thu 02/02/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Saskia Baron
Thursday, 02 February 2023
You Resemble Me is the very definition of a passion project, and all the better for it. First-time director Dina Amer was a journalist working for Vice News. She...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 02 February 2023
Culture which arrives from the margins to the mainstream is a classic phenomenon. In the case of Sam Steiner’s Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons it has taken almost a decade for...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 02 February 2023
The Waeve is the debut album from life partners Rose Elinor Dougall (long ago in The Pipettes) and Graham Coxon (of Blur), working with instrumentalist James Ford (of Simian...
Aleks Sierz
Wednesday, 01 February 2023
Do the right thing! But doing the right thing isn’t easy – especially if you are a teen. And a female teen who is being pressurised by your mother and your school teacher. It...
Graham Fuller
Wednesday, 01 February 2023
At their best, horror movies reflect destabilisation caused by cracks in the social fabric. The crack indicated in the documentarist Andrey Paounov’s fiction debut January is the...
Tim Cumming
Wednesday, 01 February 2023
Lisa O’Neill is a part of the new wave of Irish contemporary folk artists, one that encompasses the likes of Lankum, Ye Vagabonds and John Francis Flynn, all of them putting their...
David Nice
Tuesday, 31 January 2023
It’s dangerous to claim a sense of absolute rightness about a musical performance; that could mean no more than responding...
Helen Hawkins
Tuesday, 31 January 2023
Frantic Assembly’s Othello, originally co-developed with the Lyric in 2008, is back in its third iteration, and it’s still...
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 31 January 2023
Watching these harrowing films in rapid succession allows us to watch a great director’s confidence develop at close hand;...
Gavin Dixon
Monday, 30 January 2023
This concert was advertised as the completion of an Elgar symphony cycle, though in the absence of the reconstructed Third,...
Aleks Sierz
Monday, 30 January 2023
Ever been to a queer club? You know, drag cabaret night at Madame Jojo’s, or the Black Cap or Her Upstairs. No? Well, not to...
Robert Beale
Monday, 30 January 2023
Ben Gernon’s calm and clear way of conducting an orchestra (something he once told me he’d observed in the work of his...
Kieron Tyler
Monday, 30 January 2023
Reflections on how the past relates to now suffuse The Candle and the Flame. The album’s closing track is “When I Was a...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 29 January 2023
“Ka Huma” by Ivo Nilakreshna sounds as if a jazz band was taking on rock ’n’ roll. There’s a swing and sway, busy rhythm...
David Nice
Sunday, 29 January 2023
It’s coming up for two years since some of us watched the first three seasons of what’s increasingly coming to seem like...
Nick Hasted
Saturday, 28 January 2023
Spielberg sometimes directed The Fabelmans through a film of tears, as he recreated his cinema’s origins. Lightly...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 28 January 2023
 Roger Norrington: The Complete Erato Recordings (Erato)Richard Osborne’s booklet essay contains some telling words...
Sebastian Scotney
Saturday, 28 January 2023
A Short Diary, a duo album for piano and drums, contains music of astonishing directness, calm and concentration. The story...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 27 January 2023
A film telling just the story of photographer Nan Goldin’s campaign against Purdue Pharmacy would have been worth the ticket...

★★★★ SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND, ROYAL COURT Loud and triumphantly proud

★★★★★ ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED Nan Goldin's fight against the makers of Oxycontin is as gutsy as her work in Laura Poitras’s superb documentary

PADANG MOONRISE The Birth of the Modern Indonesian Recording Industry

★★★★ JANUARY The end is nigh in vampirised Bulgaria


★★★★★ DVD: BABYLON BERLN, SEASON FOUR Golden threads in Weimar Republic labyrinth

disc of the day

Album: The Waeve - The Waeve

The debut album from Rose Elinor Dougall and Blur's Graham Coxon mingles the vital with the wafting


DVD: Babylon Berlin, Season Four

Golden threads through a labyrinth of Weimar Republic corruption

Stewart, Sky Documentaries review - touching and insightful portrait of Scottish race ace

Fascinating documentary explores the triumphs and tragedies of motor racing


You Resemble Me review - complex portrait of a troubled young woman

Egyptian-American journalist Dina Amer's directorial debut, drawn from life

January review - the end is nigh in vampirised Bulgaria

A chilling post-Soviet folk horror allegory set in bleak midwinter

Blu-ray: The War Trilogy - Three Films by Andrzej Wajda

Three bleak but spectacular post-war classics, in gleaming new transfers

new music

Album: The Waeve - The Waeve

The debut album from Rose Elinor Dougall and Blur's Graham Coxon mingles the vital with the wafting

Album: Lisa O'Neill - All of This Is Chance

The Irish singer-songwriter delves into the natural world for her magical new album

Album: Robert Forster - The Candle and the Flame

At an uncertain time, the former Go-Between takes stock


Ólafsson, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - spirit of delight

A curate's-egg turn from the Icelandic pianist in Schumann followed by magisterial Elgar

Gerhardt, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - calm and clear conducting

Maybe not perfect, but when things worked, they worked beautifully


First Person: soprano Soraya Mafi on why Glyndebourne's tour cancellation is disastrous

Though Arts Council England has partly reinstated English National Opera's grant, its cuts still have devastating consequences for the regions

Least Like the Other, Irish National Opera, Linbury Theatre review - the harrowing of Rosemary Kennedy

Composer Brian Irvine, director/designer Netia Jones and top performers mesmerise

A Child in Striped Pyjamas, The Cockpit review - a brave tackling of a Holocaust story

The celebrated novel is brought to the stage by a young composer with ambition


Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, Harold Pinter Theatre review - cool cast chills the drama
West End transfer for Sam Steiner’s fringe classic does the play no favours
Two Billion Beats, Orange Tree Theatre review - lively, but overly idealistic
Sonali Bhattacharyya’s coming-of-age drama returns with a new cast
Othello, Lyric Hammersmith review - Frantic Assembly's high-energy take on the Moor
Shakespeare's tragedy as a tight thriller, with its racist elements fully exposed


Julie Cunningham & Co, Sadler's Wells review - a fine piece of work, with added spice

The other Cunningham stakes out their territory in contemporary dance, and the non-binary debate

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, Coliseum review - the story of a deluded prince

The corps de ballet take the laurels in Derek Deane's dependably fine production

Best of 2022: Dance

It might not be business as usual, but memorable work has come through


Alex Edelman, Menier Chocolate Factory review - London run for unmissable off-Broadway hit

How a Jewish standup found the funny side of a roomful of white nationalists

Best of 2022: Comedy

The Edinburgh Fringe was back - and so were some memorable shows


'I let it emerge': an interview with Fiona Benson on the cusp of the TS Eliot Prize announcement

The poet discusses her new book, mayflies, motherhood, and memory

Jaan Kross: A Book of Falsehoods review - plague, power and deception in 16th century Tallinn

At last, the translation of volume three in the Estonian master's great historical trilogy

Best of 2022: Books

Our top titles before we turn the page on another year

visual arts

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed review - superb documentary about a campaigning artist

Nan Goldin's fight against the makers of Oxycontin is as gutsy as her work

Spain and the Hispanic World, Royal Academy review - a monumental survey

The refurbishment of New York's Hispanic Society provides a unique opportunity to see its treasures

Best of 2022: Visual Arts

Museums and galleries are no longer afraid of giving women major shows


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters