fri 03/04/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Veronica Lee
Friday, 03 April 2020
You may have seen Lazy Susan's excellent BBC pilot last year; now a series has been commissioned from Freya Parker and Celeste Dring so we can look forward to more sketches,...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 03 April 2020
Netflix’s ReMastered series is one of the streaming channel’s undersung gems. Launching in 2018, when Tricky Dick and the Man in Black first aired, it has proved to be a solidly...
David Nice
Friday, 03 April 2020
Feeling stir-crazy right now? Imagine being confined to one room with a half-crazed housekeeper, two dysfunctional kids and two increasingly insistent ghosts, plagued by...
Marina Vaizey
Friday, 03 April 2020
Mirrors and windows, looking at ourselves or out into the world, reflecting the culture or making it: compare and contrast. This was the subliminal debate in Spies (BBC Four), the...
Kieron Tyler
Friday, 03 April 2020
Filmic. Lushness balanced with intimacy. Ren Harvieu’s follow-up to 2012’s Top Five Through The Night is crammed with wide-screen aural dramas. Take “Cruel Disguise”. It begins...
Matt Wolf
Thursday, 02 April 2020
“The whole world is just tilting at the moment,” we’re told near the end of Wild, the Mike Bartlett play from summer 2016 that is available (through Sunday) online to help...
Joseph Walsh
Thursday, 02 April 2020
With over one hundred books to her name and several hugely popular TV spin-offs, including the Tracy Beaker adventures,...
Steven Osborne
Thursday, 02 April 2020
How fast the world can change. What seemed unimaginable just weeks ago, the effective shuttering of our societies, is now a...
Mark Kidel
Thursday, 02 April 2020
Ravi Shankar was one of the giants of 20th century music. A musician, composer and teacher, he had an extraordinarily...
Demetrios Matheou
Thursday, 02 April 2020
After his two mysterious, tightly-coiled and idiosyncratic first features, Neighbouring Sounds and Aquarius,...
Mark Kidel
Thursday, 02 April 2020
Purity Ring, the Canadian duo, are purveyors of simple yet sophisticated dream pop. Corin Roddick makes synth tracks at one...
Sebastian Scotney
Wednesday, 01 April 2020
“Jazz people,” one commentator has written this week “are amongst the most adaptable of our species as life mirrors art and...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 01 April 2020
Could this mock-mythic journey, emulating the trek homewards to Ithaca of Homer’s hero Odysseus, really be the final series...
David Nice
Wednesday, 01 April 2020
Less than six months ago Prague’s most prestigious concert hall, the neo-Renaissance Rudolfinum, was all glittering lights...
Owen Richards
Wednesday, 01 April 2020
The UK-wide lockdown has thrown the cinematic release schedule into chaos. Some films are postponed indefinitely, while...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 01 April 2020
The cringe-making horror of adolescent schooldays is vividly re-lived in this US import (on Sky Comedy), but with a cunning...
Nick Hasted
Wednesday, 01 April 2020
Alongside the man he calls “the other half of my brain”, Flying Lotus, Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner sits near the heart of...
Veronica Lee
Tuesday, 31 March 2020
As we are learning each day during lockdown, necessity is the mother of invention. In Channel 4's case, it is learning how...
Liz Thomson
Tuesday, 31 March 2020
Available in Britain now on YouTube for only a couple of days, Elton John’s iHeart Living Room Concert for America was put...

disc of the day

Album: Ren Harvieu - Revel In The Drama

Almost a decade on from ‘Through The Night’, the soulful voice of Salford takes control


Pen15, Sky Comedy review - the horror of adolescent schooldays revisited

Thirty-somethings Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle revisit their Y2K pubescence


Four Kids and It review – a family friendly yarn that needs more magic

Jacqueline Wilson’s contemporary update is a so-so Blytonesque adventure

Bacurau review – way-out western

Sonia Braga and Udo Kier star in a genre mash-up with lashings of spaghetti sauce

The Whalebone Box review - documentary through unreliable surrealism

A different kind of road trip with artist Andrew Kötting

new music

ReMastered: Tricky Dicky and the Man in Black, Netflix review - dynamic saga of music and politics

Riveting hour-long documentary about Johnny Cash's White House concert in 1970

Album: Ren Harvieu - Revel In The Drama

Almost a decade on from ‘Through The Night’, the soulful voice of Salford takes control

Album: Purity Ring - Womb

Diaphanous pop for difficult times


Czech Philharmonic Benefit Concert online review – profound musicianship in sombre masked fundraiser

Three violinists, two cellists, four pianists and a harpist play superbly to an empty hall

Remembering Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020)

Sixties radical became the spiritual voice of Poland as elder statesman


The Turn of the Screw, Opera North, OperaVision review - claustrophobic visions of terror and beauty

Strongly-cast revival keeps the ambiguities of Henry James's ghost story in play

Le nozze di Figaro, Garsington Opera, OperaVision review - natural comedy, musical sublimity

Durable period setting enshrines perfect characterisations. Plus a Handel special

Classical music/Opera direct to home: 3 - Two Jenůfas

If you want searing music-drama, Janáček's are the place to start - but choose carefully


Wild, Hampstead Theatre online review - timelier than anticipated
Mike Bartlett's 2016 play chimes with our topsy-turvy times
The Croft, Original Theatre online review – give me the remote
Original Theatre’s tartan gothic thriller is complex but also a bit overwrought
Sondheim at 90 Songs: 5 - 'Every Day A Little Death'
A stinging duet from 'A Little Night Music' has a savagely funny power


Isadora Now, Barbican Theatre review - a little piece of history

Attempt to revive the spirit of Isadora Duncan is of academic interest, little more

Alina, Sadler's Wells review - I think therefore I dance

An unusual hybrid show gives a glimpse into the mind of a great ballerina


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

10 Questions for Irina Nalis

Multidisciplinary thinking at a multidisciplinary festival in a time of crisis

Among the Trees, Hayward Gallery review - a mixture of euphoria and dismay

Our complex relationship with trees explored to powerful effect


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters