thu 02/10/2014, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Electra, Old Vic

Demetrios Matheou

As revered as the Greek tragedies may be, I have to admit to feeling a little weary of all that conspicuous, over-ripe angst, and the expectation of our sympathy, even empathy for...

Gone Girl

Adam Sweeting

Some feared that turning Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel into a movie couldn't be done, but with Flynn herself in the screenwriter's chair and the clinically precise David...

Piau, Les Paladins, Correas, Wigmore Hall

Alexandra Coghlan

2014 is the 250th anniversary of the death of Jean-Philippe Rameau, France’s baroque giant and maverick. To say that the UK celebrations have been muted is to put in generously,...

Single Spies, Rose Theatre, Kingston

Ismene Brown

Alan Bennett’s 80th birthday last May deserves celebrating not just as a point of respect for a formidable playwright but with awe at his continuing liveliness. More than 40 years...


Graham Fuller

Mesmerizing in her sustained emotional rawness, Emmanuelle Devos is at her empathetic best in Violette, a psychological study of a woman damned by her loveless childhood and what...

Seminar, Hampstead Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Writing is a tedious activity, usually requiring a great deal of time spent alone at a desk with a pen, typewriter or laptop. Since a literal representation of this would be death...

The Paedophile Hunter, Channel 4

Jasper Rees

In a house in Nuneaton, a man calling himself Stinson Hunter lures paedophiles towards exposure, shame and possible...

Transgressive Records 10th Anniversary Concert, Barbican

Heidi Goldsmith

Transgressive is a bold statement for a record label's tin and, on their 10th anniversary celebration last night, there...

'For classical musicians, Radiohead are the band'

Alexandra Coghlan

The first time I interviewed Richard Tognetti he told me a story. Prior to touring the Australian Chamber Orchestra to Japan...

Daniil Trifonov, Royal Festival Hall

Jessica Duchen

Daniil Trifonov, 23, has shot to prominence as one of the hottest pianistic properties of the moment. With multiple...

Andrea Motis / Joan Chamorro Quintet, Pizza Express Jazz Club

Matthew Wright

Amy Winehouse, Esperanza Spalding, and Roberto Fonseca were the names tossed and bandied after a London debut of...

Next Fall, Southwark Playhouse

Marianka Swain

Britain has entered a “post-Christian” era, declared former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams earlier this year: we...

Life After Beth

Emma Simmonds

Zombies have feelings too. That's the message at the heart of writer-director Jeff Baena's debut Life After Beth, which...

Turner Prize 2014, Tate Britain

Fisun Güner

When did Big Ideas make a comeback at the Turner Prize? Did they ever go away? In its 30-year history it seems that...

The Edge of Our Bodies, Gate Theatre

Heather Neill

Sixteen-year-old Bernadette is determined to write short stories. She's a promising writer, describing her own feelings, the...

Still the Enemy Within

Nick Hasted

You expect the tears, anger and pride, as NUM veterans relive Britain’s defining industrial dispute, 30 years later. The...

Dangerous Corner, Richmond Theatre

Marianka Swain

In his otherwise unremarkable 1932 debut play Dangerous Corner, JB Priestley employs a promising framing device that hints...

Vance Joy, Institute, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

Vance Joy does not pull in the kind of crowd that you might imagine would be wowed by a ukulele or an acoustic guitar. In...

Ming: 50 Years That Changed China, British Museum

Marina Vaizey

Here be dragons, and plum blossoms in moonlight, model chariots, 15th-century paper money, weaponry and armour, embroidered...

Draft Day

Karen Krizanovich

Draft Day should have been a contenda. As it stands, it's a football film for people who like football but who hate film....

10 Questions for Soprano Sandrine Piau

Sebastian Scotney

French soprano Sandrine Piau, born in 1965 in a south-western suburb of Paris, has an agile, supple voice. It soars, so...

Sahara Soul, Barbican

Heidi Goldsmith

Exoticisation, at an event named "Sahara Soul", was perhaps inevitable. With Tuareg jewellery and souvenirs in the foyer,...

Kylie, iTunes Festival, Roundhouse

Fisun Güner

Does Kylie exist without spectacle? Take away the 6ft headgear, the sparkly hotpants, the spangly corsets, the team of super...

theartsdesk in Bamberg: Top Town, Top Orchestra

David Nice

As a town of 70,000 or so people, Bamberg boxes dazzlingly above its weight in at least two spheres. The Bamberg Symphony...


STILL THE ENEMY WITHIN Intimate and moving documentary shows the Miners' Strike's human cost

DVD: GOLTZIUS AND THE PELICAN COMPANY First-class, fascinating director's interview accompanies Greenaway's DVD latest

THE EDGE OF OUR BODIES, GATE THEATRE American coming-of-age drama gets the Gate's 35th anniversary season off to a gripping start

TURNER PRIZE 2014, TATE BRITAIN Poor art and pretentious art, with lashings of art gobbledygook - not a vintage year

VANCE JOY, INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM Folk-popper turns up the volume for a sell-out tour

disc of the day

CD: Hozier - Hozier

Irish singer-songerwriter's debut contains rich pickings

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Gone Girl

'Unfilmable' book triumphantly brought to the screen by David Fincher


Searing biopic of a taboo-breaking French novelist who sought love in the wrong places

Life After Beth

Jeff Baena's deliciously daft debut is a rom-zom-com starring Aubrey Plaza


The Paedophile Hunter, Channel 4

Documentary about a vigilante in action is riveting and deeply discomfiting

Marvellous, BBC Two

Toby Jones shines in a fantasy football drama that happens to be true

Jungle Atlantis, BBC Two

New technology brings revelations from Cambodia's astounding mega-city

new music

Transgressive Records 10th Anniversary Concert, Barbican

After 10 years, rule-breaking risks becoming gentrification for London indie label

Andrea Motis / Joan Chamorro Quintet, Pizza Express Jazz Club

Teenage Spanish prodigy makes London debut, ready for the giant footsteps

CD: Hozier - Hozier

Irish singer-songerwriter's debut contains rich pickings


Piau, Les Paladins, Correas, Wigmore Hall

An anniversary concert that was more froth than champagne

'For classical musicians, Radiohead are the band'

Richard Tognetti of the Australian Chamber Orchestra on premiering a new work by Jonny Greenwood

Daniil Trifonov, Royal Festival Hall

Plenty to treasure in the prizewinning young Russian pianist's colossal programme


10 Questions for Soprano Sandrine Piau

The former harpist who became the connoisseur's soprano of choice for Baroque and early music

Remembering Christopher Hogwood (1941-2014)

Tributes to the conductor, scholar and gentleman from musicians who worked with him

DiDonato, Lyon Opera Orchestra, Minasi, Barbican Hall

This Artist Spotlight opens with a bel canto bang


Electra, Old Vic

Kristin Scott Thomas continues her sensational partnership with Ian Rickson, as Sophocles’ grief-stricken heroine

Single Spies, Rose Theatre, Kingston

Alan Bennett's 'spy' plays about Burgess and Blunt continue to be relevant

Seminar, Hampstead Theatre

Comedy by Pulitzer-Prize nominee Theresa Rebeck is enjoyable, but not thought-provoking

visual arts

Turner Prize 2014, Tate Britain

Poor art and pretentious art, with lashings of art gobbledygook - not a vintage year

Ming: 50 Years That Changed China, British Museum

More than blue and white porcelain emerged from the 300-year dynasty

theartsdesk in Bamberg: Top Town, Top Orchestra

Conductor Jonathan Nott's world-class team is only one reason for visiting Germany's jewel


Manon, Royal Ballet

MacMillan's moral maze still fascinates in its 40th year

The Murmuring/ Metheus/ Mesmerics, BalletBoyz, Linbury Studio Theatre

New works show all-male company on top form

KnowBody, Sadler's Wells

Older performers show dance is not just a young person's game


Lee Evans, O2 Arena

No amount of fart gags and racing about can hide the cobwebs on these jokes

Luisa Omielan, Soho Theatre

Joyous and raucous hymn to modern womanhood

Forbidden Broadway, Vaudeville Theatre

Fearless foursome spoofs the poker-faced and the overblown in magnificent Menier transfer


Wasteland 2

The post-apocalyptic role-playing game series emerges from the vault, after 25 years…

Goat Simulator

You'll believe a goat can sort of fly


The biggest game of a generation leaves an empty hole in space

latest comments

I'm with Ismene on the 'enervating' impression -...

Fisun Güner is perfectly entitled to express her...

Oh dear, the writer tells it like it is that this...

Fascinating musician, using huge technique w...

Agree with you James. An amazing night and...

Excellent review, which put into words better...


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