wed 16/10/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Wednesday, 16 October 2019
There's something about the very opening of a Mahler symphony which gives you an idea of how the rest of the performance will go. In the case of the Second, the inescapable "...
Saskia Baron
Wednesday, 16 October 2019
It’s an uncomfortable feeling to find oneself completely at odds with an audience in a cinema, but it happens. The recent London Film Festival screening of The Peanut Butter...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 16 October 2019
Sir Lenny Henry, PhD and CBE, is scarcely recognisable as the teenager who made his TV debut on New Faces in 1975. He’s been a stand-up comedian, musician and Shakespearean actor...
Sebastian Scotney
Wednesday, 16 October 2019
“Bill Frisell is all about sound and melody and enhancing whatever context he is in.” That quote, which defines both the American guitarist’s gentle and benign nature and his huge...
Alexandra Coghlan
Wednesday, 16 October 2019
Dichterliebe is a song-cycle full of gaps, silences, absences. Where is the piano at the start of “Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet” when the voice enters first and so startlingly,...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Apparently your odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in 11 million, while chances of death in a car accident are about one in 5,000. Therefore flying is theoretically safe...
Tom Birchenough
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
David Greig’s reimagining of Stanisław Lem’s 1961 novel has brought a masterpiece of intellectual science fiction back to...
David Nice
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Verdi, Elgar, Janáček, John Adams - just four composers who achieved musical transcendence to religious texts as what...
Jenny Gilbert
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
This programme of three short works is all about influence, specifically the supposed cross currents between ballet and...
Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Sabrina Mahfouz is a British-Egyptian writer who has explored issues of Muslim and British identity in various formats. Her...
David Nice
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Two hours' drive from Tbilisi over a beautiful mountain pass, lushly wooded on the descent, the Tsinandali Estate has been...
Nick Hasted
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Time passes slowly and remorselessly in The Irishman. Though its much remarked de-ageing technology lets us glimpse Frank...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Foals, the band with a trademark sound characterised by the African-style intricate interplay of rhythm rather than lead...
Boyd Tonkin
Monday, 14 October 2019
You seldom expect to feel the breath of apocalypse and the terror of the grave amid the modestly rationalist architecture...
Lisa-Marie Ferla
Monday, 14 October 2019
It’s an easy joke to suggest that James Arthur needs an editor. By this point, the 31-year-old singer is almost as famous...
Liz Thomson
Sunday, 13 October 2019
For visitors to New York, it’s all about Manhattan, its 23 square miles of skyscraper-encrusted granite instantly familiar,...
Sarah Kent
Sunday, 13 October 2019
Every now and then a book comes out that can change lives. If a survey like this had appeared when I was a student at the...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 13 October 2019
The temptation with the 20th anniversary reissue of Ḣ-Camp Meets Lo-Fi (Explosion Picture Score) is to look for traces of...
Joe Muggs
Saturday, 12 October 2019
If there was ever a documentary that needed you to have good speakers on your TV setup – or good headphones if you're...

★★★★★ STUDIO 17: THE LOST REGGAE TAPES, BBC FOUR The inside story of the evolution of reggae

★★★★ SOLARIS, LYRIC HAMMERSMITH David Greig's moving and cerebral dream-drama

★★★★ MARY BEVAN, THE SIXTEEN, BARBICAN MacMillan transcends again

★★★★★ THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN, WNO Janáček’s life cycle still fresh after four decades

THE BEST PLAYS IN LONDON The Arts Desk's stage tips

★★★★★ THE IRISHMAN Scorsese's masterful, unsentimental gangster epic

CROSS CURRENTS / MONOTONES II / EVERYONE KEEPS ME Royal Ballet treasures at Linbury Theatre

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Chaos in the Cockpit: Flights from Hell, Channel 5 review - do we really want to watch plane-wreck TV?

The aircraft might be ok, but there's no accounting for human error

Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes, BBC Four review - a perfectly paced tale of world-shaking basslines and human frailty

The inside story of the evolution of reggae and the family that helped facilitate it


The Peanut Butter Falcon review - sentimental comedy is so damn heartwarming

Heart-felt picaresque adventure about a young man with Down's Syndrome runs into clichés

LFF 2019: Le Mans '66 review - Matt Damon, Christian Bale and the Ford Motor Company go to war

Battle of the race aces, plus 'The Aeronauts', 'Greed' and 'The Exorcist' revisited

Gemini Man review - high-concept, high-tech Zen weirdness

Ang Lee's baffled action effort, with surplus Will Smiths

new music

Bill Frisell's Harmony, Cadogan Hall review – superb Americana

A great new project with voices takes in Lerner and Loewe and Bowie

CD: Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2

Intelligent pop with poetry and heart

CD: James Arthur - You

Pop delinquent grows up on extended third album


theartsdesk Q&A: Gianandrea Noseda on conducting Mahler and the Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra

The Italian conductor reflects after a blazing 'Resurrection' at the Tsinandali Festival

Zauberland, Linbury Theatre review - an adaptation that adds much and gains nothing

This topical updating of a classic song-cycle feels laboured

Bevan, The Sixteen, Genesis Sixteen, Christophers, Barbican review - MacMillan transcends again

Thoughtful showcasing of UK and London premieres for the Scotish composer's latest


The Cunning Little Vixen, Welsh National Opera review - family night in the forest

Janáček’s life cycle comes up fresh and inspiring after four decades

Orpheus in the Underworld, English National Opera review – ENO goes to hell

Offenbach's sparkling operetta is well sung, but this production is dead on arrival

The Silver Lake, English Touring Opera review - shadows of the Weimar twilight

A welcome resurrection of Kurt Weill's sombre farewell to Germany


Solaris, Lyric Hammersmith review - moving and finely cerebral
David Greig’s dream-drama of cosmic loneliness is sci-fi at its most philosophical
A History of Water in the Middle East, Royal Court review - feminist dreams and passions
New lecture about British imperialism is energetically engaging, but rather slender
Baby Reindeer, Bush Theatre review - break, break, breaking Gadd
Provocative one-man show about a stalker by stand-up comedian Richard Gadd is darkly exciting


Cross Currents/Monotones II/Everyone Keeps Me, Linbury Theatre review - the Royal Ballet finds the missing link

In exploring the road not taken, the Royal Ballet turns up treasures old and new

Dada Masilo's Giselle, Sadler's Wells review - bold, brutal, unforgiving

Startling cultural retread of the romantic ballet, set in a South African village

Manon, Royal Opera House review - splendid start to the season

MacMillan's 'dirty little diamond digger' proves her worth yet again


Elf Lyons, Komedia, Brighton review - bonkers, brilliant and a bit of bare bum

An endearing personal journey into why guinea pigs hate their loving, attentive owners

Rob Beckett, St David's Hall, Cardiff review - a mixed bag of observations

Scattergun approach yields both killer lines and tame misses

DVD: Do Not Adjust Your Set / At Last The 1948 Show

What the Pythons did first: the remnants of two iconic 1960s shows, restored with respect


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

Rembrandt's Light, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - a film-maker out of time?

A novel collaboration between curators and cinematographer Peter Suschitzky

Gauguin Portraits, National Gallery review - me, myself and I

The French artist didn't revolutionise portraiture, he was too interested in himself


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