fri 21/11/2014

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

We Made It: Beardyman's Beardytron_5000mkIV

Matthew Wright

Beardyman, aka Darren Foreman, began his musical career as a beatboxer, becoming in 2006 and 2007 the first performer to win two UK beatboxing championships in a row. He’s always...

Mike Nichols, 1931-2014

Matt Wolf

He was at home with screen newcomers like Dustin Hoffman and Cher and knew how to handle such old pros as Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, while his stage work gave a leg up...

John McLaughlin / Hedvig Mollestad, Royal Festival Hall

Matthew Wright

John McLaughlin made history at the Royal Festival Hall 25 years ago when he recorded a superb album featuring Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu. Last night’s performance with his...

Bellowhead, Shepherd's Bush Empire

Tim Cumming

It’s been ten years since Bellowhead forged their riotous, rigorous pogo-folk, tooled up and fuelled up for closing festivals and getting the crowd to its feet, and they’ve won as...

Tsujii, RLPO, Petrenko, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Glyn Môn Hughes

The knots on the purse-strings have certainly been untied at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and it was good to hear another world première in less than a week. This time it was...

Far Cry 4

Simon Munk

When is more too much? Far Cry 4 continues to expand the freedom enshrined in the freeroaming, first-person shooter series, but this time takes things perhaps too far, diluting...

God Bless the Child, Royal Court Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Much of the recent programming of the Royal Court has flaunted a preference for gimmicky gestures rather than the hard work...

Winter Sleep

Tom Birchenough

This year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes, Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep (Kiş Uykusu) is a monumental film....

Vogt, LPO, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Edward Seckerson

Music lovers invariably divide into two factions over the Brahms piano concertos: those who thrill to the elemental D minor...

Confessions of a Copper, Channel 4

Adam Sweeting

This will have brought a nostalgic tear to the eye of fans of The Sweeney (the TV show, not the Ray Winstone movie) or GF...

BBC Singers, BBCSO, Pons, Barbican

David Nice

Had the BBC Symphony Orchestra been at full stretch, rather than in the neoclassical and otherwise selective formations of...

What We Do in the Shadows

Veronica Lee

Clearly the makers of this delightful film from New Zealand have watched a lot of movies, as so many are neatly and...

Behind the Beautiful Forevers, National Theatre

Matt Wolf

Behind the Beautiful Forevers, David Hare's adaptation of Katherine Boo's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, works as both play...

Triptych, Rambert, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

How long should a dance programme be? Opera and theatre habitués can be surprised by outings to contemporary dance, where...

L'Elisir d'Amore, Royal Opera

Jessica Duchen

“Watch out for the dog!” instructs Covent Garden’s programme for its latest revival of L’elisir d’amore. These creatures do...

Daphnis et Églé/La Naissance d'Osiris, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican

Jenny Gilbert

Were it not for William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, the vocal and instrumental ensemble he started in Paris in the...

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part One

Emma Dibdin

Fortune, as a rule, does not favour Part Threes. Hollywood history is replete with sequels that outstrip their predecessors...

Snarky Puppy, The Roundhouse

Peter Quinn

It's day five of the EFG London Jazz Festival, and Snarky Puppy's show at the Roundhouse has sold out weeks in advance. And...

Loop, The Garage, London

Barney Harsent

You know that thing? That thing that bands of a certain age do? You know… the thing where they get all misty-eyed about...

Noel Fielding, Eventim Apollo

Veronica Lee

Many of the audience for An Evening with Noel Fielding were still in nappies when the comic first plied his trade as one...

Imagine... Anselm Kiefer, BBC One

Florence Hallett

Anselm Kiefer reminds me a bit of someone I once worked for. Totally unpredictable, and possessed of a formidable...

Accolade, St James Theatre

Marianka Swain

Reclaiming lost plays can be unnecessary indulgence, but Blanche McIntyre’s note-perfect production of Emlyn Williams’ 64-...

24 Hours in Police Custody, Channel 4

Jasper Rees

“Your law is too soft. Make it more strict.” An Albanian illegal immigrant suspected of handling stolen goods was...

The Homesman

Emma Simmonds

Taking inspiration from classic westerns even as it vigorously sets itself apart, The Homesman combines the taciturn and...

 

BBC SINGERS, BBCSO, PONS, BARBICAN Blue skies from Respighi and Strauss, seasonal mystery from Brett Dean 

L'ELISIR D'AMORE, ROYAL OPERA The sun shines out of Vittorio Grigolo's behind in a strong revival of Laurent Pelly's production

CONFESSIONS OF A COPPER, CHANNEL 4 Ask a policeman?

IMAGINE...ANSELM KIEFER, BBC ONE Entertaining but two-dimensional, Alan Yentob's account glosses over the artist's flaws

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS Vampire fun from New Zealand

GOD BLESS THE CHILD, ROYAL COURT THEATRE New play about education is a gripping satire with a cast of bright eight-year-olds

disc of the day

DVD: Ida

A return to his Polish roots, Pawel Pawlikowski's latest is a bleak, sacred masterpiece

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We Made It

We Made It: Beardyman's Beardytron_5000mkIV

Ground-breaking improviser on the live composing kit he's had built from scratch

We Made It: Sub Pac Inventor John Alexiou

Meet the Canadian inventor changing the way you experience music

We Made It: Make-up Artist Nina Pratley

The art of faces, from Formula 1 groupies to alien armies

film

DVD: Ida

A return to his Polish roots, Pawel Pawlikowski's latest is a bleak, sacred masterpiece

Mike Nichols, 1931-2014

A chameleonic talent at home in the worlds of theatre, cinema, and comedy

Winter Sleep

Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Cannes Palme d'Or winner is huge in every sense

tv

Imagine... Anselm Kiefer, BBC One

Entertaining but two-dimensional, Alan Yentob's account glosses over the artist's flaws

24 Hours in Police Custody, Channel 4

Gripping documentary series outstrips crime drama

new music

John McLaughlin / Hedvig Mollestad, Royal Festival Hall

Beautiful collaboration and beastly guitar-playing in a stunning jazz fusion gig

Bellowhead, Shepherd's Bush Empire

Ten years of riotous big band folk in one night

classical

Tsujii, RLPO, Petrenko, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Liverpool audience stands again for Torke, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky

Vogt, LPO, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Shapeliness and soul-searching in Brahms, Schubert and Strauss

BBC Singers, BBCSO, Pons, Barbican

Blue skies from Respighi and Strauss, seasonal mystery from Brett Dean

opera

L'Elisir d'Amore, Royal Opera

The sun shines out of Vittorio Grigolo's behind in a strong revival of Laurent Pelly's production

Daphnis et Églé/La Naissance d'Osiris, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican

Baroque music and dance illuminate each other in one-off period recreation performance

Glare, Linbury Studio Theatre

An operatic thriller that's as far from perfect as its flawed characters

theatre

God Bless the Child, Royal Court Theatre

New play about education is a gripping satire with a cast of bright eight-year-olds

Behind the Beautiful Forevers, National Theatre

Rufus Norris staging works both on its own terms and as a bold sign of what's to come

Accolade, St James Theatre

Revival of 1950s celebrity scandal drama is a topical triumph

visual arts

Imagine... Anselm Kiefer, BBC One

Entertaining but two-dimensional, Alan Yentob's account glosses over the artist's flaws

Gallery: Honoré Daumier and Paula Rego - a conversation across time

One was driven by a sense of social injustice, the other by a fascination with stories that hint at psychological disturbance

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014, National Portrait Gallery

Affectionate family portraits, subtle references to the history of art, and a worthy winner

dance

Triptych, Rambert, Sadler's Wells

Great dancers in long programme of new work by Baldwin, Jeyasingh and Page

Daphnis et Églé/La Naissance d'Osiris, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican

Baroque music and dance illuminate each other in one-off period recreation performance

Dancing Cheek to Cheek, BBC Four

Len Goodman and Lucy Worsley trot gently through dance history

comedy

Noel Fielding, Eventim Apollo

Surreal fun from a delightfully playful comic

John Bishop, Touring

Short on jokes but long on charm

Jim Davidson, Sands Centre, Carlisle

Terrific gagmeister who delights in giving offence

gaming

Far Cry 4

Roam free in the mountain paradise of this first-person shooter. Perhaps too free…

Assassin's Creed: Unity

The French Revolution makes for a stunning backdrop to free-roaming stealth action.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Louder, flasher, bigger, but not better, first-person shooter

latest comments

In a pre-play (foreplay?) discussion between the...

Does anyone know the music that was played on the...

Agree about the curtains masking Christie and the...

Noted with thanks, Anon, and duly changed -...

Fascinating programme. Can someone tell me what...

The caption got the order of the four...

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