sat 04/02/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 04 February 2023
Bald, barrel-shaped and pugnacious, Doron Kavillio (Lior Raz) could have been conceived as the anti-Bond or the un-Ethan Hunt. But as action heroes go, Doron can mix it with the...
Veronica Lee
Saturday, 04 February 2023
The Shrek universe expands a little more with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, another computer-animated family film from DreamWorks, with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek Pinnault...
Liz Thomson
Saturday, 04 February 2023
Shania Twain describes her sixth studio album as “a song of gratitude and appreciation. I was inspired that I still had air in my lungs” – and it certainly is a hi-energy affair,...
Gary Naylor
Friday, 03 February 2023
If All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure and Troilus and Cressida have earned the sobriquet "‘problem plays", what price Titus Andronicus? Does a director seek out a Saw...
Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 03 February 2023
Yes, Brendan Fraser gives a fine, Oscar-nominated performance as a morbidly obese man in director Darren Aronfsky’s mawkish, voyeuristic The Whale. Best known for Gods and...
David Nice
Friday, 03 February 2023
Salome was not to get her head on a silver platter: Jennifer Davis, due to sing the bloody final scene of Strauss’s opera, had been experiencing abdominal pains during her first...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 03 February 2023
The set of 2:22 A Ghost Story is open to the auditorium when we arrive and locates us at once in gentrification-land. We are...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 03 February 2023
It’s been a good year for donkeys at the cinema. Not only did Martin McDonagh make a surprise star out of Jenny the...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Friday, 03 February 2023
Kelela, the DC-born artist, has been fusing R&B with experimental electronics since her 2013 mixtape Cut 4 Me. In 2017...
David Nice
Thursday, 02 February 2023
It’s always a disappointment when the Venusberg orgy Wagner added in 1861 to his original, 1845 Tannhäuser to suit Parisian...
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 02 February 2023
It’s the sound of the sun. Panda Bear – born Noah Lennox – is singing in a voice with the purity and warmth of Brian Wilson...
Saskia Baron
Thursday, 02 February 2023
You Resemble Me is the very definition of a passion project, and all the better for it. First-time director Dina Amer...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 02 February 2023
Culture which arrives from the margins to the mainstream is a classic phenomenon. In the case of Sam Steiner’s Lemons Lemons...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 02 February 2023
The Waeve is the debut album from life partners Rose Elinor Dougall (long ago in The Pipettes) and Graham Coxon (of Blur),...
Aleks Sierz
Wednesday, 01 February 2023
Do the right thing! But doing the right thing isn’t easy – especially if you are a teen. And a female teen who is being...
Graham Fuller
Wednesday, 01 February 2023
At their best, horror movies reflect destabilisation caused by cracks in the social fabric. The crack indicated in the...
Tim Cumming
Wednesday, 01 February 2023
Lisa O’Neill is a part of the new wave of Irish contemporary folk artists, one that encompasses the likes of Lankum, Ye...
David Nice
Tuesday, 31 January 2023
It’s dangerous to claim a sense of absolute rightness about a musical performance; that could mean no more than responding...
Helen Hawkins
Tuesday, 31 January 2023
Frantic Assembly’s Othello, originally co-developed with the Lyric in 2008, is back in its third iteration, and it’s still...

★★★★ SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND, ROYAL COURT Loud and triumphantly proud

★★★ THE WHALE Darren Aronofsky's stagey, sentimental portrait of a dying, obese man

★★★★★ ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED Nan Goldin's fight against the makers of Oxycontin is as gutsy as her work in Laura Poitras’s superb documentary

★★★★★ DVD: BABYLON BERLN, SEASON FOUR Golden threads in Weimar Republic labyrinth

★★★★ JANUARY The end is nigh in vampirised Bulgaria


★★★★ KELELA - RAVEN R&B experimentalist Kelela finally returns after six years


disc of the day

Album: Shania Twain - Queen of Me

Music to frighten the horses


Fauda, Season 4, Netflix review - Israeli terrorism thriller gets darker and dirtier

Fourth time around, the human cost is becoming too much to bear

DVD: Babylon Berlin, Season Four

Golden threads through a labyrinth of Weimar Republic corruption


The Whale review - Brendan Fraser stars in a fat suit

Darren Aronofsky's stagey, sentimental portrait of a dying, obese man

EO review - lyrical tale of a donkey's odyssey

Jerzy Skolimowski takes the audience on an incredible journey

new music

Album: Shania Twain - Queen of Me

Music to frighten the horses

Album: Kelela - Raven

R&B experimentalist Kelela finally returns after six years


Philharmonia, Hrůša, RFH review - total brilliance in Bartók, Dvořák and Strauss

No singing Salome, but this was still a firebrand of a concert

Ólafsson, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - spirit of delight

A curate's-egg turn from the Icelandic pianist in Schumann followed by magisterial Elgar


Tannhäuser, Royal Opera review - true goodness triumphs in the end

Lise Davidsen's fully-realised Elisabeth is no pallid virgin in this mixed revival

First Person: soprano Soraya Mafi on why Glyndebourne's tour cancellation is disastrous

Though Arts Council England has partly reinstated English National Opera's grant, its cuts still have devastating consequences for the regions

Least Like the Other, Irish National Opera, Linbury Theatre review - the harrowing of Rosemary Kennedy

Composer Brian Irvine, director/designer Netia Jones and top performers mesmerise


2:22 A Ghost Story, Lyric Theatre review - Cheryl makes an impressive stage debut
Danny Robins' clever play gains a creditable star turn in its fifth run
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, Harold Pinter Theatre review - cool cast chills the drama
West End transfer for Sam Steiner’s fringe classic does the play no favours


Julie Cunningham & Co, Sadler's Wells review - a fine piece of work, with added spice

The other Cunningham stakes out their territory in contemporary dance, and the non-binary debate

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, Coliseum review - the story of a deluded prince

The corps de ballet take the laurels in Derek Deane's dependably fine production

Best of 2022: Dance

It might not be business as usual, but memorable work has come through


Alex Edelman, Menier Chocolate Factory review - London run for unmissable off-Broadway hit

How a Jewish standup found the funny side of a roomful of white nationalists

Best of 2022: Comedy

The Edinburgh Fringe was back - and so were some memorable shows


'I let it emerge': an interview with Fiona Benson on the cusp of the TS Eliot Prize announcement

The poet discusses her new book, mayflies, motherhood, and memory

Jaan Kross: A Book of Falsehoods review - plague, power and deception in 16th century Tallinn

At last, the translation of volume three in the Estonian master's great historical trilogy

Best of 2022: Books

Our top titles before we turn the page on another year

visual arts

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed review - superb documentary about a campaigning artist

Nan Goldin's fight against the makers of Oxycontin is as gutsy as her work

Spain and the Hispanic World, Royal Academy review - a monumental survey

The refurbishment of New York's Hispanic Society provides a unique opportunity to see its treasures

Best of 2022: Visual Arts

Museums and galleries are no longer afraid of giving women major shows

latest comments

Thanks - I'll correct that. Brainslip. Sorry that...

Wonderfully said. Just one correction, it's...

Great to see the Elinor Frey concertos album...

Not all the audience! I thought it was tedious.

I agree with Colette’s comment above. It’s great...


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