sun 17/12/2017

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Sunday, 17 December 2017
It’s remarkable how pervasive the Scandi-noir formula has become, with its penchant for weird and perverted killers, labyrinthine plotting and intriguingly flawed protagonists....
Marina Vaizey
Sunday, 17 December 2017
Jenny Uglow’s biography of Edward Lear (1812-1888) is a meander, almost day by day, through the long and immensely energetic life of a polymath artist. She builds her narrative on...
Gavin Dixon
Sunday, 17 December 2017
Leonard Bernstein is 100 already. Actually, he’s not – his centenary falls in 2018, but the LSO, an orchestra he conducted many times, is building up to the anniversary with a...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 17 December 2017
The title Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities Volume 6 suggests this 24-track compilation might be a rag-bag; a collection of random musical floor-sweepings which couldn’t be...
Owen Richards
Sunday, 17 December 2017
It’s impossible to view The Last Jedi independently from its predecessors. It’s the second instalment of the third trilogy of cinema’s greatest space opera. And it’s very much a...
David Nice
Sunday, 17 December 2017
"From drawing, via the theatre, to the cinema". Naum Kleiman's  introductory qualification of Sergey Eisenstein's own self-perceived line in his Film Form is one that he...
Sebastian Scotney
Sunday, 17 December 2017
Jaron Lanier has quite a story to tell. From a teenage flute-playing goat-herd in New Mexico to an “intense dreamer”, and a...
Howard Male
Sunday, 17 December 2017
I’ve long thought there should be an arts website called ‘On Second Thoughts’ where critics post their reconsidered opinions...
David Nice
Saturday, 16 December 2017
To compose a masterpiece in your teens is rare enough; to choose the most elaborate form in chamber music, an octet for...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 16 December 2017
 Bach: Magnificat in E flat, Missa in F Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner (SDG)John Eliot...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Liam Gallagher is a great rock star. However, he often comes across as not a likeable person. He’s called himself “a cunt”...
Aleks Sierz
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Refugees, it is said, have no nationality – they are all individuals. This new docu-drama, deftly put together by theatre-...
Liz Thomson
Saturday, 16 December 2017
A regular reviewing gig inevitably opens the ears to lots of “stuff”, what with the CDs (and downloads, so irritating to...
David Benedict
Friday, 15 December 2017
From Nicholas Hytner and Alan Bennett’s wonderfully nostalgic version of The Wind in the Willows through Coram Boy, the...
Marina Vaizey
Friday, 15 December 2017
What was it about the privileged male Victorian/Edwardian British writer that led to such a fantastical outpouring of books...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 15 December 2017
The city of love provides a backdrop for marital discord and worse in Belleville, Amy Herzog's celebrated Off Broadway play...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 15 December 2017
For the third and allegedly final time, we hasten back to the Kent coast for another outbreak of cross-Channel crime. Not...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 15 December 2017
It raised some eyebrows when Al Murray announced he was to make his pantomime debut – top comics rarely make that crossover...
Robert Beale
Friday, 15 December 2017
The Royal Northern College of Music’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon has a particularly strong professional production...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 15 December 2017
In the seven years since N.E.R.D last had an album out, Pharrell Williams’ profile, which was already massive, has achieved...
 

★★★ PINOCCHIO, NATIONAL THEATRE Look no strings: long-nosed cartoon character is humanised by a magical staging

★★★★★ THE TWILIGHT ZONE, ALMEIDA THEATRE From hokum to humanity

★★★★ CENDRILLON, RNMC, MANCHESTER Triumph for director Olivia Fuchs in Massenet’s version of Cinderella

★★★ JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE Al Murray's panto debut is less than the sum of its parts

★★★★ BELLEVILLE, DONMAR WAREHOUSE Imogen Poots and James Norton in terrific form as American expats living on the edge

★★ THE TUNNEL: VENGEANCE , SKY ATLANTIC Return of the Franglais cops, battling unscrupulous people-traffickers

disc of the day

Albums of the Year 2017: Arcade Fire - Everything Now

The bleakly euphoric and the euphorically melancholic vie for top position

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tv

The Tunnel: Vengeance, Sky Atlantic review - entente not-so-cordiale

Return of the Franglais cops, battling unscrupulous people-traffickers

Bancroft, ITV review - Sarah Parish's very cold case

Bonkers procedural steers clear of reality

film

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - a bold new chapter

Visually stunning and narratively shocking, Rian Johnson challenges expectations in the latest instalment

The Prince of Nothingwood review - come for the man, stay for the country

Documentary on Afghanistan’s leading film director is an interesting but frustrating affair

DVD: A Journey Through French Cinema

A film-lover's hymn to French movies: Bertrand Tavernier’s 'Voyage à travers le cinéma français'

new music

Reissue CDs Weekly: Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities Volume 6

Consummate obscurities package will satisfy anyone into soul

Albums of the Year 2017: Arcade Fire - Everything Now

The bleakly euphoric and the euphorically melancholic vie for top position

Liam Gallagher, Brighton Centre review - a rip-roaring sing-along

Mixing half Oasis, half new stuff, the younger Gallagher cannot and doesn't fail

classical

Zimerman, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - a diverse Bernstein centenary

A spectacular showcase, both serious and light, 'Wonderful Town' complete with encore revelry

Octets, Wigmore Hall review - Heath Quartet and star friends effervesce

Enescu's rare visitor holds its own against Mendelssohn's youthful masterpiece

Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas CDs, part 2

High-flying trumpets, department stores and civil war: six more of this year's best seasonal releases

opera

Cendrillon, RNCM, Manchester review - magic and spectacle

Triumph for director Olivia Fuchs in Massenet’s version of Cinderella

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Royal Opera review - one tenor, two samey brutes

Bryan Hymel's strong-man double-act outshone by Elīna Garanča's Santuzza

I, Object review - this operatic double-bill delivers just a single hit

A bright new talent and a tired old bore make for uneasy bedfellows

theatre

The Jungle, Young Vic review - physically and emotionally challenging
New play about refugee camp life in Calais is a gruelling docu-drama
Pinocchio, National Theatre review - boy puppet lifts off, eventually
Look no strings: long-nosed cartoon character is humanised by a magical staging
Belleville, Donmar Warehouse review - prickly and unnerving
Imogen Poots and James Norton in terrific form as American expats living on the edge

dance

Bolshoi's controversial Nureyev ballet opens – to ovations and bans

Creator Kirill Serebrennikov, under house arrest, denied permission to see his own ballet

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet review - superb start to the festive dance season

Tchaikovsky's grand and gorgeous classic gets the five-star treatment

gaming

Star Wars Battlefront II review - an opportunity missed

The force is less strong with this one

Call of Duty: WWII review - war is an unpleasant business

The veteran franchise returns for another bout of epic war games

visual arts

From Life, Royal Academy review - perplexingly aimless

A lacklustre account of a defining practice in western art

The Best Exhibitions in London

Soviet art, Cézanne, Harry Potter and more: our favourite shows to see now

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