wed 02/12/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Sarah Kent
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
Hail the Dark Lioness (Somnyama Ngonyama in Zulu) is a powerful celebration of black identity. These dramatic assertions of selfhood are more than just striking self portraits,...
Demetrios Matheou
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
For so much of the year, Tenet was cited as the film that was going to save cinema – the tentpole extravaganza that would draw virus-conscious punters back to the big...
Liz Thomson
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Songs from Home has been an anchor-point almost since the beginning of lockdown for many people, all of us invited into the singer’s sun-dappled Virginia...
Graham Fuller
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
It was around the time of the 14th century Black Death that the word “corruption” – from the Latin corruptus, the past participle of corrumpere, “to mar, bribe, destroy” – was...
Guy Oddy
Wednesday, 02 December 2020
The Covid pandemic has meant, with both performance and recording opportunities at a minimum, that many musicians have had to apply a bit of lateral thinking to keep their...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
Throughout its preceding five episodes, The Undoing (Sky Atlantic) has skilfully, if a little shamelessly, kept the fickle finger of suspicion in perpetual motion. Though Hugh...
Boyd Tonkin
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
It began as a Christmas present in the bleakest of winters. In December 1939, as war engulfed Europe, Bertolt Brecht sent a...
Thomas H Green
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
Welcome to the penultimate 2020 edition of the world’s vastest, most musically wide-ranging, regularly posted, online vinyl...
Lydia Bunt
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
As much as we would like it to, writing can never fully recapture someone who is gone. This we learn all too effectively in...
Daniel Baksi
Tuesday, 01 December 2020
In his exclusive half-hour-plus interview for distributor Second Run, the affable Tsai Ming-Liang makes a striking admission...
India Lewis
Monday, 30 November 2020
Zaina Arafat’s debut details the trials and tribulations of its first generation American-Palestinian narrator, desperately...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 30 November 2020
The third film in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe quintet (BBC One) took for its subject the real-life story of Leroy Logan, the...
Miranda Heggie
Monday, 30 November 2020
As our friends across the pond celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday, a mix of music from America kicked off the BBC Scottish...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 30 November 2020
When in June 2019 the BBC announced plans to restrict free TV licences to households with at least one person aged over 75...
Aleks Sierz
Monday, 30 November 2020
Classical murder mysteries end with a neat solution — and with the arrest of the perpetrator. Postmodern murder mysteries...
Mark Kidel
Monday, 30 November 2020
Odin’s ravens Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory) are the great Norse god’s messengers, at the heart of a myth that was...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 29 November 2020
Fifty years after their first album The Garden Of Jane Delawney was issued in April 1970, Trees seem to be better known than...
Joe Muggs
Sunday, 29 November 2020
As with so much in these unprecedented times, online performance is evolving, and fast: different approaches are becoming...
Saskia Baron
Sunday, 29 November 2020
The BFI has done an excellent job of giving La Haine the 4k restoration treatment under the vigilant eye of the...
 

★★★★ SMALL AXE: RED, WHITE AND BLUE, BBC ONE Sobering real-life story of police officer Leroy Logan is third film in Steve McQueen's quintet

★★★★★ PATRICK BARWISE, PETER YORK: THE WAR AGAINST THE BBC We won't know what we've got until it's gone

★★★ SIGUR ROS - ODIN'S RAVEN MAGIC Music for Norse myths

★★★★ WHAT A CARVE UP! BARN THEATRE ONLINE Film adaptation of Jonathan Coe’s 1994 bestseller is a postmodern masterpiece

THEARTSDESK ON VINYL 61: Amy Winehouse, Krust, Motörhead, Extrawelt, Sade, Chase and Status and more

★★★ ZAINA ARAFAT: YOU EXIST TOO MUCH Second-generation love addiction

★★★ DUA LIPA'S STUDIO 2054 Pop sensation locked into online spectacle

★★★★ GOODBYE, DRAGON INN BY TSAI MING-LIANG A poetic tribute to cinema-going itself

disc of the day

Album: Nick Cave & Nicholas Lens - L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S.

Cave doesn’t stray too far with his chamber opera collaboration

tv

What a Carve Up!, Barn Theatre online review – ingenious whodunnit

Film adaptation of Jonathan Coe’s 1994 bestseller is a postmodern masterpiece

film

Mank review – David Fincher’s brilliant, bitter-sweet paean to Hollywood’s Golden Age

Gary Oldman is on top form as Citizen Kane’s scathing screenwriter, Herman Mankiewicz

Collective review - waging war on corruption

Scarifying documentary about murderous bribery in Romania's health system

Blu-ray: Goodbye, Dragon Inn

A poetic tribute to cinema-going itself from Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang

new music

Album: Nick Cave & Nicholas Lens - L.I.T.A.N.I.E.S.

Cave doesn’t stray too far with his chamber opera collaboration

classical

Isata Kanneh-Mason, BBCSSO, Gourlay online review - give thanks for lockdown concerts

A taste of modern America followed by sumptuous Beethoven

First Person: Avi Avital on 'Art of the Mandolin'

Master of an exquisite instrument turns to works written specifically for it

opera

L'enfant et les sortilèges, VOPERA, LPO, Reynolds online – Ravel and Colette reimagined

Through the laptop screen and what the child found there, in a brilliant take on a classic

The Seven Deadly Sins, Opera North online review - viscerally thrilling

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's indictment of capitalism in a vibrant new production

Ariodante, Royal Opera online review – stylish, but confined

Accomplished ensemble tries its best to cross the footlights in livestream-only Handel

theatre

What a Carve Up!, Barn Theatre online review – ingenious whodunnit
Film adaptation of Jonathan Coe’s 1994 bestseller is a postmodern masterpiece
15 Heroines, Jermyn Street Theatre online review - putting the women back into Greek myth
Scorching adaptation of Ovid is a welcome theatrical respite from lockdown
Death of England: Delroy, National Theatre review - a furious if fleetingly seen sequel
Opening and closing night were the same for vital solo show

dance

The Seven Deadly Sins, Opera North online review - viscerally thrilling

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's indictment of capitalism in a vibrant new production

The Royal Ballet: Live, Within the Golden Hour review - stunning, joyous dance

Setback? What setback? Restrictions seem to push this company to ever greater things

Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - onward and upward

Carlos Acosta sets out his stall as artistic director of BRB

Books

Annie Ernaux: A Man's Place review - an intimate portrait, necessarily incomplete

In a memoir built on absence, France's leading writer inspects the life of her father

Zaina Arafat: You Exist Too Much review - second-generation love addiction

Self-conscious therapeutic development cannot help but recall the past

Patrick Barwise and Peter York: The War Against the BBC review - we won't know what we've got until it's gone

No government has attacked the BBC more determinedly than 21st century Conservatives

visual arts

Zanele Muholi, Tate Modern review - photography as protest

Pictures so confrontational they knock you sideways

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

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