tue 02/09/2014

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

Return to Betjemanland, BBC Four

Matthew Wright

Poet and campaigner John Betjeman, who died exactly thirty years ago, still has a public profile most writers would die for tomorrow. He shares with Philip Larkin the distinction...

Prom 59: Elektra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bychkov

Edward Seckerson

How much familial dysfunction and lust - whether for sexual gratification or revenge - can one take in a single weekend? Salome and Elektra back-to back may on paper seem like a...

Time, Weather, Place: Folkestone Triennial 2014

Fisun Güner

The crusty old Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay died in 2006, but there’s a new art work by him at this year’s Folkestone Triennial. You won’t be able to see it with the naked...

Before I Go To Sleep

Karen Krizanovich

Everyone loves a homegrown hero – and they don’t get more homegrown than Before I Go to Sleep, the thriller written and directed by Rowan Joffe, son of Roland Joffe, director of...

Prom 58: Salome, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Runnicles

David Nice

So here’s where I join the ranks of Old Opera Bores by declaring this Salome, Nina Stemme, the best I’ve seen since Hildegard Behrens in 1978, and this Salome as in Richard...

Andrew Marr’s Great Scots - The Writers Who Shaped a Nation, BBC Two

Tom Birchenough

You didn’t have to wait for the words in the closing credits, “written and presented by”, to know that The Writers Who Shaped a Nation was a project that Andrew Marr was involved...

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Volkov, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

It is the fate of Edinburgh Festival directors to programme their music in the considerable shadow cast by the Proms in...

theartsdesk in Budapest: Sziget to City

Tim Cumming

In Budapest, when your building turns a century old, you’re invited to be part of Budapest 100, a city-wide birthday...

First Person: Disabled artists take on the world

Jo Verrent

The audience comment I most want to hear during next week's Unlimited Festival is: this show has transformed my...

Reissue CDs Weekly: The 13th Floor Elevators

Kieron Tyler

The 13th Floor Elevators: Live Evolution Lost“I lost control of my body. I looked up and Tommy and Roky were turning into...

Kate Bush, Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith

Russ Coffey

Ms Bush walked on in a black, tasselled tunic with the slight air of an aging hippy. Her feet were bare and her tousled hair...

Toast, Park Theatre

Caroline Crampton

Richard Bean has had a busy year, and it isn’t over yet. Great Britain, his bawdy play about press ethics and police...

Classical CDs Weekly: Bruckner, Unsuk Chin, Dvořák

Graham Rickson

 Bruckner: Symphony no 2 Wiener Symphoniker/Carlo Maria Giulini (Wiener Symphoniker)No apologies for reviewing a...

Blondie’s New York and the Making of Parallel Lines, BBC Four

Kieron Tyler

“It looked like Dresden after the bombing.” Blondie’s Chris Stein may be a member of one of pop’s most-loved bands, but he...

Stammer School: Musharaf Finds His Voice, Channel 4

Tom Birchenough

What a difference four days can make. Stammer School: Musharaf Finds His Voice took us on an emotional journey from deep...

Obvious Child

Emma Dibdin

Opening as it does on a frank, witty and somewhat extended discussion of female discharge, Obvious Child lets you know from...

CounterSpy

Simon Munk

CounterSpy looks brilliant. This stealth-action adventure delivers a perfect Man From U.N.C.L.E. spy aesthetic in videogame...

Les Troyens, Mariinsky Opera, Gergiev, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

The Edinburgh Festival reserved its biggest operatic event for last. From St Petersburg, the Mariinsky Opera brought a...

Edinburgh Fringe 2014: Circa, Beyond

Hanna Weibye

Once, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was all about penniless students presenting avant-garde plays to audiences of three in...

Star Paws: The Rise of Superstar Pets, Channel 4

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Mid-week at 9pm has always struck me as the perfect televisual sweet spot. It’s not so close to the weekend that you’re...

Patrias, Paco Peña Flamenco Company, Edinburgh Playhouse

Hanna Weibye

Dance as an art form doesn’t have a great track record in social and historical commentary. The endless grey areas, not to...

Million Dollar Arm

Emma Simmonds

Disney's latest is a film which must have itself represented a hell of a pitch. Based on a true story, it's basically...

Steen Raskopoulos, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Steen Raskopoulos has hit the ground running with his debut show; it was nominated for a Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award (...

The Grand Seduction

Katherine McLaughlin

 Taylor Kitsch’s doomed film career continues with this trite but good natured Canadian mash-up of Doc Hollywood and...

 

BLONDIE’S NEW YORK AND THE MAKING OF PARALLEL LINES, BBC FOUR Superficial tribute to one of pop’s great albums

PROM 58: SALOME, DEUTSCHE OPER BERLIN Nina Stemme stuns in a giddying account of Strauss's incredible score

TOAST, PARK THEATRE Richard Bean's play about a bread plant in Hull in the 1970s rises to the occasion

OBVIOUS CHILD Jenny Slate stars in a frank, wry study of female arrested development

THEARTSDESK IN BUDAPEST: SZIGET TO CITY: Fireworks, a festival, and a permanent display of Hungarian applied arts

KATE BUSH, HAMMERSMITH APOLLO The most hyped gig of the year was nothing less than giddyingly original and charmingly warm

disc of the day

DVD: Blue Ruin

An award-winning American indy that genuinely thrills

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Listed

Listed: The laughter and tears of Robin Williams
From Mork to mawkish, the clips that define a brilliant career
Listed: 10 Mozart Operas You've Never Heard (of)
As La finta giardiniera comes to Glyndebourne, we've got the pick of Mozart's lesser-known operas
Listed: The Best UK Summer Music Festivals For Families
Family fun features as strongly as grown-up revels at many summer music festivals

six of the best

Six of the best: Theatre

Let the right Mormons in: a bit of everything in theartsdesk's tips

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

Six of the best: Art

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions

film

Before I Go To Sleep

This incredibly beautiful homegrown British thriller can't quite do the business

DVD: When I Saw You

This heartfelt Palestinian drama is a poetic look at one kid’s journey of displacement

Obvious Child

Jenny Slate stars in a frank, wry study of female arrested development

tv

Andrew Marr’s Great Scots - The Writers Who Shaped a Nation, BBC Two

Magisterial, richly entertaining study of Scottish identity through its literature

Blondie’s New York and the Making of Parallel Lines, BBC Four

Superficial tribute to one of pop’s great albums

Stammer School: Musharaf Finds His Voice, Channel 4

Great television as stammerers make moving journey towards self-expression

new music

CD: Partisans - Swamp

Veteran fusioneers blend their sounds with a delicacy that's more celestial than swampy

theartsdesk in Budapest: Sziget to City

Fireworks, a festival, and a permanent display of Hungarian applied arts

CD: The Pierces - Creation

Fifth album finds Alabama sisters getting metaphysical

classical

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Volkov, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Supercharged Janáček marks the end of festival director’s eight year reign

Classical CDs Weekly: Bruckner, Unsuk Chin, Dvořák

Romantic symphonies from Austria and the Czech Republic, and contemporary concerti from South Korea

Prom 53: Brahms Symphonies, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer

Exceptional control and finesse allow Brahms’s masterpieces to shine supreme

opera

Prom 59: Elektra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bychkov

Second Strauss horror-opera of the Proms weekend fails to hit home

Prom 58: Salome, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Runnicles

Nina Stemme stuns in a giddying account of Strauss's incredible score

Les Troyens, Mariinsky Opera, Gergiev, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Russian stars bring rich operatic highlight to last week of Edinburgh Festival

theatre

First Person: Disabled artists take on the world

Introducing Unlimited, the Southbank's festival of work by deaf and disabled artists

Toast, Park Theatre

Richard Bean's play about a bread plant in Hull in the 1970s rises to the occasion

Crystal Springs, Park Theatre / Little Stitches, Theatre503

Cyberspace goings on and reports from the frontline of FGM

visual arts

Time, Weather, Place: Folkestone Triennial 2014

Headless 'terror' chickens, a naff baroque beach hut, and digging for gold

First Person: Disabled artists take on the world

Introducing Unlimited, the Southbank's festival of work by deaf and disabled artists

Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities, BBC Four

Does James Fox have anything interesting to say? Judging from this series, no

dance

Edinburgh Fringe 2014: Circa, Beyond

Entertaining circus show from top-quality Australian ensemble

Patrias, Paco Peña Flamenco Company, Edinburgh Playhouse

Rich, thoughtful show from flamenco legend

Sweet Mambo, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Edinburgh Playhouse

German choreographer's late work delights Edinburgh Festival audience

comedy

Steen Raskopoulos, Soho Theatre

Superb character comedy from Australian debutant

John Kearns/ Alex Edelman/ This Is Ceilidh

Winning shows at the Edinburgh Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe 2014: Chris Turner/ BEASTS/ Angela Barnes/ Show Pony

More from the world's biggest and best arts festival

gaming

CounterSpy

Visually striking stealth-action game leaves one stirred, but not very shaken…

Road Not Taken

It looks cute, but this puzzle game has a chilling heart…

Duet

A challenge that combines fast reactions with graceful movement

latest comments

What a great review! No need to be an opera...

Saw this on its third and final night. Good...

I was at the prom, and I completely agree with...

Wow, what amazing T.V. Four episodes that moved...

So it seems I'm not the only one who can't sleep...

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