sat 04/07/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Graham Rickson
Saturday, 04 July 2020
 Holst: The Planets, Nielsen: Helios Overture Mythos (Bjarke Mogensen and Rasmus Schjaerff Kjøller, accordions) (Mythos)Pairing Nielsen’s Helios Overture with Holst’s The...
David Thompson
Saturday, 04 July 2020
Mike Hodges arrived in cinema through television, including a stint on the rightly revered Granada Television current affairs series World in Action. He burst on to the big screen...
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. Sadly it had been, as he said earlier, “the first car...
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 punchy lyrics offer a timely warning about the effect of 24...
David Nice
Friday, 03 July 2020
It’s begun: very limited access to live music, the chance to sit before one or two players in the same room – as we were doing only three and a half months ago, in some cases...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 03 July 2020
Lorraine Hansberry’s debut, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first drama written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, where it opened in 1959. It is now an American classic,...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 03 July 2020
Back Roads has languished largely unseen since its completion in 2017, and one can see why: lurid to the point of...
Nick Hasted
Friday, 03 July 2020
Werner Herzog’s appearance in The Mandalorian paid for this deadpan, documentary-like slice of extreme Japanese life,...
Rachel Halliburton
Friday, 03 July 2020
I knew what a Howard Hodgkin painting would look like before I ever saw one because of Nigel Slater. There’s a recipe in one...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 03 July 2020
A decade ago, Polly Scattergood was Mute Records’ newest, most-likely-to signing and, while she never crossed over like...
Matt Wolf
Thursday, 02 July 2020
Can this weekly lineup really now be three months old?  As we move towards at least some degree of relaxation on the...
Bernard Hughes
Thursday, 02 July 2020
The Opera Story is an enterprising set-up based in London and founded with a mission to commission and stage new operas by...
Joseph Walsh
Thursday, 02 July 2020
British director Fyzal Boulifa makes his feature film debut with a bruising account of female-friendship torn apart by...
Laura De Lisle
Thursday, 02 July 2020
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks’ best-selling First World War novel, has been adapted quite a few times in its twenty-seven years...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 02 July 2020
American history of the 1930s and ‘40s suddenly seems to be all the rage on TV, cropping up in the reborn Perry Mason, Das...
Tom Birchenough
Thursday, 02 July 2020
David France’s revelatory film may have been subtitled “The Gay Purge”, but from the start it was clear this wasn’t just...
Katherine Waters
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
With the first round of galleries opening their doors in June and a new round getting ready to open in July, we’ve a half-...
Caspar Gomez
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
Coronavirus blah blah blah. Glastonbury cancelled. What to do? Didn’t go to the 2010 festival for reasons too tedious to go...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
The second series of Das Boot (Sky Atlantic) began strongly, and by the time we reached this last pair of episodes it was...

SVEND MCEWAN-BROWN, EAST NEUK FESTIVAL DIRECTOR 'We are still standing and planning for the brightest future we can'



★★★ LYNN + LUCY A bruising tale of female friendship

★★★★★ STORYVILLE: WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, BBC FOUR Trauma, tension and resistance

★★★ WILLIE NELSON - FIRST ROSE OF SPRING Willie Nelson will soothe our lockdown souls

VISUAL ARTS LOCKDOWN SPECIAL 4 Some galleries prepare to reopen, others remain closed; online still offers riches

 ★★★ THE OPERA STORY: EPISODES Young London company offers snapshots of contemporary living

GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL 2020 Beyoncé, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., marijuana and time travel

★★★ PENNY DREADFUL: CITY OF ANGELS, SKY ATLANTIC  Shape-shifting Natalie Dormer wreaks havoc in a combustible 1930s Los Angeles


disc of the day

Album: The Jayhawks - XOXO

The Minnesotan veterans are back with more top-drawer Americana


Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Sky Atlantic review - the good, the bad and the unspeakable

Shape-shifting Natalie Dormer wreaks havoc in a combustible 1930s Los Angeles

Storyville: Welcome to Chechnya, BBC Four review - trauma, tension and resistance

David France's 'guerrilla' documentary charts brave Russian response to extreme anti-LGBTQ campaign

Das Boot, Series 2 Finale, Sky Atlantic review - deeper and darker

The casualties mount as the waters keep getting rougher


theartsdesk Q&A: filmmaker Mike Hodges

The British writer-director reflects on the making and meaning of his thriller 'Black Rainbow' as it bows on Blu-ray

Back Roads review - nice cheekbones, not much else

Alex Pettyfer's directing debut is more or less DOA

Family Romance, LLC review - the chameleon blues

A faux-documentary about fakes mimics Herzog's virtues

new music

Album: The Jayhawks - XOXO

The Minnesotan veterans are back with more top-drawer Americana

Album: Polly Scattergood - In This Moment

The enigmatic musician's third album takes listeners on a gently experimental journey

Glastonbury Festival 2020: Beyoncé, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., marijuana and time travel

With Glastonbury halted, our intrepid reporter attempts to recreate it, while dreaming of the 1990 Festival


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


'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

Palermo, Palermo review - free to view Pina

The Pina Bausch Foundation releases the first in a projected series of digital recordings


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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