thu 25/04/2024

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Wednesday, 24 April 2024
Advice to young musicians, as given at several “how to market your career” seminars: don’t begin a biography with “one of the finest xxxs of his/her/their generation”. From my...
Sarah Kent
Wednesday, 24 April 2024
Stephen is the first feature film by multi-media artist Melanie Manchot and it’s the best debut film I’ve seen since Steve McQueen’s Hunger. It’s gripping from the first frame to...
Guy Oddy
Wednesday, 24 April 2024
Despite its title, Mdou Moctar’s new album is no slow-paced mournful dirge. In fact, it is louder, faster and more overtly political than any of his band’s previous discs – not so...
Helen Hawkins
Tuesday, 23 April 2024
The first season of Blue Nights was so close to police procedural perfection, it would be hard for season two to reach the same heights. Overall, it doesn’t, though there are...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 23 April 2024
Sabine Devieilhe, as with many other great sopranos, elicits much fan worship, with no less than three encores at her recent Wigmore Hall recital. In her native France, and in the...
Bernard Hughes
Tuesday, 23 April 2024
In A History of the World in 47 Borders, Jonn Elledge takes an ostensibly dry subject – how maps and boundaries have shaped our world – and makes from it a diverting and...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Tuesday, 23 April 2024
There’s a scene in Priscilla where Elvis stands above his wife, who is scrambling to put her clothes in a suitcase....
Robert Beale
Monday, 22 April 2024
Billed as a “Viennese Whirl”, this programme showed that there are different kinds of music that may be known to the...
Helen Hawkins
Monday, 22 April 2024
What would happen if a notorious misogynist actually fell in love? With a glacial Danish librarian? And decided his best...
Sebastian Scotney
Monday, 22 April 2024
The previous solo piano solo album from Fred Hersch, one of the world’s great jazz pianists, was called Songs from Home,...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 21 April 2024
Three years ago, the release of Till Another Time 1988-1996 generated a thumbs up. A compilation of recordings by the...
Aleks Sierz
Saturday, 20 April 2024
“He do the police in different voices.” If ever one phrase summed up a work of fiction, and the art of its writer, then...
David Nice
Saturday, 20 April 2024
Anyone who’d booked to hear soprano Sally Matthews or to witness the rapid progress of conductor Daniele Rustioni – the...
Cheri Amour
Saturday, 20 April 2024
For most people’s 40th birthday celebrations, they might get a few friends together, rustle up a cake, and toast to another...
Sarah Kent
Saturday, 20 April 2024
The first photograph was taken nearly 200 years ago in France by Joseph Niépce, and the first picture of a person was taken...
Ellie Roberts
Saturday, 20 April 2024
Taylor Swift’s unfathomable ability to articulate human emotion shines as brightly as ever in her latest double album The...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 19 April 2024
If you don't like sweary comics – Jonathan Pie uses the c-word liberally – then this may not be the show for you. In fact if...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 19 April 2024
Richard Gadd won an Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2016 with material about being sexually abused by a man, in a set called...
David Nice
Friday, 19 April 2024
Virtuosity and a wildly beating heart are compatible in Richard Jones’s finely calibrated production of Renaissance woman...

★★★★ LONDON TIDE, NATIONAL THEATRE Haunting moody river blues set to Dickens

★★★★ THE SONGS OF JONI MITCHELL - ROUNDHOUSE Toasting to an icon of our age

★★★★ SPACEK, BBCPO, BIHLMAIER, MANCHESTER Three flavours of Vienna

★★★★ DVD/BLU-RAY: PRISCILLA Disc extras smartly contextualise Sofia Coppola's eighth feature

★★★ BANGING DENMARK, FINBOROUGH Lively but confusing comedy of modern manners

★★★★★ MACHINAL, THE OLD VIC Note-perfect pity and terror 

★★★ FRED HERSCH - SILENT, LISTENING A 'nocturnal' album - or is it just plain dark?


Blue Lights Series 2, BBC One review - still our best cop show despite a slacker structure

The engaging Belfast cops are less tightly focused this time around

Baby Reindeer, Netflix review - a misery memoir disturbingly presented

Richard Gadd's double traumas are a difficult watch but ultimately inspiring

Anthracite, Netflix review - murderous mysteries in the French Alps

Who can unravel the ghastly secrets of the town of Lévionna?


Stephen review - a breathtakingly good first feature by a multi-media artist

Melanie Manchot's debut is strikingly intelligent and compelling

DVD/Blu-Ray: Priscilla

The disc extras smartly contextualise Sofia Coppola's eighth feature

Fantastic Machine review - photography's story from one camera to 45 billion

Love it or hate it, the photographic image has ensnared us all

new music

Album: Mdou Moctar - Funeral for Justice

Tuareg rockers are on fiery form

Album: Fred Hersch - Silent, Listening

A 'nocturnal' album - or is it just plain dark?

Music Reissues Weekly: Linda Smith - I So Liked Spring, Nothing Else Matters

The reappearance of two obscure - and great - albums by the American musical auteur


Ridout, Włoszczowska, Crawford, Lai, Posner, Wigmore Hall review - electrifying teamwork

High-voltage Mozart and Schoenberg, blended Brahms, in a fascinating programme

Špaček, BBC Philharmonic, Bihlmaier, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - three flavours of Vienna

Close attention, careful balancing, flowing phrasing and clear contrast


Banging Denmark, Finborough Theatre review - lively but confusing comedy of modern manners
Superb cast deliver Van Badham's anti-incel barbs and feminist wit with gusto
London Tide, National Theatre review - haunting moody river blues
New play-with-songs version of Dickens’s 'Our Mutual Friend' is a panoramic Victori-noir
Machinal, The Old Vic review - note-perfect pity and terror
Sophie Treadwell's 1928 hard hitter gets full musical and choreographic treatment


All You Need Is Death review - a future folk horror classic

Irish folkies seek a cursed ancient song in Paul Duane's impressive fiction debut

MacMillan Celebrated, Royal Ballet review - out of mothballs, three vintage works to marvel at

Less-known pieces spanning the career of a great choreographer underline his greatness

Carmen, English National Ballet review - lots of energy, even violence, but nothing new to say

Johan Inger's take on Carmen tries but fails to make a point about male violence


Jonn Elledge: A History of the World in 47 Borders review - a view from the boundaries

Enjoyable journey through the byways of how lines on maps have shaped the modern world

Lisa Kaltenegger: Alien Earths review - a whole new world

Kaltenegger's traverses space in her thoughtful exploration of the search for life among the stars

Heather McCalden: The Observable Universe review - reflections from a damaged life

An artist pens a genre-spanning work of tender inconclusiveness

visual arts

Stephen review - a breathtakingly good first feature by a multi-media artist

Melanie Manchot's debut is strikingly intelligent and compelling

Fantastic Machine review - photography's story from one camera to 45 billion

Love it or hate it, the photographic image has ensnared us all

Yinka Shonibare: Suspended States, Serpentine Gallery review - pure delight

Weighty subject matter treated with the lightest of touch

latest comments

Couldn't agree more. THIS is the one to see to...

I watched it yesterday and it made feel like "Oh...

I saw this today at The Curve, why any theatre...

Y'all be giving out 100's like hotcakes, do y'all...

Seen in Oxford 9th April.  I agree entirely...


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