wed 12/12/2018

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Robert Beale
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
The Royal Northern College of Music’s December opera production was the useful double bill of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi from Puccini’s Trittico. I say useful, because the...
Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
It's been 40 years since The Double Dealer last had a major airing (indeed, perhaps any airing) in London, so on the basis of novelty value alone, the Orange Tree's end-of-year...
Saskia Baron
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
As the priest said, "Understanding comes first, then forgiveness". Thus the rather enjoyable (if slightly overstretched) Mrs Wilson came to a not exactly happy, but certainly...
Joe Muggs
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III – Aloe Blacc – is one shrewd dude. He's extremely adept at reaching out beyond the confines of his natural beat of funk and soul, whether that's...
Gavin Dixon
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Janáček has been an abiding passion for Thomas Adès. As both composer and performer, Adès revels in the whimsical and the absurd, and he finds both in Janáček’s piano works. This...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
It was when he was on holiday at his agreeable estate in the Algarve in August 2014 that Cliff Richard got a phone call telling him his Berkshire home was being raided by the...
Joseph Walsh
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
After Sam Raimi’s original mixed-bag trilogy, Andrew Garfield’s all too familiar outing as the webslinger, and last year’s...
Thomas H Green
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
It’s the season of giving so theartsdesk on Vinyl feels compelled to draw your attention to Unicef’s Blue Vinyl campaign....
Guy Oddy
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Capsule is the Birmingham outfit that is good enough to bring the avant-garde, the lairy and the down-right odd to the city...
Thomas H Green
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
This is a soundtrack with vast shoes to fill. Frozen, The Lion King and Aladdin may be the best-selling Disney soundtracks...
Jessica Duchen
Monday, 10 December 2018
When the biggest laugh in Bernstein’s Candide goes to a narrator’s mention of how nationalism was sweeping through Europe,...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 10 December 2018
You wouldn’t turn to Jimmy McGovern for a drawing-room comedy, but there’s no doubting his gift for seizing big issues and...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 10 December 2018
Amid the cacophony and incivility that characterises so much of our lives today, an evening of calm and beauty with Katie...
Gavin Dixon
Monday, 10 December 2018
The London Philharmonic’s year-long Stravinsky festival, Changing Faces, concluded here in spectacular style, with a tribute...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 10 December 2018
Susie McKenna and Steven Edis have been creating pantos for Hackney Empire for 20 years, and over that time its seasonal...
Jo Southerd
Monday, 10 December 2018
What makes a great Christmas song? There’s an alchemy to finding the winning combination of whimsy and humour, juxtaposed...
Adam Sweeting
Sunday, 09 December 2018
Perhaps belatedly prompted by the release of Barbra Streisand’s new album Walls, the worst-selling disc in her 55 years with...
Boyd Tonkin
Sunday, 09 December 2018
If you believe the bulk of the “books of the year” features that drift like stray tinsel across the media at this time of...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 09 December 2018
The double album The Sound Gallery was issued in 1995. It collected British easy listening and library music tracks which...


★★★ HEY COLOSSUS, CENTRALA, BIRMINGHAM Sonic oddballs welcome the season of goodwill

★★ DVD: THE WORKSHOP Teenage narrative kicks do not last in Laurent Cantet's latest

★★★ THOMAS ADÈS, WIGMORE HALL Playful and erratic Janáček

NINE NIGHT, TRAFALGAR STUDIOS Hilarity and heartbreak at Natasha Gordon's Jamaican wake

★★★★ ALADDIN, HACKNEY EMPIRE Susie McKenna creates fast-paced fun in a busy mix

★★★★ CANDIDE, LSO, ALSOP, BARBICAN Bernstein centenary reaches a smashing conclusion

disc of the day

CD: Aloe Blacc - Christmas Funk

Pretty much does what it says on the tin

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Mrs Wilson finale, BBC One review - stranger than fiction

Alison Wilson's search for the truth keeps turning up new mysteries

Sir Cliff Richard: 60 Years in Public and in Private, ITV review - bachelor boy bounces back

How the pop veteran weathered career-threatening accusations

Care, BBC One review - a blunt but powerful polemic

Jimmy McGovern asks what we're doing about caring for the elderly


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse review - a new hope for the superhero genre

An anarchic animated adventure with a psychedelic style and whip-smart voice cast

The Old Man & the Gun review - sundown on Sundance

Robert Redford's swansong is a fitting tribute to a movie legend

DVD: The Workshop

Teenage narrative kicks do not last in Laurent Cantet's latest

new music

CD: Aloe Blacc - Christmas Funk

Pretty much does what it says on the tin

Hey Colossus, Centrala, Birmingham review - lighting the experimental 2018 Christmas candles

Sonic oddballs welcome in the season of goodwill and excessive drinking


Thomas Adès, Wigmore Hall review - playful and erratic Janáček

Kindred spirits, but quirks sometimes overplayed

The Swingles, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review – austere Stravinsky, luminous Berio

Year-long Stravinsky festival wraps up with a diverse sixties showcase

theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

Rarities in a festival featuring an entire operatic canon, plus heartfelt celebrations


Gianni Schicchi/Suor Angelica, RNCM, Manchester review – music does the magic

A new and impressive approach to college opera performance

Candide, LSO, Alsop, Barbican review - nearly the best of all possible...

Bernstein centenary reaches a smashing conclusion with a flawed masterpiece

theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

Rarities in a festival featuring an entire operatic canon, plus heartfelt celebrations


The Double Dealer, Orange Tree Theatre review - high spirits and low morals
Congreve's Restoration-era rarity is boisterous to a fault
Aladdin, Hackney Empire review - Clive Rowe returns as the Dame
Susie McKenna creates fast-paced fun in a busy mix
Nine Night, Trafalgar Studios review - hilarity and heartbreak
Natasha Gordon joins the company as her debut drama transfers from the National


The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet review - a still-magical tale of two couples

Peter Wright's balance of story-telling and classical dance lacks only elan from the pit

The Unknown Soldier, Infra, Symphony in C, Royal Ballet, review - WWI ballet honours obscure tragedy

The storyline goes missing, presumed dead, in this Armistice commission

Carlos Acosta: A Celebration, Royal Albert Hall

Candid images of retired ballet legend on stage


Hari Kondabolu, Soho Theatre review - from politics to papayas

US comic with an original take on all manner of things

Matt Forde, Purcell Room review - politics plus deft impressions

Astute state of the nation material from former Labour man


Battlefield V review - WWII on an epic scale

The veteran series returns for another ambitious tour of duty

Red Dead Redemption 2 review - the cowboy drama makes a triumphant return

An ambitious Wild West odyssey that matches epic scale with benchmark skill

visual arts

Edwin Landseer / Rachel Maclean, National Gallery review - a juxtaposition of opposites

The Monarch of the Glen refreshed by a Scottish political satirist

Māris Briežkalns Quintet, EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 review - a Rothko symphony

Latvian players and composers homage a great artist they can call their own

The Best Exhibitions in London

From the Turner Prize shortlist to the future of gaming: our guide to what to see in the city

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