sat 14/12/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Nick Hasted
Saturday, 14 December 2019
Putin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky are “strong”, a Russian journalist considers. “Everyone else – weak.” This is essentially Khodorkovsky’s opinion, too, after the former oil oligarch...
Markie Robson-Scott
Saturday, 14 December 2019
What Jenna (Tatiana Maslany, star of Orphan Black), likes doing is wrangling and coordinating, not creating – she hates that - which makes for a refreshing change in a heroine....
Florence Hallett
Saturday, 14 December 2019
It doesn’t matter where you stand, whether you crouch, or teeter on tiptoe: looking into the eyes of Bernini’s Medusa, 1638-40, is impossible. The attempt is peculiarly...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 14 December 2019
 Bach: Christmas Oratorio Thomanerchor Leipzig, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Gotthold Schwarz (Accentus)Another year, another new Bach Christmas Oratorio. This one is happily...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 14 December 2019
No-one needs to be told that 2019 was a year which saw the UK, USA and many other countries looking somewhat at unease with themselves. Inevitably, this filtered down into much of...
David Nice
Friday, 13 December 2019
What a jolting coincidence that one of the 20th century's angriest symphonic beasts should have a rare unleashing on a night of high national anxiety. Whether Vaughan Williams...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 13 December 2019
If good intentions were everything, Teenage Dick would be the play of the year. As it is, this British premiere at the...
Richard Bratby
Friday, 13 December 2019
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s programmes in Birmingham are so personal – so utterly bespoke – that in the event of her being...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 12 December 2019
The trouble with prejudice is that you can't control how other people see you. At the start of her career, playwright...
Demetrios Matheou
Thursday, 12 December 2019
Two years ago Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle dusted off the Robin Williams vehicle from the Nineties with entertaining...
Rachel Halliburton
Thursday, 12 December 2019
This scary, electrically beautiful adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book about living on the faultline between imagination and...
Robert Beale
Thursday, 12 December 2019
Omer Meir Wellber may be the first chief conductor of a major orchestra to have begun his tenure with a children's concert....
Veronica Lee
Thursday, 12 December 2019
When Qdos brought back pantomime to the Palladium three years ago after an absence of nearly 30 years, it set the bar high...
Ellie Porter
Thursday, 12 December 2019
Nebraska-born singer-songwriter Josh Rouse made his name in Nashville and has spent the past 15 years living in Spain, and...
Tom Birchenough
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Inua Ellams’ Three Sisters plays Chekhov in the shadow of war, specifically the Nigerian-Biafran secessionist conflict...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
The first feature by Copenhagen-born director Ulaa Salim dives boldly into a cauldron of hot-button issues – terrorism,...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
It’s not about spontaneity. Bar switching the order of a couple of songs at the beginning and during the encore, the set was...
Heather Neill
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
This play can be a challenge for modern audiences: a woman who is ostensibly in a position of power, "a prince" in...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Alibi is usually your one-stop shop for re-runs of Father Brown or Death in Paradise, so well done them for commissioning...


★★★ TEENAGE DICK, DONMAR WAREHOUSE A fearlessly acted, well-intentioned mess

★★★★ THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, NATIONAL THEATRE Terrifying, magical coming of age story

★★★★★ CARGILL, LSO, PAPPANO, BARBICAN High anxiety and visionary gleams

★★★ JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL Dwayne Johnson and the gang return


disc of the day

Albums of the Year 2019: Imperial Wax - Gastwerk Saboteurs

Ex-Fall guys top the year with vicious rockabilly and razor-sharp guitars

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Traces, Alibi review - pedigree cast battles implausible plot

Dundee-set forensic thriller has too many coincidences for its own good

How They Built the Titanic, Channel 5 review - the great liner revisited again, but why now?

It's always a great story, but this didn't tell us anything new

Elizabeth Is Missing, BBC One review - a tender but tough-minded drama about ageing and loss

Glenda Jackson makes a welcome comeback in this psychological thriller-lite


Citizen K review - real power in Russia

Putin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky are equally sphinx-like adversaries in Alex Gibney's revealing doc

Pink Wall review - scattered scenes from a tortuous relationship

Actor Tom Cullen's directorial debut contains intense performances but lacks clarity

Jumanji: The Next Level review - raising their game

Dwayne Johnson and the gang return to the enjoyably goofy video game adventure

new music

Albums of the Year 2019: Imperial Wax - Gastwerk Saboteurs

Ex-Fall guys top the year with vicious rockabilly and razor-sharp guitars

CD: Josh Rouse - The Holiday Sounds of Josh Rouse

Likeable singer-songwriter serves up an undemanding Christmas confection


Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas CDs 1

Part one of this year's seasonal smörgåsbord: six discs you'd happily spin all year round

Cargill, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - high anxiety and visionary gleams

Vaughan Williams' Fourth Symphony tautly ferocious in a fascinating programme

Bauer, CBSO, Koenig, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - Christoph pulls it off

A Widmann premiere triumphs in an unexpected but outstanding Birmingham debut


Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

Superlative playing and conducting, some fine singing, but the protagonist is a bit peaky

theartsdesk Q&A: Director Sir Jonathan Miller

The legendary director lets rip

Death in Venice, Royal Opera review – expansive but intimate evocations

David McVicar brings light and movement to gloomy Venice, but holds psychological focus


Teenage Dick, Donmar Warehouse review - a fearlessly acted, well-intentioned mess
Mike Lew's riff on Shakespeare needs more art to go with its heart
A Kind of People, Royal Court review - multiculturalism falls apart
Family tragedy is emotionally powerful but incomplete and unsatisfying


Radio & Juliet/Faun/McGregor + Mugler, London Coliseum review - a fashion faux pas

Wayne McGregor fails to shine in ill-advised bling fest

Svetlana Zakharova, Modanse, London Coliseum review - impeccably chic but soul-less

The Bolshoi star looks great but delivers zero emotion in new ballet about Coco Chanel

Coppélia, Royal Ballet review - a real charmer

Overdue revival of a sunny favourite


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

Caravaggio & Bernini, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - high emotion in 17th century Rome

Painting and sculpture vie for supremacy in the eternal city

Dora Maar, Tate Modern review - how women disappear

Stunning photographs and fabulous photomontages by overlooked and elusive artist

Eco-Visionaries, Royal Academy review - wakey, wakey!

Big issues raised, but not answered

latest comments

I feel so sorry for this young man. I wish I was...

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Well written review Nick. Just one historical/...

Yes, it's a fascinating story. The female wolf...

I watched this Programme with my Wife and was...

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