fri 03/07/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Friday, 03 July 2020
It’s begun: very limited access to live music, the chance to sit before one or two players in the same room – as we were doing only three and a half months ago, in some cases...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 03 July 2020
Lorraine Hansberry’s debut, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first drama written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, where it opened in 1959. It is now an American classic,...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 03 July 2020
Back Roads has languished largely unseen since its completion in 2017, and one can see why: lurid to the point of absurdity, this adaptation of a 1999 novel by co-...
Nick Hasted
Friday, 03 July 2020
Werner Herzog’s appearance in The Mandalorian paid for this deadpan, documentary-like slice of extreme Japanese life, suggesting how the director’s amusingly doomy Teutonic...
Rachel Halliburton
Friday, 03 July 2020
I knew what a Howard Hodgkin painting would look like before I ever saw one because of Nigel Slater. There’s a recipe in one of his very early books, Real Cooking, for “A...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 03 July 2020
A decade ago, Polly Scattergood was Mute Records’ newest, most-likely-to signing and, while she never crossed over like similar unconventional female artists of the period (Bat...
Matt Wolf
Thursday, 02 July 2020
Can this weekly lineup really now be three months old?  As we move towards at least some degree of relaxation on the...
Bernard Hughes
Thursday, 02 July 2020
The Opera Story is an enterprising set-up based in London and founded with a mission to commission and stage new operas by...
Joseph Walsh
Thursday, 02 July 2020
British director Fyzal Boulifa makes his feature film debut with a bruising account of female-friendship torn apart by...
Laura De Lisle
Thursday, 02 July 2020
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks’ best-selling First World War novel, has been adapted quite a few times in its twenty-seven years...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 02 July 2020
American history of the 1930s and ‘40s suddenly seems to be all the rage on TV, cropping up in the reborn Perry Mason, Das...
Tom Birchenough
Thursday, 02 July 2020
David France’s revelatory film may have been subtitled “The Gay Purge”, but from the start it was clear this wasn’t just...
Katherine Waters
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
With the first round of galleries opening their doors in June and a new round getting ready to open in July, we’ve a half-...
Caspar Gomez
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
Coronavirus blah blah blah. Glastonbury cancelled. What to do? Didn’t go to the 2010 festival for reasons too tedious to go...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
The second series of Das Boot (Sky Atlantic) began strongly, and by the time we reached this last pair of episodes it was...
Marianka Swain
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
The movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights was meant to hit cinemas this summer, but, in response to Covid-...
Florence Hallett
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
From her fourth floor flat, which is also her studio, the painter Celia Paul looks out over the British Museum, the figures...
Svend McEwan-Brown
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
They say that you discover who your true friends are when you find yourself in direst need. East Neuk Festival, our success...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
The nightmarishness of the M25 motorway is well known, especially if you get stuck on the Heathrow section on a wet Sunday...

SVEND MCEWAN-BROWN, EAST NEUK FESTIVAL DIRECTOR 'We are still standing and planning for the brightest future we can'


★★★ LYNN + LUCY A bruising tale of female friendship

★★★★ HAMILTON, DISNEY+ Puts us all in the room where it happened


★★★ PENNY DREADFUL: CITY OF ANGELS, SKY ATLANTIC  Shape-shifting Natalie Dormer wreaks havoc in a combustible 1930s Los Angeles

VISUAL ARTS LOCKDOWN SPECIAL 4 Some galleries prepare to reopen, others remain closed; online still offers riches

★★★★★ STORYVILLE: WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, BBC FOUR Trauma, tension and resistance

 ★★★ THE OPERA STORY: EPISODES Young London company offers snapshots of contemporary living

★★★ WILLIE NELSON - FIRST ROSE OF SPRING Willie Nelson will soothe our lockdown souls


disc of the day

Album: Polly Scattergood - In This Moment

The enigmatic musician's third album takes listeners on a gently experimental journey


Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Sky Atlantic review - the good, the bad and the unspeakable

Shape-shifting Natalie Dormer wreaks havoc in a combustible 1930s Los Angeles

Storyville: Welcome to Chechnya, BBC Four review - trauma, tension and resistance

David France's 'guerrilla' documentary charts brave Russian response to extreme anti-LGBTQ campaign

Das Boot, Series 2 Finale, Sky Atlantic review - deeper and darker

The casualties mount as the waters keep getting rougher


Back Roads review - nice cheekbones, not much else

Alex Pettyfer's directing debut is more or less DOA

Family Romance, LLC review - the chameleon blues

A faux-documentary about fakes mimics Herzog's virtues

Lynn + Lucy review - a bruising tale of female friendship

Fyzal Boulifa directorial debut is a stark, unforgiving portrait of modern Britain

new music

Album: Polly Scattergood - In This Moment

The enigmatic musician's third album takes listeners on a gently experimental journey

Glastonbury Festival 2020: Beyoncé, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., marijuana and time travel

With Glastonbury halted, our intrepid reporter attempts to recreate it, while dreaming of the 1990 Festival

Album: Willie Nelson - First Rose of Spring

Lockdown has made us all a little crazy - Willie Nelson will soothe our souls


‘We are still standing and planning for the brightest future we can’: Svend McEwan-Brown on the survival of a festival

East Neuk Festival Director finds generosity, humanity and a hunger for culture in a crisis

Classical CDs Weekly: Enescu, Mendelssohn, Tuur, Sara Stowe

String octets, Estonian orchestral music and an avant-garde vocal disc


Classical music/Opera direct to home 19 – and two before a live audience

Finally, you can be in the room, or space, where it happens in two east London venues

The Opera Story: Episodes review - whimsical takes on lockdown life

Young London company offers snapshots of contemporary living

Classical music/Opera direct to home 17 - festive inventions

Celebrating a maverick conductor, two great artists in recital and home-grown ingenuity


Les Blancs, National Theatre at Home review – triumphant revival of forgotten classic
NT archive recording of Lorraine Hansberry’s last play is absolutely compelling
Toast, Lawrence Batley Theatre online review - pungent adaptation of Nigel Slater's autobiography
Food crimes of the Sixties and Seventies are revealed here as Michelin-starred memories
Theatre Lockdown Special 12: An American rarity, a British savoury, and fresh Apples
Nigel Slater is back, as is Richard Nelson's Apple family for a second time via Zoom


'If they had been any closer my face would have misted up': filming 'Men at the Barre'

The director Richard Macer had exclusive access to the male stars of the Royal Ballet. He describes what he discovered

The Thread, Sadler's Wells Digital Stage review - Greek folk and contemporary unite

Russell Maliphant breathes fresh life into Hellenic tradition

Palermo, Palermo review - free to view Pina

The Pina Bausch Foundation releases the first in a projected series of digital recordings


Desiree Burch, Soho Theatre On Demand review - fantastical storytelling

California comic on Burning Man, sex, race – and LSD

Lockdown Comedy 2: where to get your laughs this week

Live stand-up recordings and podcasts

Jerry Seinfeld, Netflix review - not bad for a swansong

US comic says this may be his last stand-up show


Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

Challenge The Authority in this 'Mad Max on mushrooms' renegade romp

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

Chainsawing the brain-eaters as you battle against the tide of the undead

The Lego Movie 2 Videogame review - everything is not awesome

Few fresh ideas means this movie adaptation treads the same old ground

visual arts

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 4: half-way houses

Some galleries prepare to reopen, others remain closed; online still offers riches

Celia Paul: My Studio, Victoria Miro review - sublime isolation

One of the great painters of our time responds to life in lockdown

Shirley Baker: A Different Age, James Hyman Gallery review - the old at leisure

A little-known photographer and an overlooked subject take the spotlight

latest comments

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