sat 13/04/2024

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Graham Rickson
Saturday, 13 April 2024
 Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 National Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda (NSO)I’m old enough to remember the BBC offering free downloads of the complete Beethoven Symphonies...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 13 April 2024
After a long period of relative inactivity, the last five years has had A Certain Ratio getting the bit between their teeth, trying out new sounds and releasing new tunes at a...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 12 April 2024
Sam Taylor-Johnson has fashioned her biopic of Amy Winehouse with great care and affection, but sometimes, as she shows her subject discovering, love isn’t quite enough. The...
David Nice
Friday, 12 April 2024
Purple patches flourished in the first half of this admirable programme: it could hardly have been otherwise given Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s devotion to a new work in his repertoire,...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 12 April 2024
Spoofing movies or movie genres has been done before, but Six Chick Flicks goes the extra mile. It's a funny, frenetic and feminist take-down of the kind of movies that are aimed...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 12 April 2024
Alex Garland’s fourth movie as writer/director is a chilling glimpse of an American dystopia, fortuitously timed for the run-up to the forthcoming US elections. However, it steers...
Graham Rickson
Friday, 12 April 2024
The Teachers’ Lounge should really have been translated into English as The Staffroom, but that’s a minor gripe. Focussing...
Tom Carr
Friday, 12 April 2024
For the past almost two years, Maggie Rogers has taken an unexpectedly special place in my heart and musical tastes. Upon...
Boyd Tonkin
Thursday, 11 April 2024
“Site-specific” performance locations rarely come more atmospheric, or evocative, than this one. Beyond the East India Dock...
David Nice
Thursday, 11 April 2024
Antonio Pappano fervently believes that talking about music is a vital part of his communicative art, and nobody does it...
Gary Naylor
Thursday, 11 April 2024
"In care". It’s a phrase that, if it penetrates our minds at all, usually leads to distressing tabloid stories of children...
Joe Muggs
Thursday, 11 April 2024
Tallinn is a very civilised city. It’s enough to provoke intense jealousy on arrival from the land of potholes, two year...
Mark Kidel
Thursday, 11 April 2024
Lizz Wright has established herself, over a number of steadfastly excellent albums, as one of the very best vocalists of her...
David Nice
Wednesday, 10 April 2024
Milton Court, like its parent Barbican Hall, disconcertingly inflates the sound of larger ensembles and voices. Had there...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 10 April 2024
“Betsy,” a voice shouts from the audience as the encore begins. The request for “Betsy on the Roof,” from Julia Holter’s...
Bernard Hughes
Wednesday, 10 April 2024
According to REM in 1987, “It’s the end of the world as we know it”. And while they sang about topical preoccupations –...
Sebastian Scotney
Wednesday, 10 April 2024
Gal Beckerman’s 2023 book The Quiet Before makes a plea that if ideas, revolutionary or otherwise, are to grow, there...
Robert Beale
Tuesday, 09 April 2024
For the second big concert of his “residency” with the Hallé this season, Thomas Adès chose one major piece of his own,...
Helen Hawkins
Tuesday, 09 April 2024
Many an Edinburgh Fringe transfer has struggled when it moves to the big city, but the Dirty Hare company’s Gunter, sensibly...

★★★ RIPLEY, NETFLIX Highsmith's horribly fascinating sociopath adrift in a sea of noir

★★★ GUNTER, ROYAL COURT Jolly tale of witchcraft and misogyny

★★★ BLU-RAY: HAPPY END Technically brilliant black comedy hasn't aged well

★★★★★ MACMILLAN CELEBRATED, ROYAL BALLET Three vintage works to marvel at

PAUL JESSON The actor on survival, strength, and the healing potential of art

★★★★ FABIANA PALLADINO - FABIANA PALLADINO A remarkably sleek and sophisticated debut

★★★ CARMEN, ROYAL OPERA Strong women, no sexual chemistry and little stage focus

★★★ GOLDSCHEIDER, SPENCE, BRITTEN SINFONIA, MILTON COURT Heroic evening songs and a jolly horn ramble

★★★★ SHABAKA - PERCEIVE ITS BEAUTY, ACKNOWLEDGE ITS GRACE A quiet and reflective breakthrough

disc of the day

Album: A Certain Ratio - It All Comes Down to This

Veteran Mancunians undergo a further re-assessment and reinvention


Ripley, Netflix review - Highsmith's horribly fascinating sociopath adrift in a sea of noir

Its black and white cinematography is striking, but eventually wearying

Scoop, Netflix review - revisiting a Right Royal nightmare

Gripping dramatisation of Newsnight's fateful Prince Andrew interview

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs the World Season 2, BBC Three review - fun, friendship and big talents

Worthy and lovable winners (no spoilers) as the best stay the course


Back to Black review - rock biopic with a loving but soft touch

Marisa Abela evokes the genius of Amy Winehouse, with a few warts minimised

Civil War review - God help America

A horrifying State of the Union address from Alex Garland

The Teachers' Lounge - teacher-pupil relationships under the microscope

Thoughtful, painful meditation on status, crime, and power

new music

Album: A Certain Ratio - It All Comes Down to This

Veteran Mancunians undergo a further re-assessment and reinvention

Album: Maggie Rogers - Don't Forget Me

Rogers continues her knack for capturing natural moments, embracing a more live sound

theartsdesk at Tallinn Music Week - art-pop, accordions and a perfect techno hideaway

A revived sense of civilisation thanks to dazzlingly diverse programming


Classical CDs: Nymphs, magots and buckgoats

Epic symphonies, popular music from 17th century London and an engrossing tribute to a great Spanish pianist

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Philharmonia Chorus, RPO, Petrenko, RFH review - poetic cello, blazing chorus

Atmospheric Elgar and Weinberg, but Rachmaninov's 'The Bells' takes the palm


Carmen, Royal Opera review - strong women, no sexual chemistry and little stage focus

Damiano Michieletto's new production of Bizet’s masterpiece is surprisingly invertebrate

La scala di seta, RNCM review - going heavy on the absinthe?

Rossini’s one-acter helps young performers find their talents to amuse


Cassie and the Lights, Southwark Playhouse review - powerful, affecting, beautifully acted tale of three sisters in care
Heart-rending chronicle of difficult, damaged lives that refuses to provide glib answers
Gunter, Royal Court review - jolly tale of witchcraft and misogyny
A five-women team spell out a feminist message with humour and strong singing
First Person: actor Paul Jesson on survival, strength, and the healing potential of art
Olivier Award-winner explains how Richard Nelson came to write a solo play for him


MacMillan Celebrated, Royal Ballet review - out of mothballs, three vintage works to marvel at

Less-known pieces spanning the career of a great choreographer underline his greatness

Carmen, English National Ballet review - lots of energy, even violence, but nothing new to say

Johan Inger's take on Carmen tries but fails to make a point about male violence

WAKE, National Stadium, Dublin review - a rainbow river of dance, song, and so much else

THISISPOPBABY serves up a joyous tapestry of Ireland contemporary and traditional


Dorian Lynskey: Everything Must Go review - it's the end of the world as we know it

Authoritative account of how the apocalypse has always been just around the corner

Andrew O'Hagan: Caledonian Road review - London's Dickensian return

Grotesque and insightful, O’Hagan’s broad cast of characters illuminates a city’s iniquities

Annie Jacobsen: Nuclear War: A Scenario review - on the inconceivable

Brimming with terrifying facts and figures, but struggling with an immeasurable subject

visual arts

Jane Harris: Ellipse, Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine MÉCA, Bordeaux review - ovals to the fore

Persistence and conviction in the works of the late English painter

Sargent and Fashion, Tate Britain review - portraiture as a performance

London’s elite posing dressed up to the nines


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