tue 28/11/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Matt Wolf
Tuesday, 28 November 2023
Familiarity has bred something quite fantastic with the Old Vic Christmas Carol, which is back for a seventh season and merits ringing all available bells - those and a lost love...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 28 November 2023
It was as long ago as January last year that the prolific Williams brothers, Jack and Harry, delivered their absorbing Australian Outback thriller The Tourist. Hitherto, product...
Robert Beale
Tuesday, 28 November 2023
John Storgårds found himself literally facing both ways for the third item on the BBC Philharmonic’s programme on Saturday: towards the audience, with one music stand in front of...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 28 November 2023
The vast and various spaces of Frank Gehry’s monumental Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris suit the needs of the thrilling Mark Rothko exhibition now inhabiting its labyrinthine...
Graham Fuller
Tuesday, 28 November 2023
British anti-war films inspired by “the war that” failed “to end all wars” include Oh! What a Lovely War, The Return of the Soldier, A Month in the Country, Regeneration, Mrs...
Matt Wolf
Monday, 27 November 2023
The National Theatre these days seems to be going from hit-to-hit, with transfers aplenty and full houses at home. And there's every reason to expect that this fizzy adaptation of...
David Nice
Monday, 27 November 2023
Singular in its variousness, this is a three-act ballet that need some unpicking. No wonder those hooked on first...
Jonathan Geddes
Monday, 27 November 2023
There was a moment towards the end of this exuberant evening when Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson compared the show to a pantomime...
Christopher Lambton
Monday, 27 November 2023
It is not every day that a new choral work by a living composer can confidently be labelled a masterpiece. Yet this is what...
Gary Naylor
Monday, 27 November 2023
In Annus Mirabilis, Philip Larkin wrote,"So life was never better than In nineteen sixty-three (Though just too...
David Nice
Monday, 27 November 2023
Sometimes all the stars align in musical performance. There’s no soprano more alive to the expression of musical joy and...
Kieron Tyler
Monday, 27 November 2023
After leaving Midlake while recording their fourth album, Tim Smith said he was pursuing music under the name Harp. That was...
India Lewis
Sunday, 26 November 2023
Coming at the end of a long year’s gigging, This Is The Kit’s performance at the Barbican on Saturday night was an excellent...
Rachel Halliburton
Sunday, 26 November 2023
The Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottír found her work put under a strangely unforgiving lens when it was featured in...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 26 November 2023
"Both of us have always enjoyed listening to dance music, and we wanted to interpret disco in our own way. We wanted to make...
Boyd Tonkin
Saturday, 25 November 2023
The German composer Detlev Glanert, taught by Hans Werner Henze and a past collaborator with Oliver Knussen, received a...
Helen Hawkins
Saturday, 25 November 2023
The O2 has to be the K2 of comedy peaks: a vast ovoid drum of a place where those right at the back have to be content with...
David Nice
Saturday, 25 November 2023
Fascinating for the history of opera, less so for opera. The most interesting thing about Gazzaniga’s take on the libertine...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 25 November 2023
 Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1-5 Garrick Ohlsson (piano), Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra/Sir Donald Runnicles (...

★★★ OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR, SOUTHWARK PLAYHOUSE Satirical wit and righteous anger


★★★★ CATRIN FINCH & AOIFE NI BHRIAIN - DOUBLE YOU Divine harp-and-violin duets

★★★★ GHOSTS, SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE A claustrophobic descent into purgatory

★★★★ THIS IS THE KIT, BARBICAN A beautifully orchestrated end to a tour

★★★★★ WOMEN IN REVOLT!, TATE BRITAIN Protesting with all their might in both art and life

SOFT CELL - NON-STOP EROTIC CABARET Marc Almond & Dave Ball’s landmark 1981 debut

★★★ GAZZANIGA'S DON GIOVANNI, ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC A modest one-acter overloaded

★★★★ MORISON, IMMLER, BBCSO, BYCHKOV, BARBICAN New songs and old forms

disc of the day

Blu-ray: King and Country

The class war rears its ugly head on the Western Front in Joseph Losey's bleak classic


Boat Story, BBC One review - once upon a time in Yorkshire

New Williams brothers thriller is violent, far-fetched and extremely watchable

The Crown, Season 6, Netflix review - royal epic in a vain search for authenticity

It looks like news photos coming to life, but the dialogue and concept still jar


Blu-ray: King and Country

The class war rears its ugly head on the Western Front in Joseph Losey's bleak classic

The Eternal Daughter review - tricksy ghost story with a poignant emotional core

Tilda Swinton (and her dog) excel in Joanna Hogg's latest

Maestro review - the infinite variety of Leonard Bernstein

The music's well chosen, but Carey Mulligan shines brightest as Bernstein's wife Felicia

new music

CMAT, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow review - an evening of exuberance

The Dublin singer's tales of a toxic relationship were transformed into a party

Album: Harp - Albion

The exquisite comeback of former Midlake mainstay Tim Smith

This Is The Kit, Barbican review - familiarity and charm

A beautifully orchestrated end to a tour


Gazzaniga's Don Giovanni, Royal College of Music review - a modest one-acter overloaded

Good young singers get more opportunities than the actual work offers

Jephtha, Royal Opera review - uncomfortable sacrifice oratorio not seismic enough

Sobriety and darkness eclipse Handel's dramatic vividness, despite strong performances

theartsdesk at Wexford Festival Opera - four operas and a recital in one crazy day

Youth takes the comedy award in fringe delights alongside a well-done schlocky rarity


The Witches, National Theatre review - fun and lively but where's the heart?
Roald Dahl adaptation is busy to a fault but lacks emotion
Oh What A Lovely War, Southwark Playhouse review - 60 years on, the old warhorse can still bare its teeth
Blackeyed Theatre's touring production has its pros and cons, but is never less than entertaining


The Dante Project, Royal Ballet review - brave but flawed take on the Divine Comedy returns

Hell and Purgatory get vivid if diffuse music from Thomas Adès, but Heaven is pallid

The Limit, Linbury Theatre review - a dance-theatre romcom that lacks both rom and com

An attempt to amplify a playscript with dance suggests the play should be left to speak for itself

Anemoi / The Cellist, Royal Ballet review - a feast of music in a neat double bill

Rachmaninov and Elgar take the laurels in a brace of prize-winning one-act ballets


Trevor Noah: Off the Record, O2 review - welcome return to standup for the polyglot motormouth

Back on tour, the former TV host has lost none of his charisma and charm


Anne Michaels: Held review - one story across time

Fragments span the genration gap in this daring family saga of inheritance and trauma

Ishion Hutchinson: School of Instructions review - learning against estrangement

A vivid eulogy for the Jamaican soldiers of the British West Indies Regiment

Jesse Darling: Virgins review - going straight

A Turner Prize-nominee turns their hand to poetry with this visceral first collection


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