sun 18/02/2018

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Sunday, 18 February 2018
The plan to bring drama back to Saturday nights on BBC One enjoyed mixed success with Hard Sun, but now threatens to slide over a cliff with this trip back to the Homeric era. In...
Marina Vaizey
Sunday, 18 February 2018
London Rules – explicitly cover your arse – is the fifth in the most remarkable and mesmerising series of novels, set mostly and explicitly in London, to have appeared in years....
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 18 February 2018
During the British Invasion years, a Cleveland, Ohio band called The Choir ploughed a Brit-focussed furrow from late 1964. Initially and tellingly, they were named The Mods. Their...
Barney Harsent
Sunday, 18 February 2018
A little over two years ago, The Arts Desk reviewed Hipnotik Tradisi, Black Merlin’s extraordinary first offering for Island of the Gods’ Island Explorer series. The idea is...
Alexandra Coghlan
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Schubert’s winter wanderer had Wilhelm Muller to voice his despair, while Schumann’s poet-in-love had Heinrich Heine. The lovers of Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch must make...
Aleks Sierz
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Monologues are very much the flavour of the start of this theatrical year. At the Royal Court, we have Carey Mulligan in Dennis Kelly’s brilliant Girls & Boys, coming hot on...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Diethelm: Symphonic Works Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Rainer Held (Guild)Swiss composers? There's Honegger, and Frank...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 17 February 2018
This album has been about in virtual form since last autumn but now receives physical release. In more ways than one. Since...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 16 February 2018
This is Carey Mulligan week. She appears, improbably enough, as a hard-nosed cop in David Hare’s BBC thriller Collateral, as...
Markie Robson-Scott
Friday, 16 February 2018
Greta Gerwig, in her hugely acclaimed, semi-autobiographical directing debut (a Golden Globe for best director, five Academy...
Bryony Lavery
Friday, 16 February 2018
I never have the idea of adapting anything at all myself. The suggestions always come from directors or theatre companies....
Sarah Kent
Friday, 16 February 2018
On entering the gallery, you are greeted by the cheeping of birds. A flock of zebra finches flies around a circular cage and...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 16 February 2018
Black Panther arrives with all the critics displaying superhero-sized goodwill for its very existence. It’s a big budget...
Graham Rickson
Friday, 16 February 2018
Director Alex Barrett’s wordless London Symphony is a conscious throwback to the silent "city symphonies" of the 1920s,...
Jasper Rees
Thursday, 15 February 2018
When you’re hot, you’re hot. In the past two years Mike Bartlett has had the following works staged or broadcast: Wild, a...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 15 February 2018
At the Brighton Festival 2018 official launch this morning, the much-anticipated ritual of opening the brand new programme...
Katherine Waters
Thursday, 15 February 2018
Colours had meanings for Emil Nolde. “Yellow can depict happiness and also pain. Red can mean fire, blood or roses; blue can...
Guy Oddy
Thursday, 15 February 2018
Dreamweapon’s second album, SOL, is a spaced-out trip of oceanic psychedelia that calls on the listener to pay full...
Matt Wolf
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Peter Gill has been a quiet if invaluable mainstay of the Donmar over time. But the Welsh playwright-director has rarely...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Guillermo del Toro has laid down markers as a wizard of the fantastical with such previous works as Pan’s Labyrinth and...

★★★★★ GIRLS & BOYS, ROYAL COURT Carey Mulligan is stunningly brilliant

★★★★★ IOLANTHE, ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA Bright and beautiful G&S for all

'THESE STAR-CROSSED LOVERS ARE SO YOUNG' Bryony Lavery on adapting 'Brighton Rock'

★★ BLACK PANTHER The Marvel movie made by black talent takes itself too seriously

★★★★ DVD: LONDON SYMPHONY Wordless celebration of the capital's upside


★★★★ EMIL NOLDE: COLOUR IS LIFE, NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND Comprehensive overview of neglected German Expressionist with a troubling past

★★★★ KAUFMANN, DAMRAU, DEUTSCH, BARBICAN Shut your eyes and the musicianship dazzles

BRIGHTON FESTIVAL 2018 Launches with Guest Director David Shrigley

★★★ TRAUMA, ITV Great performances by John Simm and Adrian Lester, but Mike Bartlett's in too much of a hurry

disc of the day

CD: Jonny Nash and Lindsay Todd - Fauna Mapping

A stunning aural portrait of Bali's natural landscape

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Troy: Fall of a City, BBC One review - soapification of the Trojan War

Classical myth reborn as low-voltage melodrama

The best TV to watch this week

What's on and where to find it

Trauma, ITV, review - surgically imprecise revenge drama

Great performances by John Simm and Adrian Lester, but Mike Bartlett's in too much of a hurry


Lady Bird review - Greta Gerwig's luminous coming-of-age movie

An uncynical and beautifully observed directorial debut

DVD: London Symphony

Wordless celebration of the capital's upside

Black Panther review - more meh than marvellous

The Marvel movie made by black talent takes itself too seriously

new music

CD: Jonny Nash and Lindsay Todd - Fauna Mapping

A stunning aural portrait of Bali's natural landscape

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Choir

The legendary Cleveland band’s unreleased 1969 album is revealed as one of the Sixties’ best

CD: Fever Ray - Plunge

Swedish maverick returns after nearly a decade away with avant-electro-pop paean to sexual freedom


Kaufmann, Damrau, Deutsch, Barbican review - bliss, if only you closed your eyes

More ham than a butcher's window, but when the music is this good it scarcely matters

Classical CDs Weekly: Diethelm, Grieg, Tippett

Orchestral delights from Switzerland and pianistic fireworks from Norway. Plus the greatest British symphony you've never heard

Weilerstein, Czech Philharmonic, Netopil, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - drama and feeling

Like their homeland’s beer: rich, mellow and full of character and body


Iolanthe, English National Opera review - bright and beautiful G&S for all

Cal McCrystal's pretty, hilarious show should delight young and old alike

Un ballo in maschera, Opera North review - decent, no more

Dramatically muddled, musically satisfying account of a Verdi masterpiece

Tosca, Welsh National Opera review - ticking the traditionalist boxes

Pasteboard verismo done by the book with impressive results


Angry, Southwark Playhouse review – wondrously roaring Ridleyland
Six monologues about extreme emotions offer trips to outer space and dystopia
Girls & Boys, Royal Court review - Carey Mulligan is stunningly brilliant
Dennis Kelly’s remarkable new monologue is a terrific experience
'These star-crossed lovers are so young': adapting Brighton Rock
How to turn Graham Greene's novel into a play: the playwright Bryony Lavery explains


Giselle, Royal Ballet review - beautiful dancing in a production of classic good taste

Perfect storytelling through dance from Marianela Nuñez and excellent supporting cast

Song of the Earth/La Sylphide, English National Ballet review - sincerity and charm in a rewarding double bill

An odd-couple programme delivers both exquisite dancing and emotional truth

Best of 2017: Dance

Classical ballet dominates the highlights reel as chosen by theartsdesk's critics


EA Sports UFC 3 review - the art of fighting has never looked so good

Why bob and weave when you can ground and pound?

Best of 2017: Games

Quality nearly matches quantity

Star Wars Battlefront II review - an opportunity missed

The force is less strong with this one

visual arts

Emil Nolde: Colour Is Life, National Gallery of Ireland review - boats, dancers, flowers

Comprehensive overview of neglected German Expressionist with a troubling past

Andreas Gursky, Hayward Gallery review - staggering scale, personal perspective

Space and light at the refurbished Hayward: huge views, artful manipulation from the German photographer

latest comments

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