tue 31/05/2016

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

Venice Architecture Biennale 2016

Hugh Pearman

Arts festivals of the size of the Venice Biennale are inevitably patchy. The appointed directors are hardly ever given enough time to curate and fill absolutely vast volumes of...

DVD: Penda’s Fen

Kieron Tyler

Penda’s Fen has so many constituent parts it could burst its seams. Almost-18 schoolboy Stephen Franklin is struggling with determining the nature of his sexuality. His school is...

A Midsummer Night's Dream, BBC One

Matt Wolf

Theseus was a tablet-carrying dictator, Lysander a sweet-faced asthmatic, and Peter Quince rechristened Mistress Quince in the agreeably unexpected presence of Elaine Paige: those...

The Invitation/Obsidian Tear/Within the Golden Hour, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

It shows you just how much Kenneth MacMillan changed ballet in this country that 1960's The Invitation, with its onstage rape, sexual grooming and child abuse, can act as the...

Top Gear, BBC Two

Matthew Wright

Few TV series manage such copious, prominent and skilful trails. There was a “controversy” about doing a handbrake turn round the Cenotaph. There have been endless rumours about...

Znaider, LSO, Pappano, Barbican

David Nice

Anger and fear in Elgar, introspection in middle-period Beethoven: these are undervalued qualities in each composer’s music. Yet such moods were vividly present in two hyper-...

Is Wales really the land of song?

Professor Gareth Williams

Culture, said Aneurin Bevan, comes off the end of a pick. A hundred years ago there was no shortage of picks when a quarter...

CD: Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Just over three years ago, I was swooning for this very site over Tegan and Sara’s masterful shift from indie rock to full-...

theartsdesk in Bilbao: The School of Paris at the Guggenheim Museum

Florence Hallett

Painted during his first trip to Paris in 1900, Picasso’s Le Moulin de la Galette is an outsider’s view of an exotic and...

Brighton Festival: Beth Orton, Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts

Matthew Wright

Beth Orton’s sparsely ethereal new collection Kidsticks has been well received for marking an interesting change of...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Death and Vanilla

Kieron Tyler

Last May, Malmö trio Death and Vanilla issued the To Where the Wild Things are album and it seemed they had arrived as a...

Brighton Festival: Stella, Theatre Royal

Nick Hasted

A Victorian transgender celebrity is a fitting and timely subject for this Brighton Festival premiere. Writer-director Neil...

CD: Dexys - Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish And Country Soul

Thomas H Green

Kevin Rowland, throughout his career, has been a man who doesn’t brook compromise, whatever the consequences. He seems to...

Paul Simon Introduces 'Stranger to Stranger'

Adam Sweeting

Perhaps as a hopeful harbinger for Paul Simon's new album Stranger to Stranger, Disturbed recently topped Billboard's...

Brighton Festival: Alexei Sayle, Corn Exchange

Nick Hasted

The last time I saw Alexei Sayle was at a benefit gig in Essex in the Eighties, when his rapid torrents of invective and...

Classical CDs Weekly: Kenneth Hesketh, Vaughan Williams, Ensemble Pygmalion

Graham Rickson

Kenneth Hesketh: horae (pro clara) Clare Hammond (piano) (BIS)Pianist Clare Hammond writes of Liverpudlian composer Kenneth...

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Volume 17 - Paul McCartney, Moby, Grace Jones and more

Thomas H Green

News just in that the vinyl soundtrack to Star Wars: The Force Awakens will feature holograms that can seen as the record is...

CD: Bugzy Malone - Facing Time

Joe Muggs

In 2016, grime is facing a new test of its ability to operate on its own terms. At the start of this decade the genre was...

The Threepenny Opera, National Theatre

Alexandra Coghlan

Last seen at the National Theatre over 10 years ago, Brecht and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera is back in a new adaptation by...

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Ed Owen

How much you enjoy this new version of Alice Through The Looking Glass will be directly proportional to how much you revere...

Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Welsh National Opera

Stephen Walsh

Seventy years ago, almost to the month, Welsh National Opera took to the stage for the first time with a double bill of the...

Jekyll & Hyde, Old Vic

Jenny Gilbert

From time to time theatre managements hit on the idea that danced drama should be part of their remit. Nick Hytner flirted...

10 Questions for Photographer Tanya Habjouqa

Thembi Mutch

Tanya Habjouqa, winner of the World Press Photo Award 2014, is a founding member of the all-female Middle Eastern...

DVD: Battle for Sevastopol

Tom Birchenough

The latest in a long tradition of Russian Second World War films, Sergei Mokritsky’s Battle for Sevastopol itself emerged...

 

CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, PAGLIACCI, WELSH NATIONAL OPERA Double bill celebrates Italy in Wales and 70 years of changing styles

THEARTSDESK ON VINYL: VOLUME 17 - PAUL MCCARTNEY, MOBY, GRACE JONES AND MORE From Afrobeat to psychedelia, electronica to guitar pop, it's all here on plastic

CD: BUGZY MALONE – FACING TIME As grime enters its mature phase, what contribution can Manchester make?

PAUL SIMON INTRODUCES 'STRANGER TO STRANGER' Not so crazy after all these years

BRIGHTON FESTIVAL: STELLA, THEATRE ROYAL A Victorian's spectacular transgender life, bleakly and obliquely told

THEARTSDESK IN BILBAO: THE SCHOOL OF PARIS AT THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM Exceptional loans from New York make a familiar story sparkle with life

disc of the day

DVD: Penda’s Fen

Major Seventies British television drama unites the politically pointed with fantasy

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Brighton Festival

Brighton Festival: Brighton – Symphony of a City, Brighton Dome

A cinematic cross-section of life in London-by-Sea

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two at the 50th Brighton Festival!

Prize includes hotel, a meal and event tickets

DVD: Pink String and Sealing Wax

Sub-texts galore in grade-A Ealing melodrama

tv

A Midsummer Night's Dream, BBC One

Russell T Davies's revisionist Shakespeare delivers on its own, often puckish terms

Top Gear, BBC Two

The starry partnership of Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc misfires in series relaunch

Going Going Gone, BBC Four

Nick Broomfield in elegiac mode holds out for history

film

DVD: Penda’s Fen

Major Seventies British television drama unites the politically pointed with fantasy

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Wasikowska, Bonham Carter and Depp back in inventive if unfaithful Carroll sequel

DVD: Battle for Sevastopol

Impressive Russian World War II sniper story with international dimension

new music

CD: Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death

Full-on electropop magnificence from Canadian sister duo

Brighton Festival: Beth Orton, Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts

Live charisma adds human depth to the perfect sheen of her new record

Reissue CDs Weekly: Death and Vanilla

The Swedish band’s back catalogue is made widely available for the first time

classical

Znaider, LSO, Pappano, Barbican

Perfect depth and communication in Beethoven and Elgar

Is Wales really the land of song?

As Festival of Voice opens in Cardiff with Bryn Terfel, Charlotte Church and John Cale, a historian explains Wales's choral roots

Classical CDs Weekly: Kenneth Hesketh, Vaughan Williams, Ensemble Pygmalion

Modern British pianism, two very English symphonies and a musical trip down the Rhine

opera

Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Welsh National Opera

Double bill celebrates Italy in Wales and 70 years of changing styles

theartsdesk in Warsaw: Moniuszko Vocal Competition 2016

Rising stars of opera shine at major Polish-based international event

4.48 Psychosis, Royal Opera, Lyric Hammersmith

A musical dramatisation of Sarah Kane's classic play finds both pain and consolation

theatre

Brighton Festival: Stella, Theatre Royal

A Victorian's spectacular transgender life, bleakly and obliquely told

Six of the best: Theatre

A thrilling revival of contemporary classic 'Blue/Orange' leads theartsdesk's stage tips

The Threepenny Opera, National Theatre

A brutally efficient adaptation of Brecht and Weill's grubby classic

visual arts

Venice Architecture Biennale 2016

Reality bites: icon buildings abandoned for mass migration and a global housing crisis

theartsdesk in Bilbao: The School of Paris at the Guggenheim Museum

Exceptional loans from New York make a familiar story sparkle with life

10 Questions for Photographer Tanya Habjouqa

The award-winning photographer talks about her new book, 'Occupied Pleasures'

dance

The Invitation/Obsidian Tear/Within the Golden Hour, Royal Ballet

MacMillan revival in a different class to anodyne offerings from McGregor and Wheeldon

Jekyll & Hyde, Old Vic

Dance version is loud and brash with all the horror and none of the mystery

Carlos Acosta: A Classical Farewell, Birmingham Hippodrome

On his retirement tour, Cuban superstar showcases the young, and proves he's still got it

comedy

Brighton Festival: Alexei Sayle, Corn Exchange

The Comedy Store legend reminisces, and sometimes sparks

Julian Clary, Touring

Filthy, funny chat from the 'renowned homosexual'

Marcus Brigstocke, Soho Theatre

Observational comic gets some gripes off his chest

gaming

Homefront: The Revolution

Home isn’t where the heart is in this overly ambitious shooter

Battleborn

Chaotic, cartoony, co-operative carnage

Pathfinder Adventures

A clever card game that benefits from a digital makeover

Listed

Listed: Forget the Force
Star Wars wasn't the only groundbreaking film of 1977. We identify some others
The 11 Best Gigs on Film (after Stop Making Sense)
As Talking Heads' masterpiece is restored on disc, we hail the great screen concerts
Listed: The 100 Funniest Things about Downton Abbey
Julian Fellowes' juggernaut has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in six series. Here's how he did it

latest comments

Everything that could be said, already said...

When a sitcom is described as 'gentle comedy' you...

I was at this gig as a music lover who was...

Having enjoyed most of Broomfield's work over the...

I'll never forget Jeremy Sams' outrageous...

I doubt English Heritage would list a building in...

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