thu 15/04/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 15 April 2021
As Line of Duty aficionados debate the identity of H and wonder who DCI Joanne Davidson shares her DNA with, this new three-part series from BBC Two investigates the history of...
Mark Kidel
Thursday, 15 April 2021
The Master Musicians of Joujouka, described by William Burroughs as a “4000 year-old rock’n’roll band”, and recorded by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones in the late 1960s, have...
Graham Fuller
Thursday, 15 April 2021
Catch Us If You Can, the 1965 road movie starring Barbara Ferris and the eponymous drummer and guiding force of the Dave Clark Five, proved a more trenchant satire of capitalism...
Sarah Collins
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
Almost a year ago, in the midst of the first national lockdown, The Sunday Times broke the news that Boris Johnson had failed to attend five consecutive Cobra meetings in the lead...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
What may have happened here is that an intriguing book has been turned into a not so great TV series. Too Close was Natalie Daniels’s well-received first novel, and she has...
Jessica Duchen
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
I can’t deny that it’s great to be able to experience a recital by Benjamin Grosvenor live from the Barbican despite lockdown, streamed into your own home. The filming of this...
India Lewis
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Fifty Sounds is translator Polly Barton’s first novel, conceived as part of Fitzcarraldo’s annual essay prize. The book...
Thomas H Green
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
11 Past the Hour opens with its title song, a delicious, twangy, string-laden Nancy Sinatra Bond theme that never was. The...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 12 April 2021
If American music has a royal family, it’s surely the Seeger clan. Charles, the patriarch, the composer, musicologist and...
Lisa-Marie Ferla
Monday, 12 April 2021
There’s a line in “No Home”, the staggering centrepiece of Lady Dan’s debut album, that perhaps sums up the project. “Wolves...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 11 April 2021
Speaking to America’s Hit Parader magazine in August 1967, Frank Zappa said “If you want to learn how to play guitar, listen...
Tom Baily
Sunday, 11 April 2021
Since launching his directing career in 2011 with The Showdown, Park Hoon-jung has established himself as a promising...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 10 April 2021
Sequin is the screen name for the questing 16-year-old at the slowly awakening heart of Sequin in a Blue Room, a 2019...
David Nice
Saturday, 10 April 2021
There are so many good ideas, so much talented hard work from the singers of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme and...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 10 April 2021
 Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, Piano Concerto No. 4, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Lahav Shani (piano and conductor) (...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 10 April 2021
If there’s someone who could claim to have proved Arnold Schoenberg’s pithy phrase “If it is art, it is not for all” it was...
Bernard Hughes
Friday, 09 April 2021
The Polyphonic Concert Club is a collective of musicians – including Isata Kanneh-Mason and I Fagiolini – offering recorded...
Russ Coffey
Friday, 09 April 2021
A trend's been emerging, of late, for ageing rockers to actually sound younger on each new record. We saw it with AC/DC's...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 08 April 2021
I once went to see Motorhead, back in the days when real men didn’t wear earplugs, and afterwards it was if somebody had...

★★ NIGHT IN PARADISE Violent thriller bogged down by morose pensive sequences

★★★★ POLLY BARTON: FIFTY SOUNDS How to understand a language if you don't understand yourself

SINGER-SONGWRITER PEGGY SEEGER Still in the vanguard of her musical dynasty

★★★ THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS / MAHAGONNY SONGSPIEL, ROYAL OPERA Modern morality tales mesh uneasily

★★★ SEQUIN IN A BLUE ROOM Soullessness and sex in Sydney

★★★★ LADY DAN - I AM THE PROPHET Breaking free of patriarchy on Austin country-folk debut

★★★★ BENJAMIN GROSVENOR, BARBICAN Black magic and golden-age gorgeousness

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Catch Us If You Can

John Boorman's debut skewered the capitalist exploitation of youth culture


Too Close, ITV review - capable cast struggles with unrewarding material

Unconvincing TV treatment of Natalie Daniels novel

This is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist, Netflix - the last word (for now)

Three decades on and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum mystery is still hot


DVD/Blu-ray: Catch Us If You Can

John Boorman's debut skewered the capitalist exploitation of youth culture

Night in Paradise review - lukewarm bloodbath

Violent gangster thriller is bogged down by morose pensive sequences

Sequin in a Blue Room review - soullessness and sex in Sydney

Directing debut is grimly compelling if not always plausible

new music

The Master Musicians of Joujouka - a 4000 year-old rock'n'roll band

Healing music from the Rif Mountains of Morocco

Album: Imelda May - 11 Past the Hour

Irish star makes a rare musical blunder into whiffy 'classic rock' and balladry on her latest

Singer-songwriter Peggy Seeger: still in the vanguard of her musical dynasty

A member of America's great musical clan, Peggy Seeger has been a fixture on the British folk scene for more than 60 years


Benjamin Grosvenor, Barbican online review - black magic and golden-age gorgeousness

The British pianist's recital beautifully evokes romanticism in isolation

Classical CDs: Dramatic symphonies, medieval bagpipes and a solo bassoon

Three very different symphonies, music for mental well-being and an intriguing piano recital

Castalian Quartet, Stoller Hall, Manchester online review - mercurial playing fits a varied programme

Haydn and Adès rub shoulders in a recital of drama and excitement


The Seven Deadly Sins / Mahagonny Songspiel, Royal Opera online - modern morality tales mesh uneasily

More time needed in knocking this fascinating Brecht/Weill double bill into shape

L'heure espagnole, Grange Park Opera online review - seduction and sandwiches in 60 minutes

Ravel takes a Kensington lunchbreak, in an operatic updating for the YouTube generation

Siegfried, Göteborg Opera online review - a hero for our times

Staging and singing in sync for the Ring’s scherzo


Romeo and Juliet, National Theatre online review - a triumphant hybrid
Simon Godwin's debut film is part dressed-down rehearsal, part cinematic flourish
Living Newspaper, Edition 3, Royal Court online review – bleak news, sharp words
Third instalment of the irreverent series takes on Boris, star signs, and casual sexism
A Midsummer Night's Dream, SHAKE Festival livestream review - a star turn from Luisa Omielan makes this 'Bottom's Dream'
Jenny Caron Hall's production, with sister Rebecca starring, offers 'mechanical' treats


Best of 2020: Dance

In a perilous year, bright ideas and perseverance sometimes prevailed

The Nutcracker: an end-of-year obituary

It's been a rough ride for the seasonal cash cow. Here's how ballet companies coped

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

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


Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott: Failures of State review - a devastating exposé, slightly mistimed

Precipitous publication may mean this feat of research fails to make its mark

Polly Barton: Fifty Sounds review - what is lost in translation

How to understand a language if you don't understand yourself

Andrea Bajani: If You Kept a Record of Sins review - where blame, grief and discovery meet

Irresistibly spare narrative reckons with a mother’s death in Romania

visual arts

This is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist, Netflix - the last word (for now)

Three decades on and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum mystery is still hot

Prix Pictet: Confinement review - a year in photographs

Prize-winning photographers respond to the pandemic

Pioneering Women, Oxford Ceramics Gallery online review - domestic pleasures

A survey of female potters explores ancient ubiquity and the allure of pure form

latest comments

Lovely review. I really enjoyed the film. The...

The accompaniments add so much.It's a lovely disc.

yes I really liked the vox clara, a lovely sound...

Intruder, terrible. None of the actors gel and "...

In the flashback to 1979. You showed a young...

A thoughtful and well-balanced critique that drew...

Only two actors are worth their salt in all this...


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