wed 08/07/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 08 July 2020
The notion of massed aircraft dogfighting over southern England seems inconceivable now, but the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 was all too horribly real for its...
Barney Harsent
Wednesday, 08 July 2020
Shoegaze stable Sonic Cathedral has, in truth, always been a much broader church than its name implies. From the psychedelic, sunshine pop of Gulp, to the blistering art noise of...
Peter Culshaw
Tuesday, 07 July 2020
Ennio Morricone was a genius, or as close to that description as makes no odds. If we mean someone who created a unique body of work, one that changed culture, had a distincive...
Peter Quantrill
Tuesday, 07 July 2020
Documentaries like this one make me sentimental for a time, until about 25 years ago, when classical music was a more or less weekly presence on terrestrial TV. Now fast...
Steven Isserlis
Tuesday, 07 July 2020
So Ida has left us – a legend has departed. What a violinist! What a woman! Magnificent, unique, incorrigible – she was a law unto herself.First, the playing: a film about her was...
Daniel Lewis
Tuesday, 07 July 2020
You feel at times, while reading the collection Blue in Chicago, that Bette Howland might have missed her vocation. In another life, Howland – until recently almost completely...
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 07 July 2020
Yasujirō Ozu’s The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice and Tokyo Story were released in 1952 and 1953 respectively. Tokyo Story...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 06 July 2020
The spoof “rockumentary” always sounds like a great idea, but it’s hard to pull off. Largely this is because rock stars are...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 06 July 2020
After Unfollow the Rules: The Paramour Session and the #Quarantunes “robe recitals” comes the album: Unfollow the Rules, no...
Markie Robson-Scott
Sunday, 05 July 2020
The journalistic addiction-memoir is a crowded genre these days: Details editor Dan Perez chronicles his massive intake of...
Charlie Stone
Sunday, 05 July 2020
Edgar Degas is famous for his depictions of ballet dancers. His drawings, paintings and sculptures of young girls clad in...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 05 July 2020
“Strange Destinies” is the first track. “Take your eyes off me Svengali” is its memorable opening phrase. Conjuring up Van...
Veronica Lee
Saturday, 04 July 2020
It was a weary and frustrated Dom Joly (★★) who left the stage after performing the first drive-in comedy show in the UK....
Demetrios Matheou
Saturday, 04 July 2020
If COVID-19 isn’t the only topic being tackled by creative folk at the moment, it certainly feels like it. That’s perfectly...
Peter Culshaw
Saturday, 04 July 2020
Peter Culshaw’s occasional global radio music show comes blinking into the light after lockdown, as MusicBox radio’s studio...
Jenny Gilbert
Saturday, 04 July 2020
There’s sun and sand, and both are golden – but this is no holiday beach. Distantly, out of focus, you can make out a man...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 04 July 2020
 Holst: The Planets; Nielsen: Helios Overture Mythos (Bjarke Mogensen and Rasmus Schjaerff Kjøller, accordions) (Mythos...
David Thompson
Saturday, 04 July 2020
Mike Hodges arrived in cinema through television, including a stint on the rightly revered Granada Television current...
Russ Coffey
Saturday, 04 July 2020
If one song best captures the overall mood of XOXO, it's the Beatles-meets-country strains of "Living in a Bubble". The...

THEARTSDESK Q&A: MIKE HODGES The British writer-director reflects on his thriller 'Black Rainbow', out on Blu-ray

★★★★ RUFUS WAINWRIGHT - UNFOLLOW THE RULES A self-described second act

★★★★ HOMEMADE 17 short films capture the shared experiences of the pandemic

★★★★ LES BLANCS, NT AT HOME Triumphant revival of forgotten classic

PHILIP RAMBOW - THE REBEL KIND The case for ‘the eternal under-rated cult’

★★ THE KEMPS: ALL TRUE, BBC TWO More self-promotion than self-mockery

 ★★★★★ DANCING AT DUSK: A MOMENT WITH PINA BAUSCH'S 'THE RITE OF SPRING' An inspired re-staging of a 20th century masterpiece

disc of the day

Album: bdrmm - Bedroom

The shoegaze five-piece's journey of discovery ends with a hugely impressive debut


The Battle of Britain, Channel 5 review - 80th anniversary of the RAF's finest hour

Behind the scenes of the air war that saved the nation

Being Beethoven, BBC Four review – from grubby kid to grumpy genius

Attention-span anxiety yields more insight into man than music

The Kemps: All True, BBC Two review - more self-promotion than self-mockery

Spandau Ballet-boys show willing but spoof rock-doc misses the point


Ennio Morricone 1928-2020: A lost afternoon in his apartment in Rome

Recalling a 2003 meeting with the 'Mozart of film music'

Blu-ray: Tokyo Story / The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice

Slow-paced poetry from a master cineaste

Homemade review - laughs, loss and madness in lockdown

Netflix showcases a collection of 17 short films that capture the isolated, but shared experiences of life during the pandemic

new music

Album: bdrmm - Bedroom

The shoegaze five-piece's journey of discovery ends with a hugely impressive debut

Ennio Morricone 1928-2020: A lost afternoon in his apartment in Rome

Recalling a 2003 meeting with the 'Mozart of film music'

Album: Rufus Wainwright - Unfollow the Rules

A self-described second act by an artist who's already been through several


Classical CDs Weekly: Holst, Nielsen, Piatti, Tchaikovsky

An accordion duo, operatic arias on solo cello and a fiery Russian symphony

‘We are still standing and planning for the brightest future we can’: Svend McEwan-Brown on the survival of a festival

East Neuk Festival Director finds generosity, humanity and a hunger for culture in a crisis


Classical music/Opera direct to home 19 – and two before a live audience

Finally, you can be in the room, or space, where it happens in two east London venues

The Opera Story: Episodes review - whimsical takes on lockdown life

Young London company offers snapshots of contemporary living

Classical music/Opera direct to home 17 - festive inventions

Celebrating a maverick conductor, two great artists in recital and home-grown ingenuity


Les Blancs, National Theatre at Home review – triumphant revival of forgotten classic
NT archive recording of Lorraine Hansberry’s last play is absolutely compelling
Toast, Lawrence Batley Theatre online review - pungent adaptation of Nigel Slater's autobiography
Food crimes of the Sixties and Seventies are revealed here as Michelin-starred memories
Theatre Lockdown Special 12: An American rarity, a British savoury, and fresh Apples
Nigel Slater is back, as is Richard Nelson's Apple family for a second time via Zoom


Dancing at Dusk: A Moment with Pina Bausch’s 'The Rite of Spring' review - an explosive African rite

Continents collide in a film documenting an inspired re-staging of a 20th-century masterpiece

'If they had been any closer my face would have misted up': filming 'Men at the Barre'

The director Richard Macer had exclusive access to the male stars of the Royal Ballet. He describes what he discovered

The Thread, Sadler's Wells Digital Stage review - Greek folk and contemporary unite

Russell Maliphant breathes fresh life into Hellenic tradition


Desiree Burch, Soho Theatre On Demand review - fantastical storytelling

California comic on Burning Man, sex, race – and LSD

Lockdown Comedy 2: where to get your laughs this week

Live stand-up recordings and podcasts


Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

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

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

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

The Lego Movie 2 Videogame review - everything is not awesome

Few fresh ideas means this movie adaptation treads the same old ground

visual arts

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 4: half-way houses

Some galleries prepare to reopen, others remain closed; online still offers riches

Celia Paul: My Studio, Victoria Miro review - sublime isolation

One of the great painters of our time responds to life in lockdown

Shirley Baker: A Different Age, James Hyman Gallery review - the old at leisure

A little-known photographer and an overlooked subject take the spotlight

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