wed 28/02/2024

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Aleks Sierz
Wednesday, 28 February 2024
One island off the coast of Spain has more cultural oomph than all the rest put together. I’m talking about Ibiza, the sun-soaked, music-happy and drug-friendly paradise for...
Veronica Lee
Wednesday, 28 February 2024
In the middle of another age of austerity, a climate crisis and seemingly intractable international conflicts, it's cheering that a comic should tour with a show called Bafflingly...
Mark Kidel
Wednesday, 28 February 2024
The best popular music tunes into the zeitgeist. It can reflect cultural currents, encourage them, or enable the public to turn away and just party. At a time when the future of...
David Nice
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
It was chance that the National Concert Hall’s weekend of quartet events featuring responses to war and refugees should coincide with the second anniversary of Putin’s Invasion of...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
When the first season of Drive to Survive launched on Netflix in 2019, it was greeted with suspicion by some in the Formula One paddock. But with its sixth season now up on...
Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
For the past ten years, Black-British playwrights have been in the vanguard of innovation in the form and content of new writing. I’m thinking not only of writers with longer...
Stephen Walsh
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
We can’t do without Così fan tutte; it’s an irresistible masterpiece. But it’s a thorn in the flesh of modern directors, who...
Sarah Kent
Tuesday, 27 February 2024
Hilmar Oddsson’s award-winning film Driving Mum is pitch-perfect. Jon has spent the last 30 years looking after his...
Boyd Tonkin
Monday, 26 February 2024
Opera in Britain is currently cursed by funders, politicians and ideologues – of right and left – who heartily detest the...
Helen Hawkins
Monday, 26 February 2024
It’s an unhappy time to be staging Shakespeare’s problematic play, given its antisemitic content, so hats off to adaptor-...
Simon Thompson
Monday, 26 February 2024
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus has a well-established concert life away from the main orchestra; the Royal Scottish...
Kieron Tyler
Monday, 26 February 2024
Musically, the assured Focus on Nature knows exactly what it is. Fuzzy, psychedelic-leaning, folk-aware pop-rock with an...
Paco Peña
Sunday, 25 February 2024
There are moments that forever remain imprinted in our consciousness, engraved on the general map of our lives. I cannot...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 25 February 2024
“I hate it, so I guess Eater have succeeded.” NME’s March 1977 appraisal of the debut single by UK punk's teen...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 24 February 2024
A splendid cast struggle to make something coherent out of Wicked Little Letters, the latest film from Thea Sharrock who not...
David Nice
Saturday, 24 February 2024
Ravel’s Boléro, however well you think you know it, usually wows in concert with its disconcerting mix of sensuality, fun...
Sarah Kent
Saturday, 24 February 2024
At the turn of the 20th century, London’s smart set queued up to get their portraits painted by American-born artist John...
Stephen Walsh
Saturday, 24 February 2024
It’s not often one comes out of a concert of mainly new works with a spring in one’s step. A sigh of relief is rather more...
Gary Naylor
Saturday, 24 February 2024
Is there a healthier sound than that of laughter ringing round a theatre? There are plenty of opportunities to test...

★★★★ THE BIG LIFE, STRATFORD EAST Big-hearted musical brings joy and honours the past

★★★★ HIR, PARK THEATRE Incendiary production for Taylor Mac's rich absurdist family drama


★★★★ HADESTOWN, LYRIC THEATRE Soul-stirring musical gloriously revamps classical myths

★★★★ MEMORY Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard in a complex, painful love story


★★★★ KING LEAR, ALMEIDA THEATRE Danny Sapani dazzles in this spartan tragedy

disc of the day

Album: Yard Act - Where's My Utopia?

An ironic take on our brave new world


Drive to Survive, Season 6, Netflix review - F1 documentary overtaken by events

Real-life dramas in the paddock were too late to make the cut

The Way, BBC One review - steeltown blues

Michael Sheen's ode to Port Talbot stretches credulity

Kin, Series 2, BBC One review - when crime dynasties collide

Dublin becomes a war zone in Peter McKenna's addictive drama


Driving Mum review - a dark comedy that has you laughing out loud

A son fulfils his mother’s wishes and stifles his own

Wicked Little Letters review - sweary, starry film is mostly strange

Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley re-team, this time as warring neighbours

Memory review - love, dementia and truth

Michel Franco directs Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard in a complex, painful love story

new music

Album: Yard Act - Where's My Utopia?

An ironic take on our brave new world

Album: The Bevis Frond - Focus on Nature

Further confirmation that Nick Saloman is one of the UK’s great musical stylists

Music Reissues Weekly: Blank Generation, Just Want To Be Myself

Fresh looks at North American and UK punk


'Migrations' String Quartet Weekend, National Concert Hall, Dublin review - memorials and masterpieces

Five of the best respond magisterially to a programme focused on war and displacement

RSNO Chorus, Doughty, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh review - breaking out in anniversary Bruckner

A motet and a mass sometimes needed more focus, but a rare suite proved a delight

Sánchez, National Symphony Orchestra, Martín, National Concert Hall, Dublin review - Spanish panache

Flamenco song and dance matched to orchestral brilliance brings heat to a freezing city


Manon Lescaut, English Touring Opera review - a nightmare in too many ways

Grotesque staging sabotages Puccini's breakthrough tragedy

Marx in London, Scottish Opera review - the humour of history made manifest

A capital production of an unexpectedly comic opera


Out of Season, Hampstead Theatre review - banter as bullying
New comedy about masculinity and music is predictable and clumsy
Shifters, Bush Theatre review - love will tear us apart again
New play about love and memory is exquisitely written and beautifully acted
The Merchant of Venice 1936, Criterion Theatre review - radical revamp with a passionate agenda
Tracy-Ann Oberman turns Shylock into a heroic Jewish anti-fascist


First Person: Ten Years On - Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña pays tribute to his friend, the late, great Paco de Lucía

On the 10th anniversary of his death, memories of the prodigious musician who broadened the reach of flamenco into jazz and beyond

Dance for Ukraine Gala, London Palladium review - a second rich helping of international dancers

Ivan Putrov's latest gala was a satisfying mix of stars and young hopefuls


Andy Parsons, Touring review - reasons to be cheerful...

...Even if the country's falling apart

Bill Bailey: Thoughtifier, Brighton Centre review - offbeat adventures with a whirling, erudite mind

Bailey's fusion of studied musicality and off-the-wall wordplay remains one-of-a-kind


Tom Chatfield: Wise Animals review - on the changing world

A compelling account of how we use technology – and how it uses us

Sheila Heti: Alphabetical Diaries review - an A-Z of inner life

Heti goes far beyond a gimmick in this work of surprising and moving insight

David Harsent: Skin review - our strange surfaces

A fine poet pens a set of resilient expressions and elegant introspections

latest comments

an appalling production. The general director of...

Manon Lescault is a Puccini opera that I was...

It is on release in the UK from today, Friday 23

Apologies to Fiona. I now think she's right, and...

No, the critic is right. I looked in vain for a...

No, the reviewer is correct, it was definitely...


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