sat 20/09/2014, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Classical CDs Weekly: Gallay, Emma Johnson, Wihan Quartet

Graham Rickson

Jean François-Gallay: Chamber music for natural horn ensemble Les Chevaliers de Saint Hubert (Resonus)Shove a funnel at one end of a piece of hose pipe, and explore for yourself...

10 Questions for Musician Gruff Rhys

Jasper Rees

It hardly sounds like the springboard for an album, a film, a book and an app. In the 1790s a young Welsh explorer called John Evans journeyed across the unmapped North American...

Albion, Bush Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Opening on the day after the Scottish Referendum, playwight Chris Thompson’s new play has a timely, even incendiary, title. It also recalls the sad little song ‘Albion’ by Pete...

The Riot Club

Matt Wolf

Britain's young male elite behaves badly (to put it mildly) in The Riot Club, playwright Laura Wade's screen adaptation of her Royal Court stage hit Posh, and the result is even...

Sarah Jane Morris, Union Chapel

Peter Quinn

Recorded in the UK, Johannesburg, Paris and Tel Aviv, Sarah Jane Morris's latest album, Bloody Rain, is undoubtedly a labour of love. Hearing it performed live last night in the...

The Real Tudors, National Portrait Gallery

Florence Hallett

For all the political hurly burly, social change and religious upheaval of the Tudor period and the intriguing personal histories of its monarchs, it is surely the portraits of...

Goat Simulator

Stuart Houghton

You are a goat. You are an invincible goat. You are an invincible goat with a jetpack. You are an invincible goat with a...

Night Will Fall

Tom Birchenough

More than once in André Singer’s documentary Night Will Fall, his interviewees describe their experience as like “...

Legends, Sky 1 / The Strain, Watch

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Let's face it, there are so many big-budget, densely plotted US TV imports around now that it seems a little hackneyed to...

Joan Baez, Royal Festival Hall

Heidi Goldsmith

The next revolution of civil disobedience is unlikely to be a ticketed event, with a sedentary congregation of grey-haired,...

Romeo and Juliet, Victoria Baths, Manchester

Philip Radcliffe

Instead of that small well-worn stone balcony in that courtyard in Verona, picture an extended well-worn cast-iron balcony...

This World: Ireland's Lost Babies, BBC Two

Jasper Rees

We think we know the story. As recounted in Philomena, in the 1950s and ‘60s the Irish state and Catholic Church colluded in...

Jasper Johns: Regrets, Courtauld Gallery

Fisun Güner

In your ninth decade it may not come as a surprise to find death staring you in the face. But it might be unnerving if you’...

Doctor Scroggy’s War, Shakespeare’s Globe

Aleks Sierz

The number of plays commemorating the outbreak of the First World War continues to grow, with some already falling casualty...

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

Hanna Weibye

The fabulous dancers known as BalletBoyz The Talent 2014 looked so at home in the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre...

First Person: From Insolence to Defiance

Paul Simmonds

Not that long ago, certainly when I was old enough to know better, I managed to get myself mugged by a gang of teenage...

Ballyturk, National Theatre

Heather Neill

In his masterly essay in the programme for Enda Walsh's latest play, Colm Tóibín warns against attempting to pin his work to...

Hamlet, Royal Exchange, Manchester

Veronica Lee

One of the oddities about theatre is that there can be a gripping performance at the heart of an underwhelming production –...

Magic in the Moonlight

Katherine McLaughlin

An ageing misanthrope is given a new lease of life and a fresh outlook by a pretty, young woman. Woody Allen wheels out this...

Ghost from a Perfect Place, Arcola Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Few contemporary playwrights have enjoyed as many revivals as polymath Philip Ridley. The first two of his 1990s gothic East...

Xerxes, English National Opera

Alexandra Coghlan

Nicholas Hytner’s 1988 Magic Flute may have trilled its last at English National Opera, but judging by the wit, the joy and...

Forbidden Broadway, Vaudeville Theatre

David Nice

“It takes a star to parody one,” wrote theartsdesk’s Edward Seckerson, nailing the essence of this immortal spoof-fest’s...

Glue, E4

Veronica Lee

Jack Thorne's new eight-part drama is set in a fictional but recognisable small English village, Overton, where life is...

Opinion: What's the point of short film?

Debbi Lander

The emergence of digital both as a technology and a culture has fundamentally changed the world in which short film now...


TAD ON SCOTLAND: ABERDEENSHIRE SAND DUNES These elegiac images of outstanding natural beauty have since been trumped

TAD IN SCOTLAND: BERT JANSCH Remembering the great and inimitable folk guitarist

TAD ON SCOTLAND: SISTEMA SCOTLAND MAKES BIG NOISE Stirling's faithful model of Venezuelan music education

TAD ON SCOTLAND: SHETLAND VIKINGS Forget the British Museum. They're in Britain's most northerly outcrop all the year round

TAD ON SCOTLAND: COMMONWEALTH GAMES Twitter votes no but Scotland puts out a cheerful welcome mat

TAD ON SCOTLAND: THE MAKING OF LOCAL HERO Writer-director Bill Forsyth and stars Denis Lawson and Peter Riegert recall a great film's birth 30 years ago

TAD ON SCOTLAND: EAST NEUK FESTIVAL All-day Schubertiad by the sea

TAD ON SCOTLAND: THE JAMES PLAYS Rona Munro's enthralling history cycle bursts with Scottish regal life

TAD ON SCOTLAND: ANDREW MARR'S GREAT SCOTS Richly entertaining study of Scottish identity through literature

TAD ON SCOTLAND: 10 QUESTIONS FOR JAMES McAVOY The Scottish actor on playing the Scottish king

disc of the day

CD: Aphex Twin - Syro

yvyll333'n'quakkers, as Aphex might have it - a fine and enjoyably squelchy return, in other words

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theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

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Six of the best: Art

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions


10 Questions for Musician Gruff Rhys

Super Furry Animal travels to the heart of America in pursuit of a long-lost multi-media tall tale

DVD: Only Lovers Left Alive

A love story, cool vampire tale and wry comedy in one

Night Will Fall

Memories of the Holocaust, and Alfred Hitchcock's attempts to sum up its visual testimony


Legends, Sky 1 / The Strain, Watch

Sean Bean joins the FBI and Guillermo del Toro does vampires: latest US drama

This World: Ireland's Lost Babies, BBC Two

Martin Sixsmith pursues the harrowing story of Catholic children born out of wedlock

Glue, E4

Jack Thorne's latest is a gripping whodunit set in the English countryside

new music

10 Questions for Musician Gruff Rhys

Super Furry Animal travels to the heart of America in pursuit of a long-lost multi-media tall tale

CD: Aphex Twin - Syro

yvyll333'n'quakkers, as Aphex might have it - a fine and enjoyably squelchy return, in other words

Sarah Jane Morris, Union Chapel

Singular vocalist launches her most complete, most memorable statement to date


Classical CDs Weekly: Gallay, Emma Johnson, Wihan Quartet

Rousing music for natural horns, clarinet sonatas and a superb disc of Beatles transcriptions

Maestri: Conductors at the 2014 Proms

Chris Christodoulou's sensational shots of baton-wielders in action

Last Night of the Proms, Jansen, Williams, BBCSO, Oramo

Other agendas have swirled furiously around this year's Last Night


Xerxes, English National Opera

This vintage Handel is pretty, witty and more youthful than ever

Otello, English National Opera

A dark and potent version of Verdi is David Alden at his best

William Tell, Welsh National Opera

Rossini's last opera is finely done but has rather too many longueurs


Albion, Bush Theatre

New play about English nationalism is timely, but undermined by its musical form

Romeo and Juliet, Victoria Baths, Manchester

Designer rises to challenge of spectacular new venue

Doctor Scroggy’s War, Shakespeare’s Globe

Howard Brenton’s First World War play is interesting, but not always convincing

visual arts

The Real Tudors, National Portrait Gallery

A modest but groundbreaking display brings together portraits of a great dynasty

Jasper Johns: Regrets, Courtauld Gallery

A rich and multifaceted body of work that offers a modern twist on the memento mori

Francesca Woodman: Zigzag, Victoria Miro

An exhibition that lends new insights and depth to the late photographer's work


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

Sampling the Myth, Royal Ballet

Mixture of old and new makes for a colourful journey through mythology


Forbidden Broadway, Vaudeville Theatre

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

Joan Rivers, 1933-2014

The first lady of comedy whose biggest dread was an empty diary

Steen Raskopoulos, Soho Theatre

Superb character comedy from Australian debutant


Goat Simulator

You'll believe a goat can sort of fly


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

Appointment with F.E.A.R.

Nostalgic superheroics updated for the smartphone era

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