sat 18/01/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Graham Rickson
Saturday, 18 January 2020
 Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Elgar (Decca)Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s debut album included a brilliantly punchy account of Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No 1 alongside various odds and sods...
India Lewis
Saturday, 18 January 2020
Published in the year following Orr’s death at the age of 57, Motherwell is an  analysis of the author’s childhood in Motherwell, on the outskirts of Glasgow, and her first...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 17 January 2020
If nothing else, you’d want to tune in to Cobra (Sky 1) for its cast. Robert Carlyle is steely and decisive as Prime Minister Robert Sutherland, his indispensable fixer Anna...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 17 January 2020
Do you hear the people sing? In recent months, you're more likely to have heard news stories about the longest running West End musical than the actual music. Stephen Sondheim –...
David Nice
Friday, 17 January 2020
Horns fanfared, coasted and chorused through yet another Philharmonia winner of a concert to match the impressive planning of its Weimar season last year. Between the dark-woods...
Jill Chuah Masters
Friday, 17 January 2020
Just Mercy, the latest film from Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), is based on a New York Times bestseller. It has a star-studded cast. It’s emotionally moving as well as...
Jenny Gilbert
Friday, 17 January 2020
Resolution! is an annual programme at The Place (home of London Contemporary Dance School), devoted to showcasing new...
Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 17 January 2020
Trey Edward Shults’s extraordinary, music-driven third feature, set in a sparkling south Florida, stars a wonderful Kelvin...
Liz Thomson
Friday, 17 January 2020
Bombay Bicycle Club have a knack for quasi-prophetic titles. Their fourth album, So Long, See You Tomorrow, released in...
David Nice
Thursday, 16 January 2020
Admirable as it was of the London Philharmonic Orchestra to launch its concerts in 2020 with a performance celebrating the...
Demetrios Matheou
Thursday, 16 January 2020
With Harvey Weinstein about to go on trial, the timing is particularly apt for a film that outlines the fall from grace of...
Veronica Lee
Thursday, 16 January 2020
When Frank Skinner did a London run of new material last year, the show was billed as a taster of a longer touring version....
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 16 January 2020
What a lovely surprise. A debut album with its own sensibility that’s come out of the blue. Aoife Nessa Frances is from...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
It’s an intriguing question. If a new Messiah appeared today, what kind of reception could he (if it was a he) expect?...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Sky Atlantic is usually where you go for big-hitting dramas, so this quartet of observational documentaries is an unexpected...
David Nice
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
"What is it about Mozart?" asked Sviatoslav Richter in 1982. "Is there a pianist alive who really manages to play him well...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Filmmaker Tom Costello’s opening question in this quixotic but fascinating documentary for Channel 4 deftly skewered the...
Miranda Heggie
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Alongside the heartfelt tenderness, there is an emotional weight - as well as a compositional sophistication - prevalent in...
Tom Birchenough
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
The Cakemaker is Ofir Raul Graizer’s debut feature, and the film must somehow reflect the parabola of the Israeli-born...

★★★ SUKANYA, RFH Ravi Shankar's bright-eyed, varied fable

★★★ BOMBSHELL Drama charts an opening salvo in the fightback against predatory media monsters

★★★ MESSIAH, NETFLIX Con-artist or the Second Coming?


★★★★ DVD: THE CAKEMAKER  Israeli debut is a sensitive study of grief - and the joy of culinary creation

★★★★ THIS IS OUR FAMILY, SKY ATLANTIC Can Emma and Tony live happily ever after?

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Cobra, Sky 1 review - entertaining mix of political mischief and cosmic chaos

Robert Carlyle's Tory prime minister battles internal and external crises

Messiah, Netflix review - con-artist or the Second Coming?

It's sometimes sluggish, but it keeps asking provocative questions

This Is Our Family, Sky Atlantic review - can Emma and Tony live happily ever after?

New documentary series digs deep into the lives of its subjects


Just Mercy review - soul-stirring true story about race and justice in America

Biopic retells a powerful narrative about perseverance in the face of injustice

Waves review - pulsating, rapturous, devastating

Teenage meltdown to a superb soundtrack: semi-autobiographical brilliance from Trey Edward Shults

Bombshell review – powerful, to a point

Drama charts an opening salvo in the fightback against predatory media monsters

new music

Album: Bombay Bicycle Club - Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

All grown up now, and back on their bikes

Album: Aoife Nessa Frances - Land of No Junction

Irish newcomer’s translucent debut album is an early candidate for 2020’s best-of lists

theartsdesk in Brussels - jazz, openness and youth at the start of the cultural year

A packed cultural calendar and poignant reminders of affection for the British


Elgar, Scarlatti, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Enough sonatas for a year, a young cellist faces the inevitable, and festive fun from Vienna

Watkins, Clayton, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - a rainbow cornucopia

A modest new masterpiece by Mark-Anthony Turnage fits snugly in a perfect programme

Elisabeth Leonskaja, Wigmore Hall review - pure musical essence

A thousand things learned, and felt, in Mozart - and Schoenberg - from a master pianist


Sukanya, RFH review - Ravi Shankar's bright-eyed, varied fable

Fine performances, but crude miking suggests this would work better as a chamber opera

prisoner of the state, Barbican review - beauty, but where is the drama?

David Lang's efficient homage to Beethoven can't eclipse the original

'Divinity is all around us': soprano Susanna Hurrell on Ravi Shankar's 'Sukanya'

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Indian master's birth with a return to his opera


Les Misérables, Sondheim Theatre review - join in our crusade
New blood courses through the West End's longest-running musical
Scrounger, Finborough Theatre review - uncomfortable play tackles disability discrimination
Athena Stevens confronts the challenges faced by wheelchair-users
Magic Goes Wrong, Vaudeville Theatre review - entertaining spoof
Mischief Theatre and Penn & Teller mash-up


Resolution 2020, The Place review - new dance for a new decade

You take your chances with this annual bran tub of novice choreography

Le Corsaire, London Coliseum review - hugely entertaining

Don't mind the plot. ENB dance up a storm in this exuberant pirate caper

Best of 2019: Dance

In a year dominated by big names and big companies, delights were found off-piste


Frank Skinner, Garrick Theatre review - a masterclass in owning the room

Pleasing mix of personal and professional anecdotes

Best of 2019: Comedy

My (mostly) highs and (a few) lows


Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

Challenge The Authority in this 'Mad Max on mushrooms' renegade romp

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to Celebrate Brighton Festival!

An eclectic line-up spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, comedy, literature and spoken word could be yours with boutique hotel and exquisite meals included

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

Chainsawing the brain-eaters as you battle against the tide of the undead

visual arts

Best of 2019: Visual Arts

The exhibitions we loved most over the past 12 months

Caravaggio & Bernini, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - high emotion in 17th century Rome

Painting and sculpture vie for supremacy in the eternal city

Dora Maar, Tate Modern review - how women disappear

Stunning photographs and fabulous photomontages by overlooked and elusive artist


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