tue 21/04/2015

theartsdesk.com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Argerich, Staatskapelle Berlin, Barenboim, RFH

David Nice

It looked like a potential misalliance between performers used to looking at the stars and a programme of earthly, ideally rather broadly humorous delights. In the event, Martha...

Who Cares, Royal Court Theatre

Aleks Sierz

The NHS is us. Early in this new verbatim play about the National Health Service, one of the characters says that when a sample of Britons was recently asked what the most...

Handel Singing Competition Final, St George's Hanover Square

Alexandra Coghlan

You only have to look down the list of recent winners of the Handel Singing Competition – Andrew Kennedy, Elizabeth Atherton, Ruby Hughes, Sophie Junker – to see its pedigree, its...

Safe House, ITV

Adam Sweeting

The title is, of course, ironic. The house in question is a rambling refurbished dwelling deep in the Lake District, reached by driving through lonely wind-blasted valleys and...

10 Questions for Musician Ron Sexsmith

Russ Coffey

Ron Sexsmith is a singer-songwriter who should, by rights, need no introduction: Critics and fellow musicians, after all, fall over themselves to praise the 51 year-old Canadian....

Exit

Tom Birchenough

Taiwanese director Chienn Hsiang has given his lead actress Chen Shiang-chyi a role of rare complexity in Exit, and she dominates this bleakly naturalistic slice-of-life film...

Death of a Comedian, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Owen McCafferty’s new play could have had as its starting point John Updike’s line "Celebrity is a mask that eats into the...

Percy Sledge: 'When a man loves a woman he can't even think right'

Jasper Rees

No soul singer has been associated with one hit in quite the same way. Percy Sledge, who died last week at the age of 74,...

Jenůfa, Scottish Opera

Christopher Lambton

Even at the tragic heart of Janáček's Jenůfa there is ambiguity. As the Kostelnička or village sacristan takes her...

Špaček, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bělohlávek, Leeds Town Hall

Graham Rickson

You’ve booked the iconic Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and their charismatic chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek to do a whistle-...

Wild Card, Jazz Café POSK

Matthew Wright

Jazz-funk organ trio Wild Card have been slowly building a reputation for smoking funk tunes and grooves you could lose a...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bert Jansch

Kieron Tyler

 Bert Jansch: Bert JanschNorth Villas is a short street parallel to Camden Road, the main artery linking Camden Town to...

Carmen Disruption, Almeida Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Playwright Simon Stephens has made a long journey. Starting off as a young in-yer-face writer, then pausing to mellow over...

The Decent One

Jasper Rees

Remember the Hitler diaries? Stern and the Sunday Times were so eager for them to be true they went ahead and published even...

Alice's Adventures Underground, The Vaults

Marianka Swain

The 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s seminal novel has inspired a raft of commemorative works, from Damon Albarn and...

Classical CDs Weekly: CPE Bach, Busoni, Vivaldi

Graham Rickson

 CPE Bach: Symphonies Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Rebecca Miller (Signum)Think of musical perfection and you...

The Pirates of Penzance, Touring

David Nice

When does a Gilbert and Sullivan chorus make you laugh, cry and cheer as much as any of the famous set pieces? In this case...

BBC Young Dancer 2015, BBC Four

Hanna Weibye

Lest the BBC Four imprint prove not strong enough a signal, I'll say it loud and clear: don't go into this expecting...

DiDonato, NYPO, Gilbert, Barbican

Gavin Dixon

Visits by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra are always an adrenaline boost for musical life in London, and yesterday...

La Fille mal gardée, Royal Ballet

Jenny Gilbert

In 1803 they called it Filly me Gardy. Today British ballet lovers refer to it by a single coded syllable: “Fee”. But...

We Made It: Digital Knitters Knyttan

Heather Neill

Hand knitting has had a bit of a moment recently. Making your very own jumper was suddenly fashionable, but the knitter...

The Necks, Village Underground

Matthew Wright

Novelty and rapture are rare commodities in Shoreditch these days, where everything has already been tried, and nothing...

Measure for Measure, Cheek by Jowl/Pushkin Theatre, Barbican

David Nice

Russia isn’t the only country where violations of personal freedoms and censorship seem to be mounting by the day, but it’s...

10 Questions for Mezzo-Soprano Alice Coote

Thomas H Green

Alice Coote (b.1968) is one of the world’s leading mezzo-sopranos. She grew up in Cheshire, born to two painters, Mark Coote...

 

DIDONATO, NYPO, GILBERT, BARBICAN Sensual colours and spirited waltzes from the New York orchestra

CD: SQUAREPUSHER - DAMOGEN FURIES Electronica veteran returns with some challenging but engaging sounds

JENUFA, SCOTTISH OPERA A powerful account of Janáček's disquieting drama

BBC YOUNG DANCER 2015, BBC FOUR Impressive talents in remarkably gimmick-free Beeb competition

EXIT Hidden feelings discovered amid bleak naturalism in Taiwanese debut

DEATH OF A COMEDIAN, SOHO THEATRE Few laughs in drama about stand-up comedy

disc of the day

DVD: Still Life

Sensitive rumination on decency and loneliness directed by ‘The Full Monty’ producer Uberto Pasolini

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We Made It

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

We Made It: Lauren O'Farrell, aka Deadly Knitshade

Graffiti-knitting pioneer talks about 'yarnstorming' Parliament Square and social media

tv

Safe House, ITV

The hills have eyes in this sinister new Lakeland thriller

BBC Young Dancer 2015, BBC Four

Impressive talents in remarkably gimmick-free Beeb competition

Newzoids / Thunderbirds Are Go, ITV

New puppet satire can barely drag itself to the finishing line

film

DVD: Still Life

Sensitive rumination on decency and loneliness directed by ‘The Full Monty’ producer Uberto Pasolini

Exit

Hidden feelings discovered amid bleak naturalism in Taiwanese debut

The Decent One

Documentary enters the toxic mind of SS Reichsführer Himmler

new music

10 Questions for Musician Ron Sexsmith

Canadian songwriter talks yoga, dogs, hipsters and much more besides

CD: Squarepusher – Damogen Furies

Electronica veteran returns with some challenging but engaging sounds

Percy Sledge: 'When a man loves a woman he can't even think right'

The great soulman, who has died, on the creation of his classic ballad

classical

Argerich, Staatskapelle Berlin, Barenboim, RFH

A Schubert rondo is the unscheduled highlight, but Barenboim's Strauss is all over the place

Handel Singing Competition Final, St George's Hanover Square

An exciting showcase, both for young singers and Handel's music

Špaček, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bělohlávek, Leeds Town Hall

Stylish playing, unadventurous programming from Prague's finest

opera

Jenůfa, Scottish Opera

A powerful account of Janáček's disquieting drama

The Pirates of Penzance, Touring

Where the maidens are men and every gag's a winner

10 Questions for Mezzo-Soprano Alice Coote

The singer speaks about opera, loneliness, time machines and her special Brighton Festival event

theatre

Who Cares, Royal Court Theatre

Promenade performance of a timely new verbatim play about the NHS fails to thrive

Death of a Comedian, Soho Theatre

Few laughs in drama about stand-up comedy

Carmen Disruption, Almeida Theatre

Simon Stephens’s new deconstruction of Bizet’s opera is strangely, feverishly beautiful

visual arts

Sonia Delaunay, Tate Modern

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

YZ Kami, Gagosian Gallery

Hypnotically arresting portrait and abstract paintings that play with variation and repetition

Jo Baer, Camden Arts Centre

The Minimalist who rejected abstraction for figurative painting. Or did she?

dance

BBC Young Dancer 2015, BBC Four

Impressive talents in remarkably gimmick-free Beeb competition

La Fille mal gardée, Royal Ballet

Ashton's pastoral comedy of love among the haystacks continues to thrill and delight

Auf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehört, Tanztheater Wuppertal, Sadler's Wells

1984 work by German choreographic genius Pina Bausch receives UK première

comedy

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

Nina Conti Clowning Around, BBC Four

Ventriloquist fails to 'find' her clown, reduced to 'tears of...'

gaming

Mortal Kombat X

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

The Trace: Murder Mystery Game

Sleuthing on the go with this detective adventure game

Bloodborne

Brutally hard, but rewarding action gaming

Listed

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

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