fri 06/12/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Friday, 06 December 2019
Happily, Joe Barton’s tinglingly original thriller (BBC Two) finished as smartly as it began, not by any humdrum tying-up of loose ends but by giving free rein to the story’s...
Tom Baily
Friday, 06 December 2019
Blue periods can lead to golden streaks. Such is almost the case with Honey Boy, which Shia LaBeouf wrote during a court-ordered stay in a rehab clinic for the treatment of PTSD...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 06 December 2019
Abba fans can already have an immersive dining/dancing/singing experience at the O2 in Mamma Mia! The Party, and now, almost as a companion piece, is ABBA: Super Troupers The...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 06 December 2019
Liam Payne is a Simon Cowell-manufactured pop star worth tens of millions off the back of music that’ll be regarded in a few years’ time much as the Bay City Rollers or Curiosity...
Marianka Swain
Thursday, 05 December 2019
We’ve had Chess the musical; now, here’s Chess the play. Tom Morton-Smith, who has form wrestling recent history into dramatic form with the acclaimed Oppenheimer, turns his...
Boyd Tonkin
Thursday, 05 December 2019
Benjamin Britten died on 4 December 1976. Last night’s Wigmore Hall concert, on the 43rd anniversary of his passing, proved that his real legacy lies not in inert acts of homage...
Matt Wolf
Thursday, 05 December 2019
Amidst the deluge of high-profile year-end releases, it would be a shame if the collective Oscar-bait noise drowned out...
Jenny Gilbert
Thursday, 05 December 2019
What price a pair of seats at the ballet? If you’re talking the latest starry Russian import then, with a few perks thrown...
Demetrios Matheou
Thursday, 05 December 2019
Edward Norton has wanted to adapt Motherless Brooklyn since Jonathan Lethem’s acclaimed novel was first published 20 years...
Jonathan Geddes
Thursday, 05 December 2019
As the number of sweaty bodies increased towards the front of the Barrowland stage, IDLES singer Joe Talbot had a direct...
Heather Neill
Thursday, 05 December 2019
"Dickensian" commonly means both sentimental Victorian, apple-cheeked family perfection (especially at Christmas) and abject...
Kathryn Reilly
Thursday, 05 December 2019
Before the days of stardom on Jay-Z and Kanye’s scale, before Brooklyn became a millionaire’s playground, Gang Starr were...
Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 04 December 2019
There’s slight (White Christmas, to name but one) and then there’s The Boy Friend, a period musical so unabashedly...
David Nice
Wednesday, 04 December 2019
He was indeed "one of the greats" among conductors, as theartsdesk's Gavin Dixon put it in reviewing Mariss Jansons' January...
Jenny Gilbert
Wednesday, 04 December 2019
In featuring ordinary people and things rather than magic curses or avenging ghosts, Coppélia stands apart in the canon of...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 04 December 2019
“Restorative Justice Practitioner” sounds like a euphemism for a Mad Max-style lone avenger, but in director Anna Hall's...
Aleks Sierz
Wednesday, 04 December 2019
Eve Leigh is an experimental playwright who has tackled difficult issues for more than a decade. Yet most members of the...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 04 December 2019
Who can explain the mystery of the solitary wolf who has taken up residence on an archipelago off Vancouver Island – the...
Tim Cumming
Wednesday, 04 December 2019
From the off, with a bellicose Daltrey declaring “I don’t care, I know you’re going to hate this song,” on the opener “This...

★★★★ THE FAMILY SECRET, CHANNEL 4 Lives destroyed by historic sexual abuse


★★★★ THE WHO - WHO A bracing and bellicose return for the rock giants

★★★★ TAKAYA: LONE WOLF, BBC FOUR Enigmatic predator baffles boffins

★★★ MIDNIGHT MOVIE, ROYAL COURT Sleepless and digital

MARISS JANSONS (1943-2019) The great Latvian conductor leaves a powerful legacy

★★★★ COPPÉLIA, ROYAL BALLET A real charmer

disc of the day

CD: Liam Payne - LP1

One Direction star's debut has electronic bounce and is sexy as service station forecourt flowers

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


The Family Secret, Channel 4 review - lives destroyed by historic sexual abuse

Revelations from 25 years ago wreak havoc in Anna Hall's devastating film

Takaya: Lone Wolf, BBC Four review - enigmatic predator baffles boffins

Outcast of the islands poses intriguing questions about animal behaviour


Honey Boy review - coming to terms with dad

Shia LaBeouf draws on childhood in bold family portrait

Ordinary Love review - small but (almost) perfectly formed

Northern Irish film tugs truthfully, unflinchingly at the heart

Motherless Brooklyn review – tic tec

Edward Norton brings his long-awaited adaptation of the noir novel to the screen

new music

CD: Liam Payne - LP1

One Direction star's debut has electronic bounce and is sexy as service station forecourt flowers

IDLES, Barrowland, Glasgow review - rowdy and raucous, but with heart

The Bristol band's Glasgow gig provided noise and a party spirit


Tynan, Clayton, Murray, Aurora Orchestra, Dean, Wigmore Hall review - Britten lives!

Words and music powerfully aligned in old favourites and a new discovery

Remembering Mariss Jansons (1943-2019)

The great Latvian conductor has died at the age of 76, but he leaves a powerful legacy

Kolesnikov, Tsoy, Currie, Walton, Wigmore Hall review - mesmerising sonorities

Every note made to count in Bartók, Britten and Ravel


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


Ravens: Spassky vs. Fischer, Hampstead Theatre review - it's game over for this chess play
The Cold War 'Match of the Century' fails to translate into compelling drama
The Boy Friend, Menier Chocolate Factory review - fun but featherweight
Period confection in three acts could use pruning


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

Acosta Danza, Sadler's Wells review - a dose of Cuban sun

Carlos Acosta's Cuban troupe are looking fine on their second time out


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

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

Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre?, Jewish Museum London review - rallying against death

Set aside time to absorb the stunning work of this modernist painter murdered at Auschwitz

latest comments

Thank you very much, Patricia, the kind words are...

Stunning commentary, brought a tear to my eye and...

Great to see some comments critical of Brian...

This is pretty spot on. They have somehow grown...


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters