thu 20/02/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 20 February 2020
The Black Lives Matter movement is such an important international protest that it is odd how few contemporary plays even mention it. Since the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has been...
Demetrios Matheou
Thursday, 20 February 2020
Steve Coogan’s long partnership with director Michael Winterbottom is probably best known for The Trip and its spin-offs, involving Coogan’s comic culinary excursions...
Richard Bratby
Thursday, 20 February 2020
There’s a particular moment of a particular recording – I suppose every slightly over-obsessive record collector has one – that I just keep listening to over and over again. It’s...
David Nice
Thursday, 20 February 2020
Not the musical then, worst luck. How timely it would have been to mark Jerry Herman's passing with a celebration of a great achievement. Just how brilliantly the pathos and...
Thursday, 20 February 2020
There are films to meet every taste in theartsdesk's guide to the best movies currently on release. In our considered opinion, any of the titles below is well worth your attention...
Mark Kidel
Thursday, 20 February 2020
Moonlight Benjamin, the fierce and deep-voiced vocalist from Haiti, is a powerful presence on stage. On her second album, she is once again supported by a tight cohort of French...
Wednesday, 19 February 2020
London is the theatre capital of the world, with more than 50 playhouses offering theatrical entertainment. From the mighty...
Jenny Gilbert
Wednesday, 19 February 2020
The cello is the stringed instrument most closely aligned to the human voice. It has a human shape, too, so in theory it was...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 19 February 2020
With prison overcrowding reaching chronic proportions, police in County Durham have developed the Checkpoint programme to...
Jonathan Geddes
Wednesday, 19 February 2020
Matt Shultz was clearly taking no chances. The Cage the Elephant frontman appeared onstage underneath a large umbrella,...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
Perhaps somebody at BBC Four has had a quiet word with Lucy Worsley, because in this first of a new three-part series she...
Veronica Lee
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
What joy it is to welcome this offshoot of the television series to the West End stage – complete with several of that show'...
Marina Vaizey
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
It’s all in the timing. Here was David Baddiel beginning a stand-up turn at a gig in Finchley. A Holocaust survivor gets to...
Bernard Hughes
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
In a week when my colleague Jessica Duchen was delighted by the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, last night’s concert, also...
Sebastian Scotney
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
Sam Lee has a strong, richly resonant and recognisable voice – and equally strong beliefs. His album Old Wow has really...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
8 ½ is one of the classic films about the art of cinema. There is something about the make-believe of movies, and our buying...
Jessica Duchen
Monday, 17 February 2020
Nobody could deny that this was a weekend when we needed cheering up. The place for that was the Wigmore Hall, which played...
Jonathan Geddes
Monday, 17 February 2020
It might have been 24 hours after Valentine’s Day, but James McGovern still seemed to have a touch of romance in his head....
Bernard Hughes
Monday, 17 February 2020
In my reviewing for theartsdesk I like as much as possible to ski off-piste, reaching areas of repertoire, performer and...

★★★★ UPSTART CROW, GIELGUD THEATRE Ben Elton's terrific Shakespeare spoof


★★★★ HOW TO STAY OUT OF JAIL, CHANNEL 4 A bold rehabilitation programme from Durham police

★★★ ROYAL HISTORY'S BIGGEST FIBS WITH LUCY WORSLEY, BBC FOUR Is this version more valid than anybody else's?

★★★ CAGE THE ELEPHANT, O2 ACADEMY, GLASGOW Old-fashioned rock 'n' roll from Kentucky sextet

★★★★ THE CELLIST/DANCES AT A GATHERING, ROYAL BALLET A grand love affair with a cello

disc of the day

Album: Moonlight Benjamin - Simido

Haitian Vodou queen with the deep voice

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How To Stay out of Jail, Channel 4 review – a bold rehabilitation programme from Durham police

Touching and insightful film about offenders trying to seize a second chance

Royal History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley, BBC Four review - is this version more valid than anyone else's?

Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell are spun in the pop-history blender

Confronting Holocaust Denial with David Baddiel, BBC Two review - grappling with the incomprehensible

Writer and comedian tries to fathom how so many can deny such well-documented history


Greed review - so-so satire of the über rich

Steve Coogan is the retail tycoon whose misdeeds are coming home to roost

The Best Films Out Now

theartsdesk recommends the top movies of the moment

Blu-ray: 8 ½

Fellini's masterpiece of cinema tackles filmmaker's block

new music

Album: Moonlight Benjamin - Simido

Haitian Vodou queen with the deep voice

Sam Lee, EartH Hackney - capturing the spirit of the moment

A strong, resonant and identifiable voice


Frang, CBSO, Yamada, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - the tingle factor

Thoughtful Shostakovich from Vilde Frang, non-stop thrills in Respighi's Roman triptych

Michael Collins, Michael McHale, London Winds, Wigmore Hall review - flying the flag for wind chamber music

Long-standing ensemble makes a persuasive case for music familiar and unfamiliar

Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, Wigmore Hall review - a joyous celebration

A sparky, shape-shifting ensemble of starry young musicians


Luisa Miller, English National Opera review - Verdi in translation makes a stylish comeback

Musical splendours peak in a tenor aria to die for and a moving last act

theartsdesk Q&A: soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn

Returning to ENO to sing Verdi's Luisa Miller, a great singer-actor reflects

Les vêpres siciliennes, Welsh National Opera review - spectacular, silly, but some great music

Verdi's reluctant grand opera colourfully staged, brilliantly played, unevenly sung


Pass Over, Kiln Theatre review - fierce critique of racist brutality
Waiting for Godot meets Exodus in American drama about Black Lives Matter
La Cage aux Folles [The Play], Park Theatre review - half-cock farce
Embarrassing period piece needs a lift from better comic timing than this
The Best Plays in London
What to see where and until when: theartsdesk's stage tips


The Cellist/Dances at a Gathering, Royal Ballet review - A grand love affair with a cello

The relationship between a great musician and her instrument, vividly imagined in dance

Bluebeard, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells review - bleak but ground-breaking

This 1977 take on Bartok's murderous opera was a watershed for European theatre

Michael Keegan-Dolan, MÁM, Sadler's Wells review - folk goes radical

Digging deeper into Irish tradition has yielded Michael Keegan-Dolan's most visionary work yet


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


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