tue 18/05/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Thomas H Green
Monday, 17 May 2021
Things got out of hand at theartsdesk on Vinyl this month and these reviews run to 10,000 words. That's around a fifth of The Great Gatsby. It's because there's so much good music...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 17 May 2021
Many a director might have considered that televising Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad was impossible, but Barry Jenkins, Oscar-winning director of Moonlight, has...
Tom Baily
Monday, 17 May 2021
Success for the Belgian-Dutch crime series Undercover has led Netflix to produce an origin story for the show’s drug lord character Ferry Bouman (Frank Lammers). While this may be...
Heather Neill
Monday, 17 May 2021
There is a promising production struggling to get out of this muddled concept. Creation Theatre (here partnered with Watford Palace) is well known for innovative, site-specific...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 17 May 2021
Heckling at a drive-in gig is rather pointless, don't you think? The audience, mostly listening through their car radios, will be unable to hear the interruption, while the comic...
Kieron Tyler
Monday, 17 May 2021
 “A complete fully translated and transcribed Obsidian Rock Audio Anthology chronicling the ancient spiritual technologies and exploits of prehistoric, post-revolutionary...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 16 May 2021
With the Spiral Scratch EP, Buzzcocks became the first British band of the punk rock era to issue a do-it-yourself seven-...
Mark Kidel
Sunday, 16 May 2021
Martin Ritt’s 1965 classy screen adaptation of John Le Carré’s bestseller The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is an antidote...
Jenny Gilbert
Saturday, 15 May 2021
It’s official. Masks are coming off across America while theatres remain dark. Over here, theatres are about to re-open and...
Bernard Hughes
Saturday, 15 May 2021
The Royal Northern Sinfonia handed its players artistic control of the programme for this livestream from the Sage,...
Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 15 May 2021
Darkest Hour may have been director Joe Wright’s finest hour, but we can say for certain that, despite its impressive cast,...
Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 15 May 2021
Ancient Rome has always been a popular playground for film and TV, whether it’s Ben Hur, Gladiator or the 2005 TV series...
Markie Robson-Scott
Saturday, 15 May 2021
It’s not until the final moments of End of Sentence that Frank (John Hawkes) lets himself laugh – he’s swimming in the icy...
Kathryn Reilly
Saturday, 15 May 2021
Well this is rather groovy! National treasure and the man with that voice, Matt Berry has been locked away in his lair,...
Tim Cumming
Friday, 14 May 2021
It won’t be long now before concert halls and back rooms, arts centres and festival grounds fill with people again, and live...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Friday, 14 May 2021
With all eyes on her in 2018, Jorja Smith’s debut was surprisingly level-headed and mature, filled with the introspection...
Boyd Tonkin
Thursday, 13 May 2021
In 1992 Martin Amis published a story, “Career Move”, in which the writers of sensational screenplays with titles like...
Veronica Lee
Thursday, 13 May 2021
In the UK, we usually get a peek inside The Villages in Florida every four years, when intrepid reporters take to their golf...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 13 May 2021
The issue of public inquiries into the conduct of the military is in the headlines again, with a current focus on Northern...

★★★★★ BLU-RAY: THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD Martin Ritt's superb Cold War spy thriller as good as ever

★★★★ THE NEW YORK CITY BALLET 2021 SPRING GALA Dancers return to the Lincoln Center in Sofia Coppola's quietly moving short film

★★★★ ROYAL NORTHERN SINFONIA, SAGE GATESHEAD Piazzolla the centrepiece of an imaginative and varied programme

★★ DOMINA, SKY ATLANTIC A little less conversation, a little more action required

★★★★★ MATT BERRY - THE BLUE ELEPHANT The man of many talents summons up his musical nirvana

★★★★ SAM RIVIERE: DEAD SOULS Whip-smart literary satire with a techno tinge

disc of the day

Album: Blk Jks - Abantu/Before Humans

The breathless return of the Johannesburg art-rockers after over a decade away


The Underground Railroad, Amazon Prime review - a horrifying ride through America's heart of darkness

Barry Jenkins's adaptation of Colson Whitehead's novel hits you with shock and awe

Danny Boy, BBC Two review - when law and war collide

Iraq war drama is powerful but lop-sided


Ferry review - the making of a Dutch gangster

Netflix capitalises on trend of 'origin stories' to promote one of its own TV series

Blu Ray: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Superb Cold War spy thriller looks as good as ever

The Woman in the Window review - hitching a ride with Hitch

Joe Wright's derivative thriller squanders its impressive cast

new music

Album: Blk Jks - Abantu/Before Humans

The breathless return of the Johannesburg art-rockers after over a decade away

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Outsiders - Count For Something

Box set tracking Adrian Borland’s pre-Sound path through punk


Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sage Gateshead online review – a grab bag of players’ favourites

Piazzolla the centrepiece of an imaginative and varied programme

Ryedale Spring Festival online review - sowing the seeds of live music

Music and visuals combine in this seasonal celebration


Europe Day Concert, St John's Smith Square online review – celebrating in style

Portuguese tenor Luis Gomes shines bright in a lively multinational programme

Christa Ludwig, 1928-2021: a selective tribute

The German mezzo-soprano embraced the light and the dark at a transcendental level

The Seven Deadly Sins / Mahagonny Songspiel, Royal Opera online - modern morality tales mesh uneasily

More time needed in knocking this fascinating Brecht/Weill double bill into shape


Romeo and Juliet, Creation Theatre online review - game version falls between stools
Live performance, film and digital play combine in this misfired interactive experience
Being Mr Wickham, Original Theatre Company online review - an uncontroversial apologia
Adrian Lukis proves himself far better at portraying Austen's rake than he is at writing him
Money, Southwark Playhouse online review - ethical dilemmas for the Zoom generation
A vivid and credible production that is also limited by its form


New York City Ballet 2021 Spring Gala online review - Balanchine and Robbins shine in a dark theatre

Dancers return to the Lincoln Center in Sofia Coppola's quietly moving short film

The Royal Ballet - variations on a comeback

How one major ballet company survived to dance another day

Best of 2020: Dance

In a perilous year, bright ideas and perseverance sometimes prevailed


Music books to end lockdown: Sam Lee, Hawkwind, Dylan, Richard Thompson, and the Electric Muses

From nightingale song to sonic attack via folk rock and the world's greatest songwriter, spring 2021's best music books

Sam Riviere: Dead Souls review – whip-smart literary satire with a techno tinge

A poet-turned-novelist hunts for the real thing in an age of fakes

Lucy Caldwell: Intimacies review - exploring the empty spaces

Double-edged stories capture the mingled pains and pleasures of femininity

visual arts

Turner's Modern World, Tate Britain review - the universal artist

The great painter resists the confines of his own era, despite Tate's best efforts

Points of Departure, Brighton Festival 2021 review - Ray Lee's harbour-based sound art impresses

At Shoreham's working port, something strangely wonderful is happening

Rachel Whiteread: Internal Objects, Gagosian Gallery review - apocalyptic sheds

A triumphant change of direction from the queen of casting

latest comments

How fortunate! You would also have seen her one-...

Great homage, David, thank you. I was lucky to...

I’m thoroughly enjoying Documenting the Sensation...

There is always more to be heard. Al is holding...

I think there was also a nod to Carl Dreyer's...

Please give chapter and verse. I see nothing...

I am more than happy to proof read for you.

Matt Wolf, I invite you to read your own review...


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