thu 08/12/2016, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Marina Vaizey
Friday, 09 December 2016
Ebullient, prolific, loquacious and a charmingly enthusiastic historian both in print and for television, Simon Sebag Montefiore has turned his attention to the pivotal city of...
Matt Wolf
Thursday, 08 December 2016
There are no cartwheels, and no one does the splits, in the new London revival of that most cherishable of Broadway musicals, She Loves Me, which immediately sets Matthew Wright's...
Russ Coffey
Thursday, 08 December 2016
Now the celebrity-drug-addict phase of Pete Doherty's career seems to be over the question remains as to what sort of artist he really is. After all, Doherty's best material...
Jasper Rees
Thursday, 08 December 2016
On January 25 1996, after Rent's final dress rehearsal at the off-off-Broadway New York Theater Workshop, its composer Jonathan Larson went home to his scuzzy loft round the...
Marina Vaizey
Thursday, 08 December 2016
The Good American, a Texan no less, has landed at Tate Modern in style. This posthumous retrospective of the great Robert Rauschenberg includes a paint-bespattered, fully made-up...
Graham Rickson
Thursday, 08 December 2016
Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom started life as a short stage play in 1984, drawing on its creator’s own experiences in the heady world of amateur ballroom dancing. That the...
Jasper Rees
Thursday, 08 December 2016
Another week, another serial killer on prime time. In Dark Angel we had the grim story of Mary Ann Cotton, the Victorian...
Katie Colombus
Thursday, 08 December 2016
If Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” makes you want to burn the nearest decorated pine tree and Michael Buble’s...
David Nice
Wednesday, 07 December 2016
An amplified crunch in the dark, sound without vision, kicks off this take on Moss Hart and George S Kaufman's light comedy...
Gavin Dixon
Wednesday, 07 December 2016
Igor Levit began his recording career with Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas, and his deeply felt, impressively mature...
Barney Harsent
Wednesday, 07 December 2016
In the late 1960s, photographer Nick Hedge travelled the country, documenting some truly horrific housing conditions and the...
Mark Sanderson
Wednesday, 07 December 2016
Any show that starts with a shot of a naked bubble-butt is likely to grab the attention – especially when it belongs to Milo...
Tom Birchenough
Wednesday, 07 December 2016
Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau have described the budget on which they made their latest film Theo & Hugo – the...
Jasper Rees
Tuesday, 06 December 2016
 When Shakespeare visits the bearpit of the West End, it is usually in the company of a big name: Judi Dench, Sheridan...
Laurence Jackson Hyman
Tuesday, 06 December 2016
My mother has been rediscovered, if she ever went away. She is suddenly a rising star, 51 years after her early death....
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 06 December 2016
DW Griffiths's 1915 silent epic, The Birth of a Nation, became notorious for its pejorative portrayal of black people and...
Tim Cumming
Tuesday, 06 December 2016
Hailing a lift in torrential rain one night from an early 2000s Dylan concert at Docklands Arena – that long-gone ghost of a...
Sarah Kent
Monday, 05 December 2016
The nine artists in this exhibition mainly paint large, eye-catching canvases; yet the most arresting image on show is a...
David Nice
Monday, 05 December 2016
Second and third times lucky: after the migraine-inducing multimedia overload of Peter Sellars's premiere production of El...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 05 December 2016
As an old Sixties lefty brought up on paranoia-infused thrillers like The Parallax View or All the President's Men, Oliver...

IN PLAIN SIGHT, ITV Martin Compston chills as Scottish serial killer Peter Manuel

THIS IS US, CHANNEL 4 All-American soap, schmaltz and sexiness from the bottom up

SLUM BRITAIN: 50 YEARS ON, CHANNEL 5 An unflinching look at the changing face of poverty in Britain

DVD/BLU-RAY: THEO & HUGO Paris-set gay two-hander hits home with highly explicit opening

SHE LOVES ME, MENIER CHOCOLATE FACTORY Bijou Broadway title proves supremely winning

ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG, TATE MODERN Inventive and idiosyncratic: the restless genius of an American pioneer

SHIRLEY JACKSON: A RISING STAR AT 100 As the great American ghost writer rises again, her son explains her allure

disc of the day

CD: Pentatonix - A Pentatonix Christmas

The band that's managed to make Christmas albums cool has done it again

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Vienna: Empire, Dynasty and Dream, BBC Four

Simon Sebag Montefiore hones in on the Hapsburgs and their capital

In Plain Sight, ITV

Martin Compston chills as Scottish serial killer Peter Manuel

Slum Britain: 50 Years On, Channel 5

An unflinching look at the changing face of poverty in Britain


DVD/Blu-ray: Theo & Hugo

Paris-set gay two-hander hits home with highly explicit opening

The Birth of a Nation

Nate Parker's fearsome fable of slavery and America's great divide

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top films out now

new music

Peter Doherty, O2 Forum Kentish Town

Libertines singer fuses Bohemianism with the spirit of punk

CD: Pentatonix - A Pentatonix Christmas

The band that's managed to make Christmas albums cool has done it again

CD: Bob Dylan - The Real Royal Albert Hall Concert

Great music and no-platforming, 1966-style


Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall

Fiery, bold readings delivered with precision and focus

El Niño, LSO, Adams, Barbican

Light and darkness balanced in a great oratorio music-drama

Classical CDs Weekly: Prokofiev, Daniel Röhn, Ayreheart

A great ballet score gets a definitive reading, a nostalgic violin recital, and an American quartet tackle the hits of the English Renaissance


El Niño, LSO, Adams, Barbican

Light and darkness balanced in a great oratorio music-drama

Das Rheingold, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Consummate 'preliminary evening' of the Ring from a master Wagnerian

Alice's Adventures Under Ground, Barbican

Gerald Barry's crazy velocity berserks both 'Alice' books in rude style


She Loves Me, Menier Chocolate Factory
Bijou Broadway title proves supremely winning
Seasons of love: Rent 20 years on
Jonathan Larson died before his musical struck gold. Was there more to come?
Strictly Ballroom, West Yorkshire Playhouse
High on visual thrills, low on subtlety: Baz Luhrmann's debut film returns to the stage


Swan Lake/Loch na hEala, Sadler’s Wells

Agony meets ecstasy in radical Irish take on the ballet

Conceal/Reveal, Russell Maliphant Company, Messums Barn

Modern dance finds a serene new home in a 13th-century tithe barn

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet

Christmas classic is never disappointing - and these principals always winning


Tom Allen, Soho Theatre

Intricately constructed tale about suburbia

The Catherine Tate Show Live, Eventim Apollo

Go on, have a guess. Terrific live tour of sketch show favourites

Susan Calman, Soho Theatre

Feelgood stand-up with a political punch


Time Locker

Is this top-down 2D endless run & gun game a timeless classic?

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Infinite warfare but finite fun

Titanfall 2

Robot Wars goes up a notch

visual arts

Robert Rauschenberg, Tate Modern

Inventive and idiosyncratic: the restless genius of an American pioneer

Painters’ Painters, Saatchi Gallery

An invigorating look at a medium that not only refuses to die, but invites continual reinvention

'Before punk, there was Rauschenberg'

As a major retrospective opens at Tate Modern, musician and producer Justin Adams reflects on his lifelong love of an American great

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