tue 26/09/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 26 September 2023
Now that earnings from the John Wick movie franchise have topped a billion dollars, it’s no surprise that there should be moves afoot to cash in by developing a “John Wick...
Hugh Barnes
Tuesday, 26 September 2023
Less is more, except when it isn’t. Among the latest batch of overlong Oscar-tipped movies by celebrated auteurs such as Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer with a running time of 181...
Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 26 September 2023
How many hearts does an octopus have? Answer: three. This pub quiz clincher is just one of the many fascinating facts that emerge from Octopolis, Marek Horn’s engrossing 100-...
Jonathan Geddes
Tuesday, 26 September 2023
There remains something disconcerting about seeing the National as arena rockers. Perhaps it’s the nonchalant stage entrance as they stroll on, a far cry from the pyro heavy...
India Lewis
Tuesday, 26 September 2023
The latest translation of Annie Ernaux’s Shame – a text most closely akin to a long-form essay – is an absorbing examination of how one fleeting moment from childhood can have...
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 26 September 2023
Gregory’s Girl stands alongside Kes as one of the few films offering a realistic depiction of state school life. Director Bill Forsyth’s surreal flourishes delight without getting...
Rachel Halliburton
Monday, 25 September 2023
Epic and intimate, philosophically anguished and rhapsodically transcendent, Mahler’s "Resurrection" Symphony remains one of...
David Nice
Monday, 25 September 2023
Big Ben was chiming the quarter-hour as I hit the South Bank side of the river after a not terribly inspiring Remain rally...
Sarah Kent
Monday, 25 September 2023
Lasting just over an hour, The Nettle Dress is like a fairy story. It builds very slowly, each beautifully framed shot...
Miranda Heggie
Monday, 25 September 2023
To coincide with the National Library of Scotland’s first bi-lingual exhibition Sguel/Story, an exhibition in English and...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Monday, 25 September 2023
It felt inevitable that Doja Cat would turn her back on being a popstar. The Californian rapper’s career has been shaped by...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 24 September 2023
In September 1955, the grandly named London Skiffle Centre set up for business each Thursday in a room above the Round House...
Sarah Kent
Saturday, 23 September 2023
One of the most cherished memories of my 40 plus years as an art critic is of easing my way between Marina Abramović and her...
Helen Hawkins
Saturday, 23 September 2023
The work of the double Pulitzer-winning Black American dramatist Lynn Nottage has thankfully become a fixture in the UK....
Stephen Walsh
Saturday, 23 September 2023
It’s always tempting, at curtain-up in La Traviata, to settle back, half-close one’s eyes, and soak up the familiar without...
Gary Naylor
Saturday, 23 September 2023
There are times when it’s best to know as little as possible before taking one’s seat for a show – this new production of...
Aleks Sierz
Saturday, 23 September 2023
Must science always be dominated by politics? This question is most urgent when the stakes are high – climate change or...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 23 September 2023
Animal Collective have been putting out albums of off-kilter and whimsical psychedelic pop, in various guises, for over 20...
Edward Gardner
Friday, 22 September 2023
“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”“What is best in music...
 

★★★★★ LA TRAVIATA, WELSH NATIONAL OPERA Memorable revival, unforgettable lead

★★★ ANIMAL COLLECTIVE - ISN'T IT NOW? Trippy, summery tunes from the Baltimore four-piece

★★★ DOJA CAT - SCARLET The Gen Z superstar offers up an uneven, sprawling rap album

★★★★★ MAHLER 2, LPO, GARDNER, RFH An interpretation of superlative resonance & clarity

SHAKE THAT THING - THE BLUES IN BRITAIN 1963-1973 Compendium of US-inspired Brits

disc of the day

Blu-ray: Gregory's Girl

Bill Forsyth's peerless romantic comedy returns

tv

The Continental, Prime Video - welcome to the expanding John Wick universe

Origin story of the hitman's hotel makes a sluggish start

Wilderness, Prime Video review - twisty thriller that leaves a nasty aftertaste

Gilded couple explore the barren lands of their blighted marriage

Top Boy, Season 5, Netflix review - grime and punishment

Ronan Bennett's Hackney crime epic reaches a fiery conclusion

film

Strange Way of Life review - Pedro Almodóvar's queer Western

A sheriff and his old lover spark again in a thin frontier drama

Blu-ray: Gregory's Girl

Bill Forsyth's peerless romantic comedy returns

The Nettle Dress review - a moving story exquisitely told

A widower weaves his way out of grief

new music

The National, OVO Hydro, Glasgow, review - commanding arenas with ease

A lengthy show served as a thrilling reminder of the Ohio band's rich catalogue

Album: Doja Cat - Scarlet

The Gen Z superstar offers up an uneven, sprawling rap album

Music Reissues Weekly: Shake That Thing - The Blues in Britain 1963-1973

Box-set compendium of US-inspired Brits lacks inquisitiveness

classical

Mahler 2, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - an interpretation of superlative resonance and clarity

LPO Principal Conductor's spiritually open, intellectually rigorous approach pays off

Mad Rush, Carol Williams, RFH review - a rainbow of organ colours

A born entertainer at the highest level takes on the Royal Festival Hall's refurbished giant

opera

La Traviata, Welsh National Opera review - memorable revival, unforgettable lead

Stacey Alleaume has an astonishing feeling for the stage, her Violetta one in a thousand

Peter Grimes, English National Opera review - not quite the pity or the truth

Strong sounds, but the tension sometimes flags in this hit-and-miss revival

The Yellow Wallpaper, Lilian Baylis Studio review - a tense and intimate monodrama

New opera re-works classic short story with committed performances and striking staging

theatre

Octopolis, Hampstead Theatre review - blue, blue, electric blue
New play about the relations between humans and other life forms has profound depths
Mlima's Tale, Kiln Theatre review - simple, powerful tale about the rape of Africa
Lynn Nottage’s 2018 play gets an exquisite staging with moving performances
Rebecca, Charing Cross Theatre review - troubled show about a troubled house nonetheless diverts
Austrian musical finally arrives in London to entertain, but not quite thrill

dance

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating display of a full deck of dance styles

From stately to sexy, these fabulously physical dancers engage every emotion

Matthew Bourne's Romeo + Juliet, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating dancing, inventive moves

New Adventures creates lovers with tender appeal for a younger generation

Jewels, The Australian Ballet, Royal Opera House review - a sparkling parade of great dancing

David Hallberg's Australians are pitch perfect in Balanchine's masterpiece

comedy

Peter Kay, O2 Arena review - comeback show is worth the wait

Nostalgia-fest delivers an emotional punch

Edinburgh Fringe 2023 review: Ahir Shah

Deserved winner of prestigious award

Books

Annie Ernaux: Shame review - the translation of pain

Tanya Leslie gracefully translates the Nobel Prize winner’s treatise on the traumas that make us

Warhol, Velázquez, and leaving things out: an interview with Lynne Tillman

Allongside its British re-release, the author of Motion Sickness discusses the state of fiction and her ways of writing

Celia Dale: Sheep's Clothing review - unsettling, mundane, and right on-trend

Daunt Books continues its mission to bring Dale’s witty amorality to modern light

visual arts

Marina Abramović, Royal Academy review - young performers stand in for the absent artist

This pioneer of performance art is the first woman to show in the main galleries

Beatriz Milhazes: Maresias, Turner Contemporary review - the taste and sight of Brazil

A retrospective of the Brazilian artist's career transports us to Rio de Janeiro

Differently Various, The Curve, Barbican review - a step in a shared direction

Richly engaging exhibition by artists who have experienced brain injuries

latest comments

I have admired Colin for a very long time. ...

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Promising start to a new cycle and more...

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