wed 06/05/2015, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

The Audience, Apollo Theatre

Marianka Swain

As The Queen gains an audience with the latest royal addition, her theatrical alter ego returns to the West End, with Kristin Scott Thomas inheriting Tony-nominated Helen Mirren’s...

theartsdesk Q&A: Spooks, the movie

Adam Sweeting

During its 10-season run on BBC One between May 2002 and October 2011, Spooks built a lasting reputation as a superior espionage thriller, charting the battle of a squad of...

The Lads In Their Hundreds, Theatre Royal, Brighton

Nick Hasted

World War One poems can become too familiar. So can the war itself, its five years of centenary commemorations so far suffering from excessive patriotism, a sense of...

Röschmann, Uchida, Wigmore Hall

David Nice

If you were one of the world’s most famous pianists, you’d surely want to explore the masterpieces among Lieder with the great singers. Having chosen less than wisely for Schubert...

The Apple Family Plays, Brighton Dome

Matt Wolf

"I hear America singing," wrote Walt Whitman, the American poet whose language playwright Richard Nelson has co-opted for the title of the second (Sweet and Sad) of his remarkable...

Maya Plisetskaya, 1925-2015

Ismene Brown

The great Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, renowned for her deathless Dying Swan and a performing career that lasted more than 60 years, died suddenly of a heart attack at home...

No Offence, Channel 4

Barney Harsent

There’s been much hullabaloo surrounding the new series from Paul Abbott – and with good reason. It’s a decade since we’ve...

On Liberty, hosted by Shami Chakrabarti, Brighton Dome

Thomas H Green

Shami Chakrabarti pointed out early on that she is “grim and worthy” and that stand-up is not her strong suit. Despite this...

Antonacci, ROHO, Pappano, Royal Opera House

David Nice

Few conductors would think of putting Bernstein’s comic-sexy Fancy Free ballet and the orgasmatron of Scriabin’s The Poem of...

Beyond Caring, National Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Recent plays with the verb “to care” in their titles – another is Michael Wynne’s Who Cares – suggests that the...

Stray Dogs

Tom Birchenough

Whatever you make of Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs (Jiao you), it’ll likely have you looking at your watch...

Lungs, Roundabout at Regency Square, Brighton

Veronica Lee

A couple stand on the stage, squaring up to each other. They are in the middle of an argument. The Man has just, out of the...

The C Word, BBC One / Home Fires, ITV

Adam Sweeting

Perhaps only Sheridan Smith could have played the role of Lisa Lynch in The C Word [***], not just because of the no-messing...

Hannigan, Britten Sinfonia, WRCH Cambridge

Sebastian Scotney

“Songs of Vienna” by the Britten Sinfonia turned out to be a concert of chamber works, with never more than six performers...

Dalibor, BBCSO, Bělohlávek, Barbican

Gavin Dixon

Jiří Bělohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra are on to a good thing with Czech opera. Prague is a major centre for world-...

The Virtues of Things, Linbury Studio Theatre

Alexandra Coghlan

How many words would you expect in an average libretto? 10,000? 15,000? Whatever that number is you can triple it and then...

The Warlocks, Rainbow, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

The Warlocks are a psychedelic band from LA who dress not unlike the Velvet Underground in their prime and are clearly not...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Eurovision 2015

Kieron Tyler

 Various Artists: Building Bridges - Eurovision Song Contest Vienna 2015Mind-bogglingly, Australia is a first-time...

Król Roger, Royal Opera

Alexandra Coghlan

Let’s get one thing straight at the outset: Szymanowski’s 1926 opera Król Roger isn’t a lovely occasional oddity, a rarity...

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Peter Perrett

Thomas H Green

Peter Perrett (b. 1952) is best known as the singer and songwriter of The Only Ones, a group who originally flared to...

Cornelius Johnson, National Portrait Gallery

Florence Hallett

It’s far too easy to think about the history of art as a series of class acts, with one superlative achievement following...

Anzac Girls, More4

Adam Sweeting

For Australians and New Zealanders, the grim meat-grinder of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 was their equivalent of the...

Classical CDs Weekly: Lutosławski, Szymanowski, Jórunn Viðar, The Revolutionary Drawing Room

Graham Rickson

Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra, Szymanowski: Three Fragments from Poems by Jan Kasprowicz Polish National Radio...

Far From the Madding Crowd

Adam Sweeting

The arrival of Thomas Vinterberg's new treatment of Thomas Hardy's novel has triggered a retro-wallow in John Schlesinger's...


ANTONACCI, ROHO, PAPPANO, ROYAL OPERA HOUSE Nothing deep, but plenty of glitter as the Covent Garden pit band hits the stage

DVD: TURNED TOWARDS THE SUN An extraordinary 20th-century life recalled in age

BEYOND CARING, NATIONAL THEATRE New play about zero-hour contracts is powerfully authentic, but depressingly unentertaining

ON LIBERTY, HOSTED BY SHAMI CHAKRABARTI, BRIGHTON DOME A literary line-up honour the British human rights institution

disc of the day

CD: Chungking - Defender

Welcome comeback from absentee south coast contenders

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We Made It

We Made It: Candle Maker Ted Thompson

From Cumbria to the Globe, it's Ted's beeswax

We Made It: Digital Knitters Knyttan

Digital technology and craft principles creating one-off designs

We Made It: Art & Makers Collective Garudio Studiage

Meet the makers of objets de pop art in the heart of London


theartsdesk Q&A: Spooks, the movie

How the popular MI5 drama finally made it to the big screen

No Offence, Channel 4

Paul Abbott’s much-anticipated return hit our screens and landed some good punches

The C Word, BBC One / Home Fires, ITV

Sheridan Smith pulls out the stops as cancer sufferer Lisa Lynch


theartsdesk Q&A: Spooks, the movie

How the popular MI5 drama finally made it to the big screen

Stray Dogs

Mesmerizing or self-indulgent? Verdicts will be out on latest Taiwanese auteur fare

DVD: Turned Towards the Sun

An extraordinary 20th-century life recalled in age

new music

CD: Chungking - Defender

Welcome comeback from absentee south coast contenders

CD: Joe Stilgoe – New Songs for Old Souls

Stilgoe's gorgeous brassy arrangements will help you forget be-bop ever happened

The Warlocks, Rainbow, Birmingham

LA six-piece lay down some dark psychedelia


Röschmann, Uchida, Wigmore Hall

Mixed blessings from impressive soprano-and-piano duo in Schumann and Berg

Antonacci, ROHO, Pappano, Royal Opera House

Nothing deep, but plenty of glitter as the Covent Garden pit band hits the stage

Hannigan, Britten Sinfonia, WRCH Cambridge

An evening which needed stronger works and more convincing playing


Dalibor, BBCSO, Bělohlávek, Barbican

Superior performance makes a compelling case for Smetana’s neglected masterpiece

The Virtues of Things, Linbury Studio Theatre

Too much talk and not enough song

Król Roger, Royal Opera

A triumphant return to the stage for Szymanowski's neglected score


The Audience, Apollo Theatre

Kristin Scott Thomas is a worthy successor in Morgan's rejigged revival

The Lads In Their Hundreds, Theatre Royal, Brighton

Anglo-French poetry and music revives World War One's real voices

The Apple Family Plays, Brighton Dome

Soul-searching theatrical quartet puts America under the microscope

visual arts

Cornelius Johnson, National Portrait Gallery

A forgotten artist eclipsed by Van Dyck as portrait painter to Charles I

John Wood and Paul Harrison, Carroll/Fletcher

The Laurel and Hardy of the art world venture from comedy to failed utopian dreams

Sonia Delaunay, Tate Modern

Eclipsed by her painter husband, the artist is finally receiving full recognition


Maya Plisetskaya, 1925-2015

The Bolshoi's deathless über-ballerina is no more

Ahnen, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells

Family lore and deep-seated fears explored with surprising humour, and a technical glitch

BBC Young Dancer 2015, BBC Four

Impressive talents in remarkably gimmick-free Beeb competition


Panti: High Heels in Low Places, Soho Theatre

Drag artist tells her charming and funny story

James Freedman: Man of Steal, Menier Chocolate Factory

The art of pickpocketing explained, plus some corny patter

The Pub Landlord, Touring

Al Murray on terrific form with his appalling creation


Game of Thrones: Episodes 2 & 3

A workmanlike second helping but things are looking up in episode three

The Quest Keeper

Keep on movin' in this endless runner, roguelike and more mash-up

Mortal Kombat X

Blood, gore and violence – fun beat 'em up action, but not for the faint-hearted


Listed: The Very Best of 2015
theartsdesk's writers recommend the one thing above all to look forward to in each art form
Listed: The Facts about Factual TV in 2014
This year's documentaries climbed high and swung low on Britain's social ladder
Listed: Science Fiction in Videogames
Nearly all videogames are fantastical, but few are interestingly fantastical

latest comments

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