The home movies of teenage skaters would be very low down...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 22 March 2019
Emilia Bassano Lanier is not a household name. But maybe she should be. Born in 1569, she was one of the first women in...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 22 March 2019
For admirers of Henri-Georges Clouzot or Brigitte Bardot, this Criterion restoration of their rarely seen 1960 collaboration...
Matt Wolf
Thursday, 21 March 2019
"Some monsters are real," notes a retribution-minded wife (Matilda Ziegler) early in Downstate, Bruce Norris's beautiful and...
Jasper Rees
Thursday, 21 March 2019
Local Hero, released in 1983, has been adapted into a musical, with a book by playwright David Greig and more songs from the...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 21 March 2019
Genius is as genius does, and Rudolf Nureyev made sure nobody was left in any doubt about the scale of either his talents or...
Sarah Kent
Thursday, 21 March 2019
Mike Nelson has turned the Duveen Galleries into a museum commemorating Britain’s industrial past (pictured below right)....
Jasper Rees
Thursday, 21 March 2019
In the 1970s, the Mancunian stand-up Colin Crompton had a famous routine about Morecambe. He characterised Morecambe as “a...
Guy Oddy
Thursday, 21 March 2019
While Oasis have so far resisted the temptation of the big pay-off that a Gallagher family reunion would ensure, plenty of...
Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 20 March 2019
David Hare knows a thing or two about sustaining an onstage face-off. Skylight and The Breath of Life consist tantalisingly...
Gavin Dixon
Wednesday, 20 March 2019
William Christie kicked off Passion season in London this year with a particularly sombre reading of the St John. The...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 20 March 2019
Thing is, a lot of this unpleasantness could have been avoided if DI Jimmy Perez had just watched the second series of The...
Laura De Lisle
Wednesday, 20 March 2019
It's an ideal time to revive James Phillips's debut The Rubenstein Kiss. Since it won the John Whiting Award for new writing...

★★★★ LUCY ROSE - NO WORDS LEFT An album for the loneliest of sleepless nights


★★★ THE BAY AT NICE, MENIER CHOCOLATE FACTORY Hare's talkfest takes intermittent wing

★★★★ MIKE NELSON, THE ASSET STRIPPERS, TATE BRITAIN A stirring elegy to Britain's industrial past

Q&A SPECIAL: THE MAKING OF LOCAL HERO The film's writer-director and stars recall the birth of a masterpiece

★★★★ POSE, BBC TWO Transgender goes mainstream

★★★★★ MINDING THE GAP Profound musings on life

disc of the day

CD: Edwyn Collins - Badbea

The Orange Juice frontman ebulliently and effectively mines the sounds of his past

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Pose, BBC Two review - transgender goes mainstream

And the category is: master of gloss Ryan Murphy brings on the world of 1980s drag balls

The Bay, ITV, review - Broadchurch goes north

Morven Christie plays a detective with a naughty secret in a Morecambe murder case

Shetland, Series 5 Finale, BBC One review - Sicario-on-Sea?

Unflappable Jimmy Perez solves murderous North Sea crime wave


The Best Films Out Now

theartsdesk recommends the top movies of the moment

Minding the Gap review – profound musings on life

Don’t be deceived, this skateboarding documentary is a heartbreaking classic

DVD/Blu-Ray: La Vérité

Henri-Georges Clouzot's powerful 1960 courtroom drama attacks French bourgeois morality

new music

CD: Edwyn Collins - Badbea

The Orange Juice frontman ebulliently and effectively mines the sounds of his past

CD: Sleeper - The Modern Age

The song remains much the same for the reformed Britpoppers

CD: Shy FX - Raggamuffin SoundTape

Staggeringly assured survey of decades of soundsystem culture in a tidy package


Vasari Singers, Backhouse, St Bride’s Fleet Street review - rarely heard choral classic soars

Schnittke’s challenging Concerto for Choir given a committed reading

Classical CDs Weekly: Martinů, Prokofiev, Sullivan

20th century violin music, a Russian fairytale in a Scots makeover and an exhumed Victorian oratorio

Bach St John Passion, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican review – sombre but engaging

An atmospheric but unfocused reading, elevated by a fine Evangelist


La forza del destino, Royal Opera review - generous voices, dramatic voids

Generalised star turns from Kaufmann and Netrebko defuse Pappano's musical drama

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Birmingham Opera Company review - searing music-theatre for all

Bloodied brides and rat-heads run amok in visceral ballroom Shostakovich

Idomeneo, English Touring Opera review – honest excellence

Strong singing and fuss-free direction do justice to Mozart's dark masterpiece


Blood Knot, Orange Tree Theatre review - defining apartheid-era drama delivers afresh
Athol Fugard's seminal 1961 play hasn't lost its potency
Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre review - shouting for change
Triumphant, if crude, West End transfer of a heartfelt account of a Renaissance woman
Downstate, National Theatre review - controversial but also clear-eyed and compassionate
Bruce Norris's ever-provocative play puts people first, labels second


Bon Voyage, Bob, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells review - interminable ennui

At three and a half wearisome hours, this feels like a marathon

The Rite of Spring/Gianni Schicchi, Opera North review - unlikely but musically satisfying pairing

Odd-couple double bill of Stravinsky and Puccini with plenty to delight ear and eye


The Lego Movie 2 Videogame review - everything is not awesome

Few fresh ideas means this movie adaptation treads the same old ground

Anthem review - singing praises? More like a cautious nod

A rocky start for a new franchise that offers potential and problems in equal measure

Crackdown 3 review - spectacular super-powered action that was great fun many years ago

Nearly a decade has passed since the last incarnation but little has changed in this stagnant shooter

visual arts

The Best Exhibitions in London

From the Turner Prize shortlist to the future of gaming: our guide to what to see in the city

An encounter with John Richardson, Picasso's biographer who has died at 95

Picasso's definitive biographer recalls the artist he knew

latest comments

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Amazing headline and nicely summarized review!

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Just stumbled across the three Zen episodes and...


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