sat 14/12/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Friday, 13 December 2019
What a jolting coincidence that one of the 20th century's angriest symphonic beasts should have a rare unleashing on a night of high national anxiety. Whether Vaughan Williams...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 13 December 2019
If good intentions were everything, Teenage Dick would be the play of the year. As it is, this British premiere at the Donmar of an Off Broadway entry from summer 2018 grants...
Richard Bratby
Friday, 13 December 2019
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s programmes in Birmingham are so personal – so utterly bespoke – that in the event of her being indisposed, they present something of a problem. That’s...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 12 December 2019
The trouble with prejudice is that you can't control how other people see you. At the start of her career, playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's work was set in her own Sikh community...
Demetrios Matheou
Thursday, 12 December 2019
Two years ago Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle dusted off the Robin Williams vehicle from the Nineties with entertaining results, improving on the original with astute casting, a...
Rachel Halliburton
Thursday, 12 December 2019
This scary, electrically beautiful adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book about living on the faultline between imagination and reality is a fantastically alternative offering for the...
Robert Beale
Thursday, 12 December 2019
Omer Meir Wellber may be the first chief conductor of a major orchestra to have begun his tenure with a children's concert....
Veronica Lee
Thursday, 12 December 2019
When Qdos brought back pantomime to the Palladium three years ago after an absence of nearly 30 years, it set the bar high...
Ellie Porter
Thursday, 12 December 2019
Nebraska-born singer-songwriter Josh Rouse made his name in Nashville and has spent the past 15 years living in Spain, and...
Tom Birchenough
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Inua Ellams’ Three Sisters plays Chekhov in the shadow of war, specifically the Nigerian-Biafran secessionist conflict...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
The first feature by Copenhagen-born director Ulaa Salim dives boldly into a cauldron of hot-button issues – terrorism,...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
It’s not about spontaneity. Bar switching the order of a couple of songs at the beginning and during the encore, the set was...
Heather Neill
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
This play can be a challenge for modern audiences: a woman who is ostensibly in a position of power, "a prince" in...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Alibi is usually your one-stop shop for re-runs of Father Brown or Death in Paradise, so well done them for commissioning...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
The appalling fate of the allegedly unsinkable liner Titanic in 1912 has fuelled endless feature films and documentaries,...
Kathryn Reilly
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Here’s some Christmas cheer for you – Robbie Williams now ties Elvis for the most number ones in a solo career. Take that in...
David Nice
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
There is no mention of Marc-Antoine Charpentier in David Cairns's comprehensive Berlioz biography. It seems extraordinary...
Sebastian Scotney
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
She’s back. Dido stopped touring in 2004 and stayed away from it for 15 years. But since starting again in March of this...
Jenny Gilbert
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
A pas de deux is normally an opportunity for two dancers to express the pinnacle of their skill and the choreographer's art...


★★★ TRACES, ALIBI Pedigree cast battle implausible plot

★★★★ THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, NATIONAL THEATRE Terrifying, magical coming of age story

★★★ JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL Dwayne Johnson and the gang return


★★★ SONS OF DENMARK Political thriller stirs cauldron of hot-button issues

★★★★ THREE SISTERS, NATIONAL THEATRE Chekhov in time of war

★★★ DIDO, MAIDA VALE STUDIOS Old hits bring unresolved irony

disc of the day

CD: Josh Rouse - The Holiday Sounds of Josh Rouse

Likeable singer-songwriter serves up an undemanding Christmas confection

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Traces, Alibi review - pedigree cast battles implausible plot

Dundee-set forensic thriller has too many coincidences for its own good

How They Built the Titanic, Channel 5 review - the great liner revisited again, but why now?

It's always a great story, but this didn't tell us anything new

Elizabeth Is Missing, BBC One review - a tender but tough-minded drama about ageing and loss

Glenda Jackson makes a welcome comeback in this psychological thriller-lite


Jumanji: The Next Level review - raising their game

Dwayne Johnson and the gang return to the enjoyably goofy video game adventure

Sons of Denmark review - political thriller stirs cauldron of hot-button issues

Ulaa Salim's debut feature asks pointed questions about racism, terrorism and fascism

DVD/Blu-ray: The Holly and the Ivy

A repressed middle-class clan gathers for Christmas in rarely seen British gem

new music

CD: Josh Rouse - The Holiday Sounds of Josh Rouse

Likeable singer-songwriter serves up an undemanding Christmas confection

CD: Robbie Williams – The Christmas Present

A saccharine concoction served up with lashings of cheese


Cargill, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - high anxiety and visionary gleams

Vaughan Williams' Fourth Symphony tautly ferocious in a fascinating programme

Bauer, CBSO, Koenig, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - Christoph pulls it off

A Widmann premiere triumphs in an unexpected but outstanding Birmingham debut


Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

Superlative playing and conducting, some fine singing, but the protagonist is a bit peaky

theartsdesk Q&A: Director Sir Jonathan Miller

The legendary director lets rip

Death in Venice, Royal Opera review – expansive but intimate evocations

David McVicar brings light and movement to gloomy Venice, but holds psychological focus


Teenage Dick, Donmar Warehouse review - a fearlessly acted, well-intentioned mess
Mike Lew's riff on Shakespeare needs more art to go with its heart
A Kind of People, Royal Court review - multiculturalism falls apart
Family tragedy is emotionally powerful but incomplete and unsatisfying


Radio & Juliet/Faun/McGregor + Mugler, London Coliseum review - a fashion faux pas

Wayne McGregor fails to shine in ill-advised bling fest

Svetlana Zakharova, Modanse, London Coliseum review - impeccably chic but soul-less

The Bolshoi star looks great but delivers zero emotion in new ballet about Coco Chanel

Coppélia, Royal Ballet review - a real charmer

Overdue revival of a sunny favourite


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

Dora Maar, Tate Modern review - how women disappear

Stunning photographs and fabulous photomontages by overlooked and elusive artist

Eco-Visionaries, Royal Academy review - wakey, wakey!

Big issues raised, but not answered

Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre?, Jewish Museum London review - rallying against death

Set aside time to absorb the stunning work of this modernist painter murdered at Auschwitz

latest comments

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Well written review Nick. Just one historical/...

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