sun 22/05/2022

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Sunday, 22 May 2022
Interesting for the history of music, but not for music? Passing acquaintance with Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers, a grand opera by a woman at a time (the early 1900s) when...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 22 May 2022
“Touched by Rodin in a Paris Museum” is a 14-minute consideration of exactly what its title says: the impact of encountering Auguste Rodin’s work in person. The composition...
Graham Rickson
Sunday, 22 May 2022
Parallel Mothers unfolds at a daringly slow pace, and there are moments in the first half of Pedro Almodóvar’s 2021 drama when you wish that things would speed up. And then you’re...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 21 May 2022
One of the more heartwarming images in the news recently has been seeing Ukrainian refugees being welcomed by their eastern European neighbours. But there’s been very few mentions...
Mert Dilek
Saturday, 21 May 2022
First staged in 2018, Bartlett Sher’s Lincoln Center Theater production of My Fair Lady is London’s latest import from Broadway, coming here hot on the heels of ...
Graham Fuller
Saturday, 21 May 2022
Terence Davies’s Benediction is a haunting but uneven biopic of the World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon and a drama about the burden of incalculable loss. If sorrow and futility...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 21 May 2022
Harry Styles’ previous two albums sounded like someone rifling pleasantly through the history of pop and rock, but always...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 20 May 2022
“I live to survive another heartache/I live to survive another mistake,” roars a sold-out Heaven. It’s a new song but...
John Tomlinson
Friday, 20 May 2022
It has been a difficult couple of years for us in the world of opera, losing several of our most respected and admired...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 20 May 2022
Only 36 years later, Tom Cruise is back with his eagerly-awaited Top Gun sequel (it was delayed a couple of years by Covid...
Heather Neill
Friday, 20 May 2022
The young Indian man stepping towards us on the vast Olivier stage is unremarkable enough, slight and boyish in manner. When...
Liz Thomson
Friday, 20 May 2022
I have to confess, it’s a long time since I’ve thought about the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band and a new album serves as a...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 19 May 2022
One effect of the film I Get Knocked Down, a playfully constructed journey around the life of Chumbawamba vocalist Dunstan...
Bernard Hughes
Thursday, 19 May 2022
I came for the Schubert and it didn’t disappoint. Which was good, as the Mozart and Stravinsky did, a little. I came to know...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Thursday, 19 May 2022
The Innocents made a splash at Cannes in 2021 and it’s easy to see why. The Norwegian supernatural thriller, ...
Graham Fuller
Thursday, 19 May 2022
The first film rendering of Christopher Isherwood’s experiences in early 1930s Berlin, I Am a Camera has been restored and...
Rachel Halliburton
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Anne-Marie Duff blazes across the stage like a meteorite in Beth Steel’s excoriating drama about the changes sweeping...
Gary Naylor
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Barry Gibb was at the considerable peak of his era-defining songwriting powers when he provided the song that played over...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Toronto’s Tallies have acknowledged their fondness for Aztec Camera, The Smiths and The Sundays. Add Cocteau Twins into the...

★★★ TOP GUN: MAVERICK Make sure you see it at an IMAX

★★★★★ EVERYTHING EVERYTHING - RAW DATA FEEL Manchester indie art-rockers experiment successfully with musical AI

★★★★ THE FATHER AND THE ASSASSIN, NATIONAL THEATRE Gandhi's killer puts his case in a bold, whirlwind production

★★★★ TALLIES, OLD BLUE LAST Canadian quintet rejuvenates indie prototypes

★★★ MAVIS STAPLES, LEVON HELM - CARRY ME HOME Good enough gospel, a little too bland

'HOW THAT MUSIC WAS CREATED REMAINS TO ME A COMPLETE MYSTERY': John Tomlinson on fellow Lancastrian Harrison Birtwistle

★★★★ BERRUT, ECO, GUZZO, CADOGAN HALL Schubert with a smile

★ I GET KNOCKED DOWN, BRIGHTON FESTIVAL Chumbawamba singer's film is lively, funny and thought-provoking

★★★★ THE HOUSE OF SHADES, ALMEIDA THEATRE Anne-Marie Duff blazes in Beth Steel's excoriating new drama

★★★★★ THE ESSEX SERPENT, APPLE TV+ Tradition and superstition vs the march of progress

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Parallel Mothers

Multi-layered meditation on truth, honesty and friendship


The Essex Serpent, Apple TV+ review - tradition and superstition versus the march of progress

The battle of ideas comes to the East Coast in exquisitely shot treatment of Sarah Perry's novel

Ozark, Series 4 Part 2, Netflix review - crumbling consciences and a last stand

No spoilers, hopefully: farewell to this superbly-acted corruption saga

The Staircase, NOW review - addictive dramatisation of real-life murder investigation

Colin Firth visits the dark side as suspected killer Michael Peterson


DVD/Blu-ray: Parallel Mothers

Multi-layered meditation on truth, honesty and friendship

Benediction review - the world's worst wounds

Terence Davies leavens his sombre biopic of Siegfried Sassoon with Wildean badinage

new music

Music Reissues Weekly: Patty Waters - You Loved Me

First-ever vinyl outing for the jazz auteur’s astonishing, originally shelved 1970 album

Album: Harry Styles - Harry's House

Mellow-funkin' and often likeable third album from the One Direction star

MØ, Heaven, London review - snappy, sexy and energised

Danish pop star plays a tight set to a devoted partisan crowd


Berrut, ECO, Guzzo, Cadogan Hall review - Schubert with a smile

Sparkling symphony makes up for a slightly lacklustre concerto

Vondráček, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - mixed messages

Fine detail in Liszt and Mahler, but drama was lacking

Dandy, BBC Philharmonic, New, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - energy and fierce attention

Gustav and Alma Mahler, and pictorial music, are linked in a fascinating programme


The Wreckers, Glyndebourne review - no masterpiece, but vividly sung and played

Blowsy, intriguing grand opera by Ethel Smyth has full theatrical impact

'How that music was created remains to me a complete mystery': John Tomlinson on fellow Lancastrian Harrison Birtwistle

The great bass remembers the composer who wrote two roles with his voice in mind

Fidelio, Insula Orchestra, Barbican review - truth and justice brought to light

Sturdy singing and human drama enrich a fuss-free staging of Beethoven's only opera


My Fair Lady, London Coliseum review - tasteful revival powered by stirring performances
Bartlett Sher's Broadway production comes to London with aplomb
The Father and the Assassin, National Theatre review - Gandhi's killer puts his case in a bold, whirlwind production
Anupama Chandrasekhar argues, with humour and invention, against political extremism
The House of Shades, Almeida Theatre review - Anne-Marie Duff blazes in Beth Steel's excoriating new drama
Inter-generational story from a Northern mining town melds naturalism and tragedy


Classical CDs: Toyshops, begging gods and a good year for Austrian music

Classical piano music, French symphonies and a big box of ballets

Dance for Ukraine, London Coliseum, online review - a gala to remember

Swiftly-assembled charity effort demonstrates dancers' engagement with the world

The Weathering/Solo Echo/DGV, Royal Ballet review - the dancer as chameleon

Strong one-act works by Kyle Abraham and Crystal Pite show the dancers at their adaptive best


Andy Zaltzman, Soho Theatre review - satire on the hoof

Setting the world to rights, one joke at a time

Brandon Wardell, Soho Theatre review - US comic wings it

UK debut show is disjointed and uneven

Stratagem With Alan Partridge, touring review - he's back as a lifestyle guru

Steve Coogan's creation doesn't quite hit the spot


Laura Beatty: Looking for Theophrastus review - adventures in psychobiography

A portrait of Lesbos and its ‘lost’ philosopher

Emily St John Mandel: Sea of Tranquility review - time travel, pandemics and the simulation hypothesis

A compelling and charming novel but the characters are a little thin

latest comments

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prolific, consistent, musical genius.


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