thu 22/02/2024

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Mert Dilek
Thursday, 22 February 2024
Less than three years after her magnificent Macbeth, Yaël Farber returns to the Almeida with another Shakespeare tragedy. Her take on King Lear (main picture) offers a full-...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 22 February 2024
I first saw Bill Bailey at least 30 years ago in the cabaret tent at Glastonbury Festival, the audience lying on hessian matting, a fug of hash smoke in the air. He seemed one of...
Mert Dilek
Thursday, 22 February 2024
Doom and gloom, we are told, may have abounded in the classical underworld, but Hadestown suggests otherwise. Returning to London five years after its run at the National Theatre...
Jon Turney
Thursday, 22 February 2024
Consider a chimp peeling a stick which it will poke into a termite nest. It strikes us as a human gesture. Our primate cousin is fashioning a tool. Just as important, the peeled...
Tim Cumming
Thursday, 22 February 2024
Glitterbeat is home to a wildly eclectic and reliably brilliant world of artists, from Korea’s Park Jiha via Slovenia’s Sirom to Mauriania’s Noura Mint Seymali, Turkey’s Altin Gun...
Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Real life is a helluva lot scarier right now than you might guess from the performative theatrics on display in the new West End version of An Enemy of the People, which...
Demetrios Matheou
Wednesday, 21 February 2024
It’s awards season in the film world, which means that we’re currently swamped by hyperbolic shows of love and respect –...
Graham Fuller
Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Wim Wenders’ latest narrative film Perfect Days might seem an uncommonly mellow work by the maker of Alice in the...
Sarah Kent
Wednesday, 21 February 2024
The downstairs of the Whitechapel Gallery has been converted into a ballroom or, rather, a film set of a ballroom. From time...
Joe Muggs
Wednesday, 21 February 2024
It must be kind of unreal living in the Stereolab universe.A band of geeky introverts, beloved of the type of hairclip-and-...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 20 February 2024
This three-part drama arrives trailing clouds of big-byline glory. Michael Sheen directed and produced it (as well as making...
Helen Hawkins
Tuesday, 20 February 2024
It’s tempting to see the second gala created by Ukrainian-born Ivan Putrov as a reflection of the shift in Ukraine’s...
India Lewis
Tuesday, 20 February 2024
After a first read of the blurb for Sheila Heti’s Alphabetical Diaries, you might be forgiven for assuming that this is...
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 20 February 2024
Diving into this three-disc set of early films by maverick Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski leaves one reeling, an...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 19 February 2024
The end of the first series of Kin found Dublin’s Kinsella crime family ridding themselves of bloodsucking drug baron Eamon...
Robert Beale
Monday, 19 February 2024
Placing the UK premiere of Katherine Balch’s whisper concerto (for cello and orchestra) after Haydn’s Symphony No. 100 was...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 19 February 2024
It's probably fair to say that Paul Foot is an acquired taste for some; his absurdist, poetic comedy isn't for everyone but...
Kieron Tyler
Monday, 19 February 2024
The dolefulness of the title Loss of Life is reflected by what’s in the grooves. The lyrics of the Todd Rundgren/Queen-esque...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 18 February 2024
Lou Christie fancied offering some social comment. The lyrics of his May 1967 single “Self Expression (The Kids on the...

★★ EUREKA Lisandro Alonso’s latest foray into slow cinema may test even his fanbase



disc of the day

Album: Aziza Brahim - Mawja

Afro-Iberian blues and grooves from the activist Sahrawi songwriter


The Way, BBC One review - steeltown blues

Michael Sheen's ode to Port Talbot stretches credulity

Kin, Series 2, BBC One review - when crime dynasties collide

Dublin becomes a war zone in Peter McKenna's addictive drama

The New Look, AppleTV+ review - lavish period drama with more width than depth

Ben Mendelsohn's tender performance as Dior anchors the spectacle in emotional truth


theartsdesk Q&A: Wim Wenders on 'Perfect Days'

The German director explains why he made a drama about a Tokyo toilet cleaner

Blu-ray: Jerzy Skolimowski - Walkower, Bariera, Dialóg 20-40-60

Visually striking early works from an iconoclastic Polish director

new music

Album: Aziza Brahim - Mawja

Afro-Iberian blues and grooves from the activist Sahrawi songwriter

Album: Laetitia Sadier - Rooting for Love

Strange and beautiful dream transmissions from the weird world of Stereolab

Album: MGMT - Loss of Life

US art-rock duo see the lighter side of pessimism


Fung, BBC Philharmonic, Weilerstein, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - clever and comical

First UK performance of new cello concerto by Katherine Balch given with uncanny skill

Malofeev, BBCSO, Lintu, Barbican review - finesse as well as fireworks

Youthful pianist and senior composers offer excitement and bravura


Cavalleria Rusticana/Aleko, Opera North review - a new foil for Mascagni

Overlapping casting in two tragedies of infidelity and jealousy

Così fan tutte, Opera North review - a safe bet

Voices and personalities in balance and contrast in revived Albery production

The Handmaid's Tale, English National Opera review - last chance saloon for sub-Atwood baggy monster

Kate Lindsey is the saving, amazing grace of Poul Ruders’ lumpy music drama


King Lear, Almeida Theatre review - Danny Sapani dazzles in this spartan tragedy
Yaël Farber presents Shakespeare’s blistering play with bravura
Hadestown, Lyric Theatre review - soul-stirring musical gloriously revamps classical myths
Tony-winning production lands in the West End with an astounding cast
An Enemy of the People, Duke of York's Theatre - performative and predictable
Matt Smith gives his all in unyielding adaptation of Ibsen morality play


Dance for Ukraine Gala, London Palladium review - a second rich helping of international dancers

Ivan Putrov's latest gala was a satisfying mix of stars and young hopefuls

Dark With Excessive Bright, Royal Ballet review - a close encounter with dancers stripped bare

The Royal's Festival of New Choreography launches with an unforgettable walk in the dark


Bill Bailey: Thoughtifier, Brighton Centre review - offbeat adventures with a whirling, erudite mind

Bailey's fusion of studied musicality and off-the-wall wordplay remains one-of-a-kind

Jessica Fostekew, Soho Theatre review - age is just a number

Landmark birthday prompts some musings


Tom Chatfield: Wise Animals review - on the changing world

A compelling account of how we use technology – and how it uses us

Sheila Heti: Alphabetical Diaries review - an A-Z of inner life

Heti goes far beyond a gimmick in this work of surprising and moving insight

David Harsent: Skin review - our strange surfaces

A fine poet pens a set of resilient expressions and elegant introspections

latest comments

Apologies to Fiona. I now think she's right, and...

No, the critic is right. I looked in vain for a...

No, the reviewer is correct, it was definitely...

Where can I see this new film?

Tremendous- edge of seat all the way, characters...

Love this show and that review is spot on.

Excellent review perfect, great series hope there...

Why should there be “a Paloma Faith song”? I...


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