fri 27/03/2015

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

10 Questions for Artist Marcus Coates

Thomas H Green

Marcus Coates (b. 1968) is an artist who specializes in projects that involve the natural world. Graduating from the Royal Academy in the early Nineties, by the millennium he was...

Bayadère - The Ninth Life, Shobana Jeyasingh Company, Linbury Studio Theatre

Hanna Weibye

The premise of last night’s world première made so much sense that one almost wondered why nobody had done it before now. Commissioned by the Royal Opera House and in its...

Defining Beauty: The Body in Ancient Greek Art, British Museum

Fisun Güner

We think we know it when we see it. But how, pray, do we define beauty? The ancient Greeks thought they had the measure of it. In the 4th century BC, the “chief forms of beauty,”...

Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women, BBC Two

Lisa-Marie Ferla

If the mark of a good documentary is that it teaches you something new, then the awkwardly-titled Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women was a very good documentary indeed. For...

Bad Jews, Arts Theatre

Marianka Swain

Joshua Harmon’s provocative 2012 piece is the Rocky of comedies. His evenly matched sparring partners, a pair of viscerally antagonistic cousins confined in close quarters after a...

Amadis de Gaule, UCL Opera

Matthew Wright

Johann Christian Bach’s Amadis de Gaule, which is receiving its first London run this week in a vivid and charming production at University College London Opera this week,...

Wild Tales

Nick Hasted

Six apocalyptic Argentine stories of revenge combine in this hugely enjoyable and extreme anthology. Producer Pedro...

Rules for Living, National Theatre

Aleks Sierz

The seasonal family reunion play is a hardy perennial. Like the Christmas tree that must take its place on the stage, it is...

Giove in Argo, Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music

David Nice

If you’re looking for rare festival Handel, better a pasticcio – take that as shorthand for a cut-and-paste job mostly from...

Dior and I

Ellin Stein

If anyone thinks high fashion is an airy-fairy world populated by flibbertigibbets preoccupied with frills and furbelows,...

Harvey, Theatre Royal Haymarket

Marianka Swain

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, repeatedly unfunny Harvey isn’t just a...

Storyville: Masterspy of Moscow - George Blake, BBC Four

Tom Birchenough

“The righteous traitor” must be as provocative a subtitle as any when the subject is espionage. Director George Carey...

10 Questions for Filmmaker Damián Szifron

Demetrios Matheou

Nominated for Best Foreign Language film at this year’s Oscars, Wild Tales is that rarity, a portmanteau film; even rarer,...

The Subways, Institute, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

Not unreasonably, anyone might imagine that a band might lose a bit of their usual vigour if they found themselves four...

Man to Man, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Gary Raymond

There can be few modern plays as testing for a female actor as Manfred Karge’s Man to Man. When Tilda Swinton took it on at...

Sweeney Todd, Harrington's Pie and Mash Shop, Shaftesbury Avenue

Matt Wolf

Stephen Sondheim's ever-elastic masterpiece is downsized to largely dazzling effect in its latest iteration, which has been...

The Pub Landlord, Touring

Veronica Lee

Al Murray is celebrating 20 years as his brilliant invention the Pub Landlord, an autodidact, xenophobic sexist with...

Blind

Kieron Tyler

How would a sighted adult react to becoming blind? What would their anxieties be? How would they construct their new world?...

Ian McCulloch, St Pauls Arts Centre, Worthing

Thomas H Green

Things do not start well. Ian McCulloch, in trademark shades, apparently not aged a jot since Echo & the Bunnymen’s...

Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions, National Portrait Gallery

Marina Vaizey

One masterpiece and two superb portraits both dominate and sum up in vivid fashion the complex personality, long life and...

Bronfman, LPO, Jurowski, RFH

David Nice

Over the past two Saturdays, Vladimir Jurowski and a London Philharmonic on top form have given us a mini-festival of great...

Trainspotting, King’s Head Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Hey, it’s the 1990s – yet again. After high-profile revivals of contemporary classics, such as Patrick Marber’s Closer and...

Total Immersion: Boulez at 90, Barbican

Gavin Dixon

Pierre Boulez sits in the back of a car as it drives across Westminster Bridge. He is talking about the audience appeal of...

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Odyssey - A Northern Soul Time Capsule

Kieron Tyler

 Various Artists: The Odyssey - A Northern Soul Time CapsuleIt begins with “Open the Door to Your Heart” by Darrell...

 

DIOR AND I New to couture, designer Raf Simons races to prepare the Christian Dior collection

RULES FOR LIVING, NATIONAL THEATRE New play about a family reunion at Christmas is imaginative and brilliantly theatrical

10 QUESTIONS FOR FILMMAKER DAMIAN SZIFRON  'Wild Tales' director reflects on his portmanteau film about ‘the pleasure of losing control’

GIOVE IN ARGO, BRITTEN THEATRE, RCM Into the woods with quality Handel, fine young singers and the brilliant Laurence Cummings

CD: HANOI MASTER - WAR IS A WOUND, PEACE IS A SCAR Touching field recordings from Vietnam

BRONFMAN, LPO, JUROWSKI, RFH Two playful Ballets Russes scores outdance the UK premiere of an elephantine concerto

disc of the day

CD: The Prodigy - The Day Is My Enemy

The Essex rave juggernaut's sixth is unapologetically ballistic

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We Made It

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

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

We Made It: Fashion Designer Anna Skodbo

The east London fashion designer on crowd-sourcing, sustainable fabrics and dressing MPs

We Made It: Furniture Designer & Maker Laszlo Beckett

The South London furniture maker talks lasers, skate-ramps and Coltrane

tv

Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women, BBC Two

Awkward documentary draws few conclusions from a 20-year fight for women's rights

Storyville: Masterspy of Moscow - George Blake, BBC Four

Intriguing espionage life-story of the British double-agent, and a brief encounter today

Written By Mrs Bach, BBC Four

Did Anna Magdalena compose some of her husband's best-loved masterpieces?

film

Wild Tales

Argentine anthology shows revenge can be crazed, witty fun

Dior and I

New to couture, designer Raf Simons races to prepare the Christian Dior collection

10 Questions for Filmmaker Damián Szifron

'Wild Tales' director reflects on his portmanteau film about ‘the pleasure of losing control’

new music

CD: The Prodigy - The Day Is My Enemy

The Essex rave juggernaut's sixth is unapologetically ballistic

CD: Polar Bear – Same As You

Post-jazzers add ambient dub to a spacey, love-infused mix

CD: Hanoi Masters - War Is a Wound, Peace Is a Scar

Touching field recordings from Vietnam

classical

Bronfman, LPO, Jurowski, RFH

Two playful Ballets Russes scores outdance the UK premiere of an elephantine concerto

Total Immersion: Boulez at 90, Barbican

A detailed and engaging portrait of the iconic composer

Classical CDs Weekly: Ruperto Chapí, Rossini, Walton

Vibrant string quartets, an upbeat Mass setting and late music from a 20th-century British composer

opera

Amadis de Gaule, UCL Opera

Spirited student revival of JC Bach's lovely final opera

Giove in Argo, Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music

Into the woods with quality Handel, fine young singers and the brilliant Laurence Cummings

Madama Butterfly, Royal Opera

Great conductor and soprano realise Puccini's deepest heartbreak to perfection

theatre

Bad Jews, Arts Theatre

Jewish identity is scrutinised in this unflinching, startlingly funny American play

Rules for Living, National Theatre

New play about a family reunion at Christmas is imaginative and brilliantly theatrical

Harvey, Theatre Royal Haymarket

The appeal of this dated comedy is as elusive as its giant invisible rabbit

visual arts

10 Questions for Artist Marcus Coates

Eccentric visionary talks birds, shamanism, intoxicated animals and the Brighton Festival

Defining Beauty: The Body in Ancient Greek Art, British Museum

More than the sum of its parts: an exploration of how the human form was perfected

Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions, National Portrait Gallery

A masterly portrait of the Iron Duke that draws out a contradictory personality

dance

Bayadère - The Ninth Life, Shobana Jeyasingh Company, Linbury Studio Theatre

Engaging dance treatment of Indian-European cultural and disciplinary encounters

Serenade/Carmina Burana, Birmingham Royal Ballet, London Coliseum

Balanchine and Bintley showcase BRB's contrasting talents

The Pursuit of Now, Sadler's Wells

The parts of this stellar dance-with-jazz line-up dazzle, without quite making a whole

comedy

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...'

The 2,000 Year Old Man, JW3

Recreation of famous Brooks and Reiner skits

gaming

Shelter 2

Might and Delight invite you to take a walk on the wild side

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Kill, die, repeat in this garish, hypnotic action sequel

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood

Twitchy skating game gets under your skin like road rash

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

latest comments

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