wed 20/11/2019

Catholicism

Berlioz Requiem, Spyres, Philharmonia Orchestra, Nelson, St Paul's Cathedral review - masses and voids

Asked to choose five or ten minutes of favourite Berlioz on the 150th anniversary of his death (yesterday), surely few would select anything from his giant Requiem (Grande Messe des Morts). This is a work to shock and awe, not to be loved - music...

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Derry Girls, Series Two, Channel 4 review - welcome back, gang

When Derry Girls premiered on Channel 4 in early 2018, there was little fanfare. But it’s been a whirlwind year for the four girls from Derry (and the wee English lad), capturing British hearts before conquering the US through Netflix...

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theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - religion, passion and Nordic fakery

Not to be outdone by the Proms, the 2018 Three Choirs Festival in Hereford burst into action on Saturday with a major choral work, the Mass in D, by music’s most famous suffragette, the majestic figure of Dame Ethel Smyth. Dame Ethel embodies...

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Apostasy review - trouble in the Jehovah's Witnesses' Kingdom

Religion’s desire to fulfil humanity too often denies it instead. The cruelty of inflexible faith which breaks fallible adherents on its iron rules is at the core of this family drama, written and directed by former Jehovah’s Witness Daniel...

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Derry Girls, Channel 4 review – bring on series two!

When first announced, Derry Girls seemed a strange prospect. Derry during The Troubles wasn’t an obvious choice for a sitcom; neither was writer Lisa McGee, whose only previous comedy outing London Irish was slammed for negative...

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La forza del destino, Welsh National Opera review - rambling drama, fine music

David Pountney’s tenure at WNO has been an almost unqualified success, despite some eccentricities of repertoire and a certain obstinacy in the matter of new commissions. His own productions have included at least three of unforgettable quality. He...

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Gunpowder, BBC One review – death, horror, treason and a hint of farce

Much is being made of the fact that Kit Harington is not only playing the Gunpowder Plot mastermind Robert Catesby, but is genuinely descended from him (and his middle name is Catesby). However, despite its factual underpinnings and screenwriter...

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Broken, BBC One series finale review - Seán Bean's quiet immensity

The Catholic Church hasn’t enjoyed a good press on screen lately. Nuns punished Irishwomen for their pregnancies in Philomena. Priests interfered with altar boys in Spotlight. And in The Young Pope a Vatican fixated on conservatism and casuistry...

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Broken, BBC One review - things look bleak in McGovernville

This is Jimmy McGovern, so it’s no surprise to find ourselves up north and feeling grim. The prolific screenwriter’s latest drama series is located in what is described only as “a northern city” (though apparently it’s 60 miles from Sheffield, which...

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Mary Magdalene: Art's Scarlet Woman, review - 'lugubrious'

Mary Magdalene: Art's Scarlet Woman (BBC Four) is, says art critic Waldemar Januszczak, a film about a woman who probably never existed. "So why,” he asks, “are we so obsessed with her?” He delivers the answer in breathy, lugubrious tones as if...

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Silence

Audiences cannot fail to register the enormity of Martin Scorsese’s achievement in Silence. At 160 minutes, it hangs heavy over the film: adapted from the 1966 novel by Japanese writer Shusaku Endo, Silence has been close on three decades in...

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Swan Lake/Loch na hEala, Sadler’s Wells

Booking a ticket for a show devised by Michael Keegan-Dolan has always required an act of faith, and this is no exception. ‘If I say this is a house, it’s a house,” says the evening’s laconic compere, Mikel Murfi, gesturing with his cigarette to...

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