fri 01/08/2014

theartsdesk.com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

A Story About My Uncle

Simon Munk

Most first-person games immediately stick a gun in the bottom part of your screen. Developers seem to believe that the only exciting agency a player has in virtual worlds is to...

Prom 19: BBC Singers, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Petrenko

David Nice

A monstrous celebration prefaced by thunderous organ chords is always going to be more the Albert Hall’s kind of thing than a comic opera viewed through the wrong end of the...

A Promise

Matt Wolf

The long march of history pales next to the clamped-down passions and pulpy theatrics of A Promise, the first English-language film from that often most sinuous and witty of...

Modern Combat 5: Blackout

Simon Munk

On technical grounds, it's pretty hard as a gamer not to simply be amazed by Modern Combat 5 – it is, pretty much, a fully-functioned, first-person shooter to rival Call Of Duty...

Guardians of the Galaxy

Katherine McLaughlin

Marvel takes a risk with the origins story of an eclectic crew of potty-mouthed thieves and criminals based on a little known comic book series, and it pays off thanks to Nicole...

Art of China, BBC Four

Florence Hallett

If, like me, you switched this on feeling sheepish about your sketchy knowledge of Chinese art, you would have welcomed as a ready-made excuse the news that some monuments...

PUSH, Guillem/Maliphant, London Coliseum

Hanna Weibye

Last night’s performance of PUSH at the London Colisem left me exhilarated and downcast in equal measure. Exhilarated...

WOMAD 2014, Charlton Park

Peter Culshaw

If I had to pick the highlight of this sun-drenched WOMAD it would have to be the fresh, emotionally charged set of...

What Lies Beneath: The Secret Life of Paintings

Florence Hallett

The doctoring of political images became something of a tradition in the last century, with Stalin, Hitler and Mao all...

Prom 16: Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic, Goetzel/Prom 17: Les Arts Florissants, Christie

David Nice

The sprightly tread of Handel’s Queen of Sheba, attended by two wonderful Turkish oboists, wove the most fragile of gold...

Mood Indigo

Graham Fuller

The magically off-kilter Mood Indigo is based on Boris Vian's posthumously celebrated Surrealist novel L'écume des jours (...

Romeo and Juliet, Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Opera House

Hanna Weibye

One of the reasons I always tell ballet sceptics to give Romeo and Juliet a go is that any production with halfway decent...

A Streetcar Named Desire, Young Vic

Demetrios Matheou

The latest production of Tennessee Williams’s sultry, brutal yet poetic masterpiece is mainstream theatre that dares to go...

Porgy and Bess, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

David Nice

It should work as pure musical theatre. Yet what precisely is Gershwin’s - or rather “The Gershwins’”, as this title frames...

A Bright Room Called Day, Southwark Playhouse

Marianka Swain

The pivotal early 1930s period in which Herr Hitler overcame strong if fractured left-wing opposition should make for meaty...

Hide Your Smiling Faces

Tom Birchenough

Daniel Patrick Carbone is a director who makes his viewers work. That's not meant to sound intimidating at all, because the...

Prom 14: Pahud, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Fischer

Bernard Hughes

Last night's Prom offered an intriguing mixture of French music both sacred and profane, with a British world premiere as...

A Hundred Million Musicians: China's Classical Challenge, BBC Four

Jasper Rees

A few years ago I sat high up in a rapt, sweltering Albert Hall as a lone pianist performed for two hours in the round....

theartsdesk at the Port Eliot Festival

Mark Hudson

Remember when festivals were only about what they were ostensibly about? When, say, Reading offered nothing beyond hard rock...

Red Arrows: Inside the Bubble, BBC Two

Adam Sweeting

The RAF's renowned aerobatics team found itself at the centre of a political mini-storm last week when it was asked to use...

Prom 12: Bach St John Passion, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Norrington

Kimon Daltas

Sir Roger Norrington, 80 this year, produced a masterful St John Passion in the first of his two appearances at this year’s...

Natural Affection, Jermyn Street Theatre

Siobhan Murphy

The work of William Inge doesn't get much of a look-in on British stages, but the American dramatist's depictions of...

theartsdesk in the Faroes: Disco and Dried Fish

Kieron Tyler

“Tonight, in the Faroe Islands, we’re going to find the greatest dancer.” It’s not an exhortation which often rings out. It...

Gallery: CBeebies Prom

theartsdesk

In recent years the BBC Proms have woken up to the idea that an audience for classical music can be captured young. The...

 

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, YOUNG VIC Gillian Anderson seems born to play Blanche DuBois

SYMPHONIC TURKS AND FRENCH BAROQUE AT THE BBC PROMS Communication at the highest level in orchestral orientalia and Rameau motets

WOMAD 2014, CHARLTON PARK Sold-out world music festival warms to revolutionary Ukrainians

ART OF CHINA, BBC FOUR Andrew Graham-Dixon's series offers so much more than the title suggests

PUSH, GUILLEM / MALIPHANT, LONDON COLISEUM An astonishing evening from three dance world greats

MOOD INDIGO There's method in the visual madness of Michel Gondry's tale of tragically blighted love

disc of the day

CD: Eric Clapton & Friends - The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale

Tom Petty, Willie Nelson and Mark Knopfler summoned to salute the late guitar hero

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Listed

Listed: 10 Mozart Operas You've Never Heard (of)
As La finta giardiniera comes to Glyndebourne, we've got the pick of Mozart's lesser-known operas
Listed: The Best UK Summer Music Festivals For Families
Family fun features as strongly as grown-up revels at many summer music festivals
Listed: The World Cup's Most Beautiful Goals
In which scoring aspires to the condition of culture

six of the best

Six of the best: Theatre

Let the right Mormons in: a bit of everything in theartsdesk's tips

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

Six of the best: Art

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions

film

A Promise

Patrice Leconte's first English-language film is vacuous pulp

Guardians of the Galaxy

Chris Pratt delights in James Gunn's thrilling and funny space adventure

Mood Indigo

There's method in the visual madness of Michel Gondry's tale of tragically blighted love

tv

Art of China, BBC Four

Andrew Graham-Dixon's series offers so much more than the title suggests

A Hundred Million Musicians: China's Classical Challenge, BBC Four

Will China's army of young instrumentalists conquer the planet?

Red Arrows: Inside the Bubble, BBC Two

On manoeuvres with the world's best-known aerobatics team

new music

CD: Eric Clapton & Friends - The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale

Tom Petty, Willie Nelson and Mark Knopfler summoned to salute the late guitar hero

WOMAD 2014, Charlton Park

Sold-out world music festival warms to revolutionary Ukrainians

CD: Jenny Lewis - The Voyager

California girl's return confounds expectations

classical

Prom 19: BBC Singers, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Petrenko

Masterly festive Strauss and elegiac Elgar, predictably second-league Four Last Songs

Prom 16: Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic, Goetzel/Prom 17: Les Arts Florissants, Christie

Communication at the highest level in orchestral orientalia and Rameau motets

Prom 14: Pahud, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Fischer

A striking new flute concerto by Simon Holt between established French masterpieces

opera

Prom 6: Der Rosenkavalier, LPO, Ticciati

The Albert Hall may not be ideal for opera but Glyndebourne's latest visit fizzed with energy

La traviata, Glyndebourne

All musical elements fused to make great, stylish music drama of Verdi's intimate tragedy

theartsdesk Q&A: Tenor Michael Fabiano

American singer on the brink of superstardom talks Verdi, competition and inspiration

theatre

A Streetcar Named Desire, Young Vic

Gillian Anderson seems born to play Blanche DuBois, in this inventive and intense rendering of the Williams classic

Porgy and Bess, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Production obstacles stop Gershwin's great score and a valiant cast from shining

A Bright Room Called Day, Southwark Playhouse

Tony Kushner’s play chronicling Nazi ascent in Germany lacks punch

visual arts

Art of China, BBC Four

Andrew Graham-Dixon's series offers so much more than the title suggests

What Lies Beneath: The Secret Life of Paintings

From mystery men to missing whales, paintings can reveal unexpected secrets

First World War Galleries, Imperial War Museum

An imaginative refit with 14 new galleries to tell the story of The Great War

dance

Fallen/Serpent, BalletBoyz, Roundhouse

Visual treats from Liam Scarlett and Russell Maliphant but the music's a drag

PUSH, Guillem/Maliphant, London Coliseum

An astonishing evening from three dance world greats

Romeo and Juliet, Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Opera House

Dated choreography is redeemed by luminous performances

comedy

theartsdesk at Latitude: Damon Albarn/Booker T Jones

Booker T Jones' set of Sixties hits wows the crowd - but is Damon Albarn's new solo material a touch too subtle to headline?

Chelsea Handler, London Palladium

Brisk and businesslike debut for US comic

Monty Python, O2 Arena

Reunion of comedy royalty is worth the wait

gaming

A Story About My Uncle

First-person without the shooting in this nonviolent platform game

Modern Combat 5: Blackout

A fully-fledged first-person shooter on your phone or tablet

Minecraft Pocket Edition

The baby version of the hit PC game is now the real deal

latest comments

Quite harsh but not inaccurate.

Correction made, notifications always welcome....

Please ignore this review, the show is FABULOUS...

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