wed 26/06/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" can be heard pulsating through the Old Vic auditorium as the curtain rises on its wondrous revival of Present Laughter: a decisive feather in...
Tom Baily
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
How could this story be told again? Director Todd Douglas Miller has found a way: strip away narrative and give the audience the purity of original record. The result is a...
Thomas H Green
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
So theartsdesk on Vinyl reaches its 50th edition. That’s at least a novels’ worth of words. Maybe two! But we’re not stopping yet. The heat of the summer has arrived but the vinyl...
Gavin Dixon
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Emanuel Ax here celebrated his 70th birthday with an all-Schumann recital. In fact, it was an all-Schumann marathon, a three-hour concert at Wigmore Hall featuring solo works,...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
As an aid to meditation, Professor Brian Cox’s latest series The Planets (BBC Two) could hardly be faulted. A majestic tour of the Solar System awash with computerised imagery, an...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
According to the Manchester drag collective the Family Gorgeous, “drag should be for everyone.” And on the evidence of Drag SOS (Channel 4) , engagingly voice-overed by Hugh...
Lisa-Marie Ferla
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Eight albums in, you can imagine why a singer-songwriter in the confessional vein of Ingrid Michaelson might be ready to...
Marianka Swain
Tuesday, 25 June 2019
“How much does she owe us?” So ponder the now estranged parents of a former tennis pro, as they calculate the very literal...
Owen Richards
Tuesday, 25 June 2019
Mari is one part kitchen sink drama, one part dance performance, bringing a refreshing take on bereavement and family....
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 25 June 2019
Al Reinert's For All Mankind isn't quite what it seems. In a famous 1962 speech, President Kennedy spoke of the knowledge to...
David Nice
Monday, 24 June 2019
If ever there was an instance of the great being the enemy of the good, it happened after all the live singing on Saturday...
Stephen Walsh
Monday, 24 June 2019
Politics, in case you may not have noticed, has been in the air of late: questions of escape, release, borders, refugees,...
Boyd Tonkin
Monday, 24 June 2019
Cut almost anywhere into the lesser-known seams of Handel’s oratorios and you may strike plentiful nuggets of the purest...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 24 June 2019
It has become routine to accuse Brexiteers of wanting to bring back the British Empire (though obviously it's OK to run an...
Richard Bratby
Monday, 24 June 2019
Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived. Anne Boleyn is number two on the list, so anyone who can remember...
Joe Muggs
Monday, 24 June 2019
Don't let the presence of nerds' favourite Madlib on production duties fool you: this is a big bad bastard of a West Coast...
Stephanie Sy-Quia
Sunday, 23 June 2019
Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is written as a letter to his mother, who cannot read. She cannot read because, when she was five...
Liz Thomson
Sunday, 23 June 2019
While Elton John was picking up another bauble and tinkling the ivories in Paris, the world’s other Piano Man was heading to...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 23 June 2019
Like Lemmy, the bassist with their fellow London-based freaks Hawkwind, Pink Fairies crossed the bridge between the late-...

★★★★ DVD: SAUVAGE Raw authenticity & visceral performance give French debut indelible power

★★★★ BBC CARDIFF SINGER OF THE WORLD FINAL Stage confidence, supportive set-up

CLASSICAL CDS WEEKLY Emotional symphonic farewell, French symphonies, music for flute & guitar

★★★★★ BILLY JOEL, WEMBLEY STADIUM The Entertainer delivers


★★ BEECHAM HOUSE, ITV Murky colonial history reborn as melodramatic fantasy

★★★★ ANNA BOLENA, LONGBOROUGH Henry VIII's court becomes a sexualised death cult

disc of the day

CD: Ingrid Michaelson - Stranger Songs

Pop songwriter's widely appealing songs inspired by Netflix series

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


The Planets, Series Finale, BBC Two review - ice cold on Neptune

Brian Cox's series concludes with a deep-frozen trip to the far end of the Solar System

Drag SOS, Channel 4 review - absolutely fabulous

Being the best you can be with the Family Gorgeous

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2019 Final, BBC Four review - stage confidence, supportive set-up

Invidious to choose between different voices, but Andrei Kymach is a worthy winner


Apollo 11 review - an awe-inspiring leap

Todd Douglas Miller pieces together archival footage for documentary of first lunar mission

Mari review - bittersweet drama with flair

Unusual mash-up of styles creates a strangely compelling film

Blu-ray: For All Mankind

Breathtaking, heartstopping celebration of Project Apollo

new music

CD: Ingrid Michaelson - Stranger Songs

Pop songwriter's widely appealing songs inspired by Netflix series

CD: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Bandana

Exploring the depths of Californian noir on ultra-accomplished rap album

Billy Joel, Wembley Stadium review – The Entertainer delivers

A transport of delight away from current woes


Ax, Keenlyside, Dover Quartet, Wigmore Hall review – celebratory Schumann

The great pianist marks his 70th with a congenial if unassuming programme

Classical CDs Weekly: Mahler, Saint-Saëns, Noemi Gyori

An emotional symphonic farewell, two French symphonies plus music for flute and guitar

Treatise Project, Goldsmiths review - potent symbols reveal rich music potential

Cornelius Cardew’s graphic score inspires diverse readings, both free and literal


BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2019 Final, BBC Four review - stage confidence, supportive set-up

Invidious to choose between different voices, but Andrei Kymach is a worthy winner

Brundibár, Welsh National Opera review - bittersweet children's opera from the ghetto

Theresienstadt operetta brilliantly sung, wittily staged

Belshazzar, The Grange Festival review – songs of freedom

A star choir shines in Handel's tale of luxury brought low


Present Laughter, Old Vic review - Andrew Scott continues his rise and rise
The Irish star is sublimely funny - and moving, too - in Noël Coward classic
Cash Cow, Hampstead Theatre review - timely look at pushy tennis parents
Are the family of a flamed-out prodigy at (double) fault?
The Damned, Comédie-Française, Barbican review - slow-burn horrors in devastating images
Ivo van Hove reinvents Visconti's fable about a 1930s German House of Atreus


Mari review - bittersweet drama with flair

Unusual mash-up of styles creates a strangely compelling film

The Mother, QEH review - Natalia goes psycho

Osipova is mesmerising in bleak dance-drama about maternal mental health

Cinderella, English National Ballet, Royal Albert Hall review - big, bright and bankable

Christopher Wheeldon's glossy arena show suggests bigger isn't better


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

Cutting Edge: Modernist British Printmaking, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - a cut above

Excellent exhibition sheds light on linocuts of neglected Grosvenor School Modernists

The Best Exhibitions in London

The capital's best exhibitions now

Francis Bacon: Couplings, Gagosian Gallery review - sex and power in double figures

A small selection focuses on the painter's radical figure paintings

latest comments

I’m shocked at the failure to even mention girls...

True entertainment at it's best by a lyrical...

Thanks Tim, that's done. However, I should point...

Can't quite believe what I'm reading in those...

I would be grateful in the future that if you are...

I was frustrated by the lack of infiormation on...

What a fantastic evening Thankyou billy ,...


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