thu 14/12/2017

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Katherine Waters
Thursday, 14 December 2017
The familiar doesn’t have to get old. Last night at the Coliseum there were children in the boxes, adults in the circle and grandparents in the stalls. Seasonal favourite...
William Ward
Thursday, 14 December 2017
Even more than some of Shakespeare’s other histories, Julius Caesar inevitably offers itself to “topical interpretation”, a Rorschach test of a play which directors short of an...
Jasper Rees
Thursday, 14 December 2017
This week we were all meant to be gripped by a bunch of ancient geezers nicking diamonds in Hatton Gardens. The postponement of ITV’s nightly four-part drama – the second of four...
Jenny Gilbert
Thursday, 14 December 2017
If this play really were “A Debate in One Sitting” as its author called it in 1909, it would have sunk without trace. “Talk, talk, talk, talk”, complains Hypatia Tarleton (Marli...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 14 December 2017
For the past few years my Album of the Year has leapt out at me, craved attention, stood out from the competition. With no disrespect to Nick Mulvey’s fine second album, that wasn...
David Nice
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Director Richard Jones watched all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone as research for this Almeida production. I've never seen a single one, to the amazement of the American fan on...
Helen Wallace
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
An icy, wet wind snuck under the door of house number 8 in Fournier Street, where Uri Caine, bundled in coat and woolly hat...
Tom Birchenough
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Is there a key to “infinite variety”? The challenge of Cleopatra is to convey the sheer fullness of the role, the sense that...
Thomas H Green
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
The music business is about to disappear on holiday wholesale and we won’t see hide nor hair of it until mid-January. There’...
Javi Fedrick
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
In March, Bristol’s Idles drove up and down the country, leaving painfully small quantities of their debut album Brutalism...
Gavin Dixon
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Expectations ran high for Mark Padmore and Mitsuko Uchida in Winterreise. Both singer and pianist are well known for their...
Owen Richards
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
In the most unlikely of places, there is one of the world’s most prolific directors. He has produced over 110 films, he’s...
Robert Beale
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
The Chineke! Orchestra has won golden opinions for its ground-breaking work and musical achievement, and Manchester caught...
Mark Kidel
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Bertrand Tavernier’s trip through French cinema is shot through with the love of someone who has grown up with cinema and...
Ismene Brown
Monday, 11 December 2017
Nureyev, the most notorious new production at the Bolshoi Ballet’s modern history, premiered last night in Moscow to a 15-...
David Nice
Monday, 11 December 2017
After Sakari Oramo's dazzling Sibelius rattlebag with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the centenary day of Finnish...
Matt Wolf
Monday, 11 December 2017
The play that famously got away when one of its stars (quite literally) jumped ship is back. In 1995, Stephen Fry abandoned...
Florence Hallett
Monday, 11 December 2017
Dedicated to a foundation stone of western artistic training, this exhibition attempts a celebratory note as the Royal...
Robert Beale
Monday, 11 December 2017
Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto is a big work in every sense: four movements, plus a solo cadenza before the last one...
Katherine Waters
Monday, 11 December 2017
The eel is dying. Its body flits through a series of complicated knots which become increasingly grotesque torques. Immersed...

★★★ CHINEKE! ENSEMBLE, RNCM, MANCHESTER ground-breaking chamber music

★★★★★ THE CROWN, SERIES 2, NETFLIX Private passions and public crises batter the royal household

★★ FROM LIFE, ROYAL ACADEMY A lacklustre account of a defining practice in western art

★★★★ ROBERT PLANT, ROYAL ALBERT HALL No need for a Zeppelin reunion

★★★ THE PRINCE OF NOTHINGWOOD Documentary on Afghanistan’s leading film director an interesting but frustrating affair

BOLSHOI'S CONTROVERSIAL NUREYEV BALLET OPENS Creator Kirill Serebrennikov, under house arrest, denied permission to see his own ballet

disc of the day

Albums of the Year 2017: Nick Mulvey - Wake Up Now

Also a year when Katy Perry suddenly hit one out of the park

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Bancroft, ITV review - Sarah Parish's very cold case

Bonkers procedural steers clear of reality

The best TV to watch this week

What's on and where to find it

Blue Planet II, BBC One review - just how fragile?

Spectacle and storytelling combine into an urgent plea for our oceans’ health


The Prince of Nothingwood review - come for the man, stay for the country

Documentary on Afghanistan’s leading film director is an interesting but frustrating affair

DVD: A Journey Through French Cinema

A film-lover's hymn to French movies: Bertrand Tavernier’s 'Voyage à travers le cinéma français'

Stronger review - Oscar-worthy straight talk and tough love

Jake Gyllenhaal as a Boston Marathon bomb non-victim, in superb romance

new music

Albums of the Year 2017: Nick Mulvey - Wake Up Now

Also a year when Katy Perry suddenly hit one out of the park

Albums of the Year 2017: Idles - Brutalism

An album that perfectly marries angst, wit, and beauty


Schumann Street, Spitalfields Festival review - illumination on a winter's night

More than a snoop around East End town houses: 'Dichterliebe' in startling focus

Mark Padmore, Mitsuko Uchida, Wigmore Hall review - direct and uncompromising Schubert

A 'Winterreise' of sensitivity and subtly shaded emotion

Chineke! Ensemble, RNCM, Manchester review - musical advocacy

A ground-breaking group in chamber music with a difference


Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Royal Opera review - one tenor, two samey brutes

Bryan Hymel's strong-man double-act outshone by Elīna Garanča's Santuzza

I, Object review - this operatic double-bill delivers just a single hit

A bright new talent and a tired old bore make for uneasy bedfellows

theartsdesk in Stockholm - HK Gruber and sacred monsters

Viennese composer, conductor, chansonnier and double-bass player is a force of nature


Julius Caesar, RSC, Barbican review - Roman bromance plays straight
Angus Jackson's traditional staging opens the the Rome MMXVII season
Misalliance, Orange Tree Theatre review - smashing Edwardian comedy is a festive treat
Bernard Shaw curio gets its first major London revival in 30 years
The Twilight Zone, Almeida Theatre review - from hokum to humanity
Perfectly modulated ensemble and production vary the strains of a classic TV series


Bolshoi's controversial Nureyev ballet opens – to ovations and bans

Creator Kirill Serebrennikov, under house arrest, denied permission to see his own ballet

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet review - superb start to the festive dance season

Tchaikovsky's grand and gorgeous classic gets the five-star treatment


Star Wars Battlefront II review - an opportunity missed

The force is less strong with this one

Call of Duty: WWII review - war is an unpleasant business

The veteran franchise returns for another bout of epic war games

visual arts

From Life, Royal Academy review - perplexingly aimless

A lacklustre account of a defining practice in western art

The Best Exhibitions in London

Soviet art, Cézanne, Harry Potter and more: our favourite shows to see now

Rose Wylie: Quack Quack, Serpentine Gallery - anarchy at 83

The octogenarian who paints with the fresh eye of a child

latest comments

This is a beautifully written, thought provoking...

A very lame attempt at prolonging the franchise...

Absolutely agree with this review - but Greville'...

I was at this gig too and thought there were some...

Excellent review; the concert was just that good...


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters