sat 30/09/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Harry Thorfinn-George
Saturday, 30 September 2023
James Blake’s sold-out show at Ally Pally is his only UK stop this tour and it feels like a homecoming of sorts – while Blake now lives in Los Angeles, he is from Enfield, only up...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 30 September 2023
 Grażyna Bacewicz: Piano Concerto, Concerto for Two Pianos, Music for Strings, Trumpets and Percussion Peter Jablonski, Elisabeth Brauß (pianos), Finnish Radio Symphony...
Tom Carr
Saturday, 30 September 2023
Towering drums, seering and furious guitars, vocals that are powerful and often throat-scorching; metal, hard rock, and all their intertwining sub-genres are by far the ones that...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 29 September 2023
The Biba dresses are way too colourful, the shop’s interior about 10 times too bright… and did anybody really say ”happening threads” in 1965?Taking Ben Elton to task for his...
Demetrios Matheou
Friday, 29 September 2023
It has been seven years since Gareth Edwards directed, for me, the best of the new generation of Star Wars films, Rogue One. Having made Godzilla before that, it’s nice...
Robert Beale
Friday, 29 September 2023
There’s a charmingly retro feel to Opera North’s new Falstaff, which comes from it being done as part of their new “green”, i.e. ecologically conscious, season.Leslie Travers’ set...
Graham Fuller
Friday, 29 September 2023
Ken Loach has occasionally invested his realist TV dramas and movies with moments of magical realism – football inspiring...
Gary Naylor
Friday, 29 September 2023
Unbelievable is a strange title for a slightly strange show, the brainchild of Derren Brown, Andrew O’Connor and Andy Nyman...
Guy Oddy
Friday, 29 September 2023
These days Black Sabbath aren’t short of admirers in the arts and even further afield. Artists as disparate as veteran soul...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Friday, 29 September 2023
Jorja Smith said she named her new album Falling or Flying to describe the uncertainty she’s felt about her career following...
David Nice
Thursday, 28 September 2023
You go to a concert, three-quarters of it popular classics – also great masterpieces – having been told you have to hear a...
Jack Barron
Thursday, 28 September 2023
We begin with a dead-end. In 1966, Michael Peppiatt – at the time “an obscure young man” – travelled to Paris to meet the...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 28 September 2023
The music of Daniel Lopatin – AKA Oneohtrix Point Never – exists at the sonic/electronic vanguard. Were the likes of...
Demetrios Matheou
Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Two elderly men meet in the park while walking their dogs, and become friends. Even when friendship turns to love, the...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Now that earnings from the John Wick movie franchise have topped a billion dollars, it’s no surprise that there should be...
Jenny Gilbert
Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Dance lovers with no access to a major city could feel genuinely hard done by were it not for Dance Consortium. This sainted...
Sir David Pountney
Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Purcell came very early to me. When I was a chorister at St. John’s Cambridge “Jehova quam multi sunt” was a perennial...
Gary Naylor
Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Seldom can a title have given so much away about the play to follow, not just in terms of the subject matter but also in...
Markie Robson-Scott
Wednesday, 27 September 2023
The misty streets and lofty spires of Oxford star in this adaptation of Carolyn Weber’s 2011 memoir, Surprised by Oxford, in...


★★★★ AILEY 2, MARLOWE THEATRE, CANTERBURY Young, black and fabulous

★★★★★ BLU-RAY: GREGORY'S GIRL Bill Forsyth's peerless romantic comedy returns

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

★★★ THE CONTINENTAL, PRIME VIDEO Welcome to the expanding John Wick universe

★★ SURPRISED BY OXFORD Wishy-washy romance ticks the sightseeing boxes


★★★ MICHAEL PEPPIATT: GIACOMETTI IN PARIS Approaching the impossible

RIP MICHAEL GAMBON - KRAPP'S LAST TAPE The fingers have it: Gambon faces down the void

★★★★ STEVEN WILSON - THE HARMONY CODEX Shimmering blend of electronica and prog


disc of the day

Album: Ed Sheeran - Autumn Variations

Interesting moments are too far and few between in the popular singer-songwriter's latest


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


The Creator review - bold, beautiful, flawed sci-fi epic

John David Washington goes on the run with a child AI

The Old Oak review - a searing ode to solidarity

Syrian refugees polarise Durham villagers in Ken Loach's affecting drama

Surprised by Oxford review - wishy-washy romance ticks the sightseeing boxes

Ryan Whitaker's film of Carolyn Weber's memoir of Christian conversion pulls its religious punches

new music

James Blake – Alexandra Palace review – victory lap for North London native

James Blake's new album is his best in years and his live show does it justice

Album: Ed Sheeran - Autumn Variations

Interesting moments are too far and few between in the popular singer-songwriter's latest

Album: Jorja Smith - Falling or Flying

Anticipated second album from Walsall's biggest star is a sumptuous affair


Classical CDs: Strings, trumpets and stained glass windows

20th century music from Poland, Renaissance choral music and Venetian field recordings

Fung, RPO, Schwarz, Cadogan Hall review - high style from new cellist and conductor on the block

Classics have new life and vitality alongside a modest British rarity

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

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


Falstaff, Opera North review - going green and having fun

Verdi’s comic masterpiece with a retro feel of its own

First Person: Director Sir David Pountney on creating a new 'Masque of Might' from the music of Purcell

Launching Opera North’s Green Season with a climate sceptic as villain

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


Close-Up: The Twiggy Musical, Menier Chocolate Factory review - a tourist's view of a Sixties icon
Ben Elton has written an odd musical-documentary, part comic-strip, part lecture
Unbelievable, Criterion Theatre review - Derren Brown-directed show misses his otherworldly danger
Pantomime vibe undermines the unique frisson of the magician's art
Frank and Percy, The Other Palace review - two-hander fails to escape a very short leash
Ian McKellen and Roger Allam as the lonely men who bond over their dogs


Ailey 2, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury review - young, black and fabulous

The younger sibling of the Alvin Ailey family visits for the first time in 12 years

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


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


Michael Peppiatt: Giacometti in Paris review - approaching the impossible

The artist’s life winds along the streets of Paris in a sprawling study of influence and resistance

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

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


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