wed 25/05/2022

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 25 May 2022
The challenge for the makers of Das Boot is to keep finding new ways to keep the show moving forwards and outwards without losing touch with its foundations in World War Two...
Miranda Heggie
Tuesday, 24 May 2022
After two years of Covid-affected performances – even though there was a full season last year – Glyndebourne's annual festival is finally back in full glory. Following the big...
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 24 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...
Sarah Kent
Monday, 23 May 2022
Cornelia Parker’s early installations are as fresh and as thought provoking as when they were made. Her Tate Britain retrospective opens with Thirty Pieces of Silver (pictured...
Sebastian Scotney
Monday, 23 May 2022
“I suppose you’re going to ask all the usual questions...?” When Keith Jarrett was interviewed by Alyn Shipton for the very first time, the pianist, who could often be tetchy in...
Aleks Sierz
Monday, 23 May 2022
Theatre is slowly recovering from the effects of the pandemic, and many shows which were cancelled because of the first lockdown are now finally getting a staging. The latest is...
Tim Cumming
Monday, 23 May 2022
As break-up albums go, Heidi Talbot’s new set knocks that tightly wound ball of heartbreak, separation and release into the...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...

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

★★★★ BENEDICTION Terence Davies leavens his sombre Sassoon biopic with Wildean badinage


PATTY WATERS - YOU LOVED ME The jazz auteur’s astonishing, originally shelved 1970 album

★★★★ THE WRECKERS, GLYNDEBOURNE No masterpiece, but vividly sung and played

★★★★ MØ, HEAVEN The Danish pop star plays a tight set to a devoted partisan crowd

★★★★ MY FAIR LADY, LONDON COLISEUM Tasteful revival powered by stirring performances

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Parallel Mothers

Multi-layered meditation on truth, honesty, and friendship


Das Boot, Series 3, Sky Atlantic review - submarine warfare finds new horizons

Look out U-boats, Commander Swinburne is coming for you

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


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

Album: Heidi Talbot - Sing it for a Lifetime

A keeper of a break-up album

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


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


Le nozze di Figaro, Glyndebourne review - fabulous singing and a classy production

Superb music making against the backdrop of a sumptuous Sevillian set

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


Lotus Beauty, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs review – uneasy mix of comedy and tragedy
Tamasha play about a Punjabi family-run salon could do with a makeover
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


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

latest comments

What a sad old man. Sure the music is great, but...

He does want us to take it THAT seriously, and...

Errr ...... There's quite a lot of humour...

I beg to differ. Hey, I don't care for EVERY Van...

Rather a harsh review. I attended the first night...

What's happened to him? He's exercising his...

Yes, but not this one. Not by a long shot. Sad.


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