fri 03/12/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Rachel Halliburton
Friday, 03 December 2021
When the Canadian Yann Patel went to India as a young adult backpacker he fell in love – not with one person but with the rich imaginative landscape opened up by its religions and...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 03 December 2021
Netflix is sometimes criticised for bringing too much of everything to its online feast, but the way it’s opening up previously under-exposed territories is becoming seriously...
India Lewis
Friday, 03 December 2021
Perhaps appropriately, when I called Pete Tong for his 10 questions I was hungover, on the phone in a park after a night at a very good party. It’s a sign of the times that things...
Barney Harsent
Thursday, 02 December 2021
It’s a far cry from his beginnings in a tight, no-frills power-pop-post-punk three piece, that’s for sure. Last May, Paul Weller took to the stage with guitarist Steve...
Demetrios Matheou
Thursday, 02 December 2021
Film festival chiefs the world over have been having a tricky time navigating the pandemic, juggling ever-changing Covid rules with an industry desperate to return to normal. Yet...
Florence Hallett
Thursday, 02 December 2021
The Courtauld Gallery’s dark corners have gone, and with them a certain apt melancholy, that effortlessly summoned the ghosts of Gauguin’s Nevermore, 1897, – the abused...
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 02 December 2021
The opening moments don’t suggest what’s coming. A solo flute is followed by a few spoken phrases from a treated voice. What...
Richard Bratby
Thursday, 02 December 2021
As the conductor of English National Opera’s 2018 production of Porgy and Bess, there can’t be many maestros in the UK...
Miranda Heggie
Thursday, 02 December 2021
After a two year hiatus (imposed for obvious reasons) Edinburgh-born Liverpool-based singer-songwriter Ross Wilson - AKA...
Joe Muggs
Thursday, 02 December 2021
The Californian label Stones Throw has long specialised in inseparably folding together the most profound and most wilfully...
Graham Fuller
Wednesday, 01 December 2021
The archetypal fascinating male in Jane Campion’s films – whether his allure for a woman owes to his earthy virility or...
Jonathan Geddes
Wednesday, 01 December 2021
There was a brief lapse in this lengthy set when Paul Weller stood up from the piano, walked towards centre stage and then...
Graham Fuller
Wednesday, 01 December 2021
Though sexual hypocrisy in modern-day Romania is the ostensible target of Bad Lack Banging or Loony Porn – a satirical drama...
Thomas H Green
Wednesday, 01 December 2021
The first of two December round-ups from theartsdesk on Vinyl runs the gamut from folk-tronic oddness to Seventies heavy...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 01 December 2021
Although it’s indirect, the overall feel of In Order To Know You points to where jazz and soul meet –  a space...
Saskia Baron
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Do we need another documentary about Nazi Germany? Yes when it is as cogent and subtle as Luke Holland’s Final Account. Made...
Matt Wolf
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
It seemed impossible and yet, the other evening, while idly flicking through emails, I learned the unimaginable: Stephen...
Ian Julier
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Even with a chill wind blowing from the Sussex Downs, this copper-bottomed Overture-Concerto-Symphony Sunday matinée was...
John Carvill
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Thomas Pynchon’s saturnine '70s novel Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) begins with “[a] screaming [that] comes across the sky. It...

★★★★★ BLU-RAY: OUT OF THE BLUE Beautiful restoration of Dennis Hopper's dark portrait of a family mired in abuse


★★★★★ IMOGEN COOPER, WIGMORE HALL A piano journey down the river of musical time

★★★ SCENES FROM THE WILD, MORGAN, CLS, PATERSON, SOUTHWARK CATHEDRAL Cheryl Frances-Hoad's 90-minute song cycle should be a winner when the words emerge

★★★ THE DANISH COLLECTOR: DELACROIX TO GAUGUIN Fabulous art in 'Exhibition on Screen'

★★★★ PETER ROBISON: FLYING BLIND The galling account of the 737 MAX Boeing tragedies

★★★ LUBAINA HAMID, TATE MODERN Carnival of characters looking forwards and backwards

★★ THE GOOD LIFE Nostalgic comedy with a surprising resonance 45 years on 

★★★★ PARIS PHOTO 2021 The Grand Palais Éphémère hosts a wonderful show

HE GAVE US MORE TO SEE Stephen Sondheim in memoriam

disc of the day

Album: Paul Weller - An Orchestrated Songbook

The Modfather adds another string to his bow with varying degrees of success


Hellbound, Netflix review - supernatural assassins usher in an age of terror

Nightmare alternative reality from director Yeon Sang-ho

The Beatles: Get Back, Disney+ review - 1969 revisited in Peter Jackson's three-part documentary

Eight hours of vintage Fab Four footage may be a trifle excessive

Death of England: Face to Face, National Theatre at Home review - anti-racist trilogy ends with a bang

Roy Williams and Clint Dyer bring their monologue sequence to a triumphant conclusion


theartsdesk at Tallinn's Black Nights Film Festival - still crazy after all these years

With its black carpet and audiences referred to as ‘wolves’, Black Nights is 25

The Power of the Dog review - of rawhide and roses

Jane Campion's 1920s Western nails the lid on rugged masculinity

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn review - viral venom in Bucharest

Radu Jude's satire takes the sword to Romania's hideous past and present

new music

10 Questions for musician and DJ Pete Tong

On his latest EP and his musical life thus far

Album: Paul Weller - An Orchestrated Songbook

The Modfather adds another string to his bow with varying degrees of success

Hedvig Mollestad, National Jazz Scene, Oslo review - watch out, there’s a storm about

Norway’s jazz individualist launches her new album ‘Tempest Revisited’ with a bang


Feng, CBSO, Wilson, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - effortless expression

Big emotions and unexpected connections, played with matchless style

Tchetuev, LPO, Larsen-Maguire, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne review - sunshine by the sea

Recreative energy from a conductor to watch, fantasy from a fine Ukrainian pianist

Imogen Cooper, Wigmore Hall review - calm waters run deep

A piano journey down the river of musical time


The Valkyrie, English National Opera review - fitfully flickering flames

Consistently fine orchestra, singing from strong to strenuous, clear but patchy staging

The Cunning Little Vixen, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - nature, large as life

Janáček's natural wonder goes large, in a supercharged concert staging

Macbeth, Royal Opera review - bloody, bold, and resolute

A strong ensemble for Verdi’s tragedy, but Simon Keenlyside dominates


Stephen Sondheim in memoriam - he gave us more to see
A master gone but in no way and never to be forgotten
The Good Life, Richmond Theatre review - popular sitcom gets its own origin story
Tom, Barbara, Jerry and Margo are back in the '70s, but with a message for today


Past Present, Linbury Theatre review - historic, but very much alive

Yorke Dance Project premieres the final work of Robert Cohan

Ballet Black, Linbury Theatre review - an essential part of the landscape

Twenty years on, the pity is that it's still necessary for this excellent company to exist

Curated by Carlos, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - a star turn

Carlos Acosta and Alessandra Ferri show the young things how it's done


The Good Life, Richmond Theatre review - popular sitcom gets its own origin story

Tom, Barbara, Jerry and Margo are back in the '70s, but with a message for today

Alfie Brown, Soho Theatre review - a contrarian on great form

Mental health and male privilege examined

Ahir Shah, Soho Theatre review - lockdown laid bare

Disappointing show feels like a work in progress


Peter Robison: Flying Blind review – a story of decline and crawl

The galling account of the 737 MAX Boeing tragedies

Lucie Elven: The Weak Spot review - a cryptic modern fable

This study in manipulation asks what happens when our weaknesses are weaponised

Sarah Moss: The Fell review - a dark night on the hills

What happens when you go missing in a pandemic?

visual arts

The Courtauld Gallery - the old place, just better

After a three-year redevelopment, one of the UK's finest galleries is better than ever

Lubaina Himid, Tate Modern review – more explication please

A carnival of characters looking forwards as well as backwards

The Danish Collector: Delacroix to Gauguin review - fabulous art, not sure about the framing

Exhibition on Screen offers a catch-up for those who missed the RA show

latest comments

Agreed, a masterpiece. Jonny Greenwood's...

Lol, how to make a review about a thing you know...

Lovely tribute, Matt. Thank you. We all have our...

This a very in depth interview. Charles Lloyd is...

Gosh, this looks fun! We'll be dancing to this at...

Yes! I loved Shetland, but season 6 is tiresome...

Following on from what Juan Martinez said, I...

My problem with the tale was not that it was...


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