fri 27/02/2015

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

The Indian Queen, English National Opera

Kimon Daltas

When Purcell died at just 36, he left The Indian Queen unfinished, which only adds to the usual problems of staging his "semi-operas" – plays with musical interludes which don’t...

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1

Simon Munk

A shambling corpse, desperately gouging anything that comes near it for sustenance, a shadow of its former self. I'm not talking of the zombies that infest this game, but the...

Extract: I've Always Kept a Unicorn: The Biography of Sandy Denny

Mick Houghton

Sandy Denny was well known within the folk world by 1968 (writes Kieron Tyler). Although the recordings were as-yet unreleased, in July 1967 she had recorded with The Strawbs. She...

White God

Kieron Tyler

With a similar title to Samuel Fuller’s White Dog, White God, too, is an allegory on racism with a canine slant. Where the 1982 film centred on a dog trained to attack black...

Man and Superman, National Theatre

Alexandra Coghlan

How do you take your rom-coms? Full-fat Hollywood schmaltz, Shakespearean, or lean and elegant – a Stoppard perhaps, or Coward? If your answer did not include “With lashings of...

Wolf Hall, Series Finale, BBC Two

Jasper Rees

Wolf Hall divided viewers from the off. It mesmerised many and left a vocal minority cold, for whom apparently - mystifyingly - it has all been a bit dull. The dialogue was...

The Mikvah Project, The Yard, Hackney

Jenny Gilbert

In the beginning was the Word and, not long after, came a need for ritual purification. “When Adam was banished from Eden,...

Picasso: Love, Sex and Art, BBC Four

Fisun Güner

So, Picasso’s last words turned out not to be, “Drink to me. Drink to my health. You know I can’t drink anymore” – yes,...

Romeo and Juliet, Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Mark Kidel

Teen spirit explodes time and time again in the intimate space of Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, with piercing electronic sounds...

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Aldwych Theatre

Matt Wolf

Stars continue to be born from Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Following on from the ongoing Broadway run of the show,...

Salt and Silver, Tate Britain

Florence Hallett

Captured in monochromes ranging from the most delicate honeyed golds to robust gradations of aubergine and deep brown, the...

Kill Me Now, Park Theatre

Heather Neill

The big news was that dashing Greg Wise was returning to the London stage after an absence of 17 years. Still best...

The War on Drugs, O2 Academy Brixton

Barney Harsent

It would probably be best to start this review with a mention of the band, The War on Drugs, whose 2014 LP, Lost in the...

The South Bank Show: Mark Rylance, Sky Arts 1

Adam Sweeting

Going into this programme, it dawned on me that I knew next to nothing about Mark Rylance's background – where he came from...

It Follows

Emma Simmonds

David Robert Mitchell's second ode to innocence lost is a rather more twisted take on the subject than his first film, The...

Multitudes, Tricycle Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Plays about Muslims in British theatre tend to open a door on a segregated community, a place cut off from the mainstream....

Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage, National Theatre Wales

Gary Raymond

For many the story of Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas will be familiar. It has been told in many forms, and powerful and...

Eva Yerbabuena/Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

The Sadler's Wells Flamenco Festival is cunningly scheduled for that particularly dreary fortnight in late February when...

Closer, Donmar Warehouse

Aleks Sierz

Political sleaze, arguments over Europe and fears for the NHS – sometimes it feels as if it’s the 1990s all over again...

The Jesus & Mary Chain, Brighton Dome

Thomas H Green

“The Sun comes up, another day begins/And I don’t even worry ‘bout the state I’m in.” One of the great opening lines in rock...

Oscars 2015: Birdman soars, Boyhood plummets

Matt Wolf

I hope someone by now has told Neil Patrick Harris how to pronounce David Oyelowo’s surname, but if anyone wants to see how...

Hardenberger, Philharmonia, Nelsons, RFH

Gavin Dixon

Even by trumpeters’ standards, Håkan Hardenberger is a flamboyant figure. He sports a sharp, tailored suit and a wing-...

Weyes Blood, The Old Blue Last

Matthew Wright

Pennsylvanian singer-songwriter Natalie Mering, aka Weyes Blood, performed her intoxicating brew of Gothic folk-tronica in...

Hansel and Gretel, Welsh National Opera

Stephen Walsh

After 16 years one might expect a revival of a repertory opera like Hansel and Gretel to come up with a dusty look and...

 

THE MIKVAH PROJECT, THE YARD, New play about Jewish faith and the limits of love makes a splash

MAN AND SUPERMAN, NATIONAL THEATRE A theatrical trip to Hell has some heavenly moments

WOLF HALL, SERIES FINALE, BBC TWO Superb drama from another age reaches its chilling endgame

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, ALDWYCH THEATRE With Katie Brayben as the prolific singer-songwriter, a star is born in London as on Broadway

PICASSO: LOVE, SEX AND ART, BBC FOUR Picasso's women and the role they played in his work

SALT AND SILVER, TATE BRITAIN Early photographs that brim with the spirit of experimentation

LA VIDA BREVE/GIANNI SCHICCHI, OPERA NORTH Exuberant comedy and mishandled tragedy in an uneven double bill

disc of the day

DVD: Mr Turner

Superlative performances in Mike Leigh's ravishingly filmed hyper-biopic

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Listed

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We Made It

We Made It: Furniture Designer & Maker Laszlo Beckett

The South London furniture maker talks lasers, skate-ramps and Coltrane

We Made It: Set and Costume Designer Lise Marker

A multidisciplinary artist and Matthew Barney collaborator explains her craft

We Made It: The Bogányi Piano

Acoustics and sculpture merge in the strange sci-fi structure of this new piano

film

DVD: Mr Turner

Superlative performances in Mike Leigh's ravishingly filmed hyper-biopic

White God

Hungarian allegory on racism and the rise of the far right fails to cohere

It Follows

Smart, striking horror starring Maika Monroe and directed by David Robert Mitchell

tv

Wolf Hall, Series Finale, BBC Two

Superb drama from another age reaches its chilling endgame

Picasso: Love, Sex and Art, BBC Four

Picasso's women and the role they played in his work

The South Bank Show: Mark Rylance, Sky Arts 1

Lord Bragg explores an actor's life

new music

Extract: I've Always Kept a Unicorn: The Biography of Sandy Denny

Tables turned as Fairport Convention are auditioned by their new singer

CD: Katzenjammer – Rockland

Barn-dance friendly Scandinavians find their own groove

CD: Tuxedo - Tuxedo

Shiny-suited funk from the LA-Seattle supergroup

classical

Hardenberger, Philharmonia, Nelsons, RFH

Great Swedish trumpeter entertains, but the Latvian conductor disappoints in Mahler

The Seckerson Tapes: Schumann Quartet

Three German-Japanese brothers and an Estonian violist present their second release

Classical CDs Weekly: Monteverdi, Vaughan Williams, Simon Desbruslais

An early choral blockbuster, a war-tinged symphony and a disc of contemporary trumpet concertos

opera

The Indian Queen, English National Opera

A colourful but eccentric production veers between beauty and incomprehensibility

Hansel and Gretel, Welsh National Opera

Fairytale masterpiece revived as a brilliant foodie fantasy

Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

A witty and moving new play is a timely reminder of just why art matters

theatre

Man and Superman, National Theatre

A theatrical trip to Hell has some heavenly moments

The Mikvah Project, The Yard, Hackney

New play about Jewish faith and the limits of love makes a splash

Romeo and Juliet, Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Teen spirit, stirred but not deeply shaking

visual arts

Picasso: Love, Sex and Art, BBC Four

Picasso's women and the role they played in his work

Salt and Silver, Tate Britain

Early photographs that brim with the spirit of experimentation

theartsdesk in Moscow: Remembering George Costakis

Moscow pays tribute to the great Greek collector of the Russian avant-garde

dance

Eva Yerbabuena/Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, Sadler's Wells

Grimly majestic femininity steals the show at annual Spanish showcase

Swan Lake, Royal Ballet

Marianela Nuñez's dream Odette/Odile distracts from hideous designs and score butchery

The Associates, Sadler's Wells

Crystal Pite's reworked duet pips premières from Kate Prince and Hofesh Shechter

comedy

Dracula! (Mr Swallow - the Musical), Soho Theatre

Nick Mohammed's daft but entertaining spoof musical

Kim Noble, Soho Theatre

Tender and playful show about love and loneliness

Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, Manchester Arena

Live stage version of the hit sitcom is great fun

gaming

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1

Action-oriented horror series gets snipped into formulaic episodes

Sunless Sea

Nautical misadventures abound in this cruel strategy game

The Order: 1886

Steampunk Victorian London shooter fails to engage

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