mon 18/12/2017

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Jasper Rees
Monday, 18 December 2017
Crooked House is being released as a film in various territories, but has already been shown on television in America and has now surfaced as a drama on Channel 5 bearing the...
Peter Quantrill
Monday, 18 December 2017
Just when you can scarcely move for Messiahs, two Christmas Oratorios came along at once on Saturday night. That’s London concert schedules for you. While John Butt and his...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 18 December 2017
It's always good news when Christopher Biggins announces he's going to don false bosoms again to play a panto Dame, and Aladdin offers lots of frock action in the role of Widow...
Bernard Hughes
Monday, 18 December 2017
This time of year lots of choirs give lots of Christmas concerts that are more or less the same: traditional repertoire perhaps sprinkled with a few novelties. But Tenebrae’s...
Katie Colombus
Monday, 18 December 2017
2017 has been a time of change if not turmoil, on both personal and political stratospheres. So the music of two sisters whose jam is made up primarily of protest and healing...
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...
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...
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...
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...
David Nice
Sunday, 17 December 2017
"From drawing, via the theatre, to the cinema". Naum Kleiman's  introductory qualification of Sergey Eisenstein's own...
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...

★★★ JARON LANIER: DAWN OF THE NEW EVERYTHING Pioneer of virtual reality tells his story

★★★ LIAM GALLAGHER, BRIGHTON CENTRE A rip-roaring sing-along

★★★★ THE JUNGLE, YOUNG VIC Physically and emotionally challenging

★★★★ ZIMERMAN, LSO, RATTLE, BARBICAN A diverse Bernstein centenary


★★★★ WITNESSES: A FROZEN DEATH FINALE, BBC FOUR Weirdo childbirth cult hits the buffers

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Agatha Christie's Crooked House, Channel 5 review - actresses chew furniture for fun

Country house murder mystery stars a family from hell and an unlikely culprit

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

Return of the Franglais cops, battling unscrupulous people-traffickers


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


Christmas Oratorio, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - right piece, wrong place

Chorus and orchestra are the brightest baubles on Bach’s seasonal tree

Coates, Tenebrae, Short, Kings Place review - effective meeting of cello and choir

Delightful programme of old and new music is a refreshing Christmas treat

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

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


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


Aladdin, Richmond Theatre review - great Dame, weak script
Christopher Biggins is back in gorgeous frocks
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


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


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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