thu 18/09/2014

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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 putting children born out of wedlock up for adoption....

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’re an artist and a menacing “death's head” skull emerges...

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 to critical fire or to rapidly waning audience interest...

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 last night that it was hard to believe they had never...

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 street girls down by Lisbon docks. I had been following a...

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 a particular philosophical position, but simply 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...

Cilla, ITV

Adam Sweeting

With Cilla Black still fighting fit and eminently telly-worthy at 71, it feels a bit odd to find a three-part dramatisation...

Maestri: Conductors at the 2014 Proms

theartsdesk

Chris Christodoulou is the official Proms photographer, writes David Nice. From his uniquely privileged position behind a...

Francesca Woodman: Zigzag, Victoria Miro

Marina Vaizey

Francesca Woodman killed herself at the age of 22, the biographical fact that colours her work and which it is de riguer to...

The Village, Series 2 Finale, BBC One

Tom Birchenough

You may have had to search for his name in the closing credits of this final episode of series two of The Village, but all...

20,000 Days On Earth

Nick Hasted

This excellent documentary considerably deepens the Nick Cave we know. If there is a Cave other than the spiritually and...

Foo Fighters, Olympic Park

Matthew Wright

“There goes my hero,” sang the Foo Fighters at the end of the Invictus Games last night. True to form, the Foo Fighters’...

British Art at War: Bomberg, Sickert and Nash, BBC Four

Marina Vaizey

At the end of this absorbing documentary about the art – and life – of Paul Nash we visited his tombstone in a...

10 Questions for Actor Stellan Skarsgård

Kieron Tyler

“Haven’t we met before?” We hadn’t, but Stellan Skarsgård’s friendly greeting immediately sets the tone for an encounter...

Otello, English National Opera

Alexandra Coghlan

From one great operatic storm to another. 2014 opened at English National Opera with David Alden’s Peter Grimes, gale-tossed...

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

Sebastian Scotney

If only the Last Night of the Proms could just be about the music. If it were, then the story which I would want to tell...

Mulatu Astatke, Royal Festival Hall

Peter Culshaw

It was Jim Jarmusch’s film Broken Flowers that first really got Mulatu Astatke major Western attention – in same way that...

 

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT AT THE PROMS Badly-miked mumbling and a disgraceful travesty of R&H with diva Deborah Voigt holding her poise

GLUE, E4 Jack Thorne's latest is a gripping whodunit set in the English countryside

BALLETBOYZ TRIPLE BILL, LINBURY STUDIO THEATRE New works show all-male company on top form

BALLYTURK, NATIONAL GALLERY Enda Walsh's unsettling comedy triumphs at the Lyttelton

XERXES, ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA Alice Coote shines in pretty, witty and ever-youthful vintage Handel

FRANCESCA WOODMAN: ZIGZAG, VICTORIA MIRO An exhibition that lends new insights and depth to the late photographer's work

disc of the day

CD: Goat – Commune

Swedish psychedelicists move the hips and spin the mind

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six of the best

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

Six of the best: Theatre

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

Six of the best: Art

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions

film

Magic in the Moonlight

Emma Stone delights in Woody Allen's 1920s romantic comedy

Opinion: What's the point of short film?

The director of the Encounters Film Festival leaps to the short film's defence

DVD: The Two Faces of January

A superb, elegant thriller that's excellent on the small screen

tv

This World: Ireland's Lost Babies, BBC Two

Martin Sixsmith pursues Philomena's harrowing story of Catholic children born out of wedlock

Glue, E4

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

Cilla, ITV

Anodyne biog sanitises showbusiness legend

new music

First Person: From Insolence to Defiance

Lyrical country meets rollicking cowpunk: Paul Simmonds on writing songs for two very different new albums

CD: Goat – Commune

Swedish psychedelicists move the hips and spin the mind

CD: The Juan MacLean – In a Dream

Intermittent thrills on third album from LCD Soundsystem-related electro-dance outfit

classical

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

Prom 75: Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Gilbert

A monumental season's close to the 2014 Proms from a great orchestra

opera

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

theatre

Doctor Scroggy’s War, Shakespeare’s Globe

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

Ballyturk, National Theatre

Enda Walsh's unsettling comedy triumphs at the Lyttelton

Hamlet, Royal Exchange, Manchester

A production that's fatally underpowered, but Maxine Peake is gripping as the young Prince

visual arts

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

British Art at War: Bomberg, Sickert and Nash, BBC Four

Andrew Graham-Dixon begins an excellent trilogy about World War One artists with Paul Nash

dance

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

comedy

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

gaming

Destiny

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

CounterSpy

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

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