sun 30/04/2017

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Jasper Rees
Sunday, 30 April 2017
After the first preview of Mike Leigh’s play Two Thousand Years at the National Theatre, a young Guardian reporter accosted an audience member for his view of the play. The...
Florence Hallett
Sunday, 30 April 2017
“I’m a great opportunist,” says Richard Long, a statement that for all its economy brims with contradictions and possibilities. While his sculptures made in wild and far-flung...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 30 April 2017
Compilations of Sixties girl group or girl-pop sides are innumerable but Honeybeat: Groovy 60s Girl-Pop is promoted on the basis of the rarity of what’s collected. The 19 tracks...
Stephen Unwin
Sunday, 30 April 2017
“I’ve got a terrible confession to make”, I said to my long-suffering partner who had been away for the weekend with our young daughter. “Oh yes,” I could see her thinking, “what...
Jasper Rees
Sunday, 30 April 2017
Letter to Brezhnev, released in 1985, was a delightful curio with sharp edges. A trans-cultural riff on Romeo and Juliet, it told of the sudden romance that erupts between a...
Hanna Weibye
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Sure, there are things not to like about Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling. Confusing plot. Plethora of characters. Unsympathetic (anti-)hero. Borderline melodramatic choreography....
Aleks Sierz
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Playwright Martin Crimp’s 1993 satirical epic, The Treatment, is a fabulous work, but it’s rarely revived. Although much of...
Adam Sweeting
Saturday, 29 April 2017
The simplest ideas are often the best. Here’s one – take AC/DC’s Tyneside-born vocalist Brian Johnson and get him to chew...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Laurence Crane: 6 Trios, 2 Solos and 1 Quintet The Ives Ensemble (RTF Classical)It's a rare pleasure to discover a...
David Nice
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Many other top Estonian musicians, performing among other works 30 premieres of music by their compatriots in just over a...
Javi Fedrick
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Instead of resting on the laurels of the great music they made some 40 years ago, Blondie - still led by original members...
Tom Birchenough
Friday, 28 April 2017
“Everything in extremity”. That announcement that the Capulet party is about to begin could just as well serve to describe...
Alexandra Coghlan
Friday, 28 April 2017
If Georg Friedrich Haas’s in vain was a work of political protest when it premiered in 2000, in 2017 it’s a piece that reads...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 28 April 2017
The original Guardians of the Galaxy from 2014 had a freshness to its humour and introduced audiences to a set of novel...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 28 April 2017
If Robert King and Michelle King, creators of The Good Wife, took the Joss Whedon line on sequels – “They are inevitably...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 28 April 2017
The Armenian genocide by the Ottomans during and after World War One killed 1.5 million people and is a wound that won’t...
Joe Muggs
Friday, 28 April 2017
Mary J Blige has a voice that was built to age gracefully. Gutsy, churchy, sometimes rough, it was miles away from the over-...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 27 April 2017
Playwright Duncan Macmillan has had a good couple of years. In 2015, his play People, Places and Things was a big hit at the...
Gavin Dixon
Thursday, 27 April 2017
You wouldn’t guess it from her name, but Janina Fialkowska isn’t actually Polish. You wouldn’t guess from her Chopin either...
Nick Hasted
Thursday, 27 April 2017
The Scottish play’s traces are faint in this bloody, steamy tale of feminist psychosis. Based on Nikolai Leskov’s...

★★★★ MARY J BLIGE: STRENGTH OF A WOMAN Hip-hop survivor ages gracefully

★★★★ BRIAN JOHNSON'S LIFE ON THE ROAD Rockers spill all in riotous new Sky Arts series

★★★★★ CHRIS OFILI, NATIONAL GALLERY Weaving with water: a tribute to Trinidad, the Old Masters and Mario Balotelli

★★ GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 Complacent, tedious, cynical

★★ ROMEO AND JULIET, SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE Whizzbangs and brouhaha. Disappointing

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Letter to Brezhnev

Eighties low-budget classic set in Liverpool given a welcome re-release

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The best TV to watch this week

theartsdesk picks the dramas, sitcoms and documentaries you shouldn't miss

Brian Johnson's A Life on the Road review – ripping yarns of rock'n'roll

Veteran rockers reminisce riotously on Sky Arts

The Good Fight review - 'flawless writing and acting'

Legal drama spin-off is as superlative as its precursor


DVD/Blu-ray: Letter to Brezhnev

Eighties low-budget classic set in Liverpool given a welcome re-release

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 review - complacent, tedious, cynical

Sequel to the smash hit of 2014 boasts star cameos but lacks some of the original sparkle

The Promise review - genocide reduced to melodrama

Noble intentions don't do justice to historical horrors

new music

Reissue CDs Weekly: Honeybeat

No-filler celebration of Sixties girl-pop is a thrilling ride

The Best Albums of 2017

theartsdesk's music critics pick their favourites of the year

CD: Blondie - Pollinator

Aiming for now-ness the perennial pop stalwarts hit a bump in the road


Classical CDs Weekly: Laurence Crane, Martinů, Prokofiev

English minimalism, folk-inspired choral music and a wintry violin sonata

theartsdesk in Tallinn: From Dusk to Black at Estonian Music Days

Imaginative brilliance in a spectacular showcase for thriving new music scene

in vain, London Sinfonietta, Lubman, Royal Festival Hall

Haas's contemporary classic speaks louder than ever in the current political climate


Doctor Atomic, BBCSO, Adams, Barbican

Gerald Finley reprises his tormented nuclear scientist in electrifying company

The Exterminating Angel, Royal Opera

A savage new conversation piece lives up to its distinguished source

Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria, EBS, Gardiner, Colston Hall, Bristol

Monteverdi Odyssey begins, aptly and superbly, with the last masterpiece


Sunday Book: Nicholas Hytner - Balancing Acts
The National Theatre's former boss is wonderfully insightful about everything but himself
'It was probably the most effective act of resistance in the history of the Third Reich'
Stephen Unwin on 'All Our Children', his play for Jermyn Street Theatre about Nazi persecution of the disabled
The Treatment, Almeida Theatre, review - exhilarating Crimp never more relevant
Colourful and vivid revival of Martin Crimp’s 1993 tale of New York


Mayerling, Royal Ballet review - 'every ballet fan should see this'

Watson and Osipova hypnotic in MacMillan's character-driven masterpiece

DVD: Dancer

Steven Cantor’s film tracks the making and breaking of ballet superstar Sergei Polunin

Betroffenheit, Crystal Pite & Jonathon Young, Sadler's Wells

Astonishing, unclassifiable work of dance theatre about an unrepresentable subject


Ayesha Hazarika, Soho Theatre review - 'politics is her patch'

Former Labour adviser finds the funny in politics

Our Friend Victoria review – ‘Victoria Wood’s genius is irreplaceable’

Julie Walters presents the first part of BBC One's series celebrating a comedian without equal


Mass Effect: Andromeda review - 'dialogue trumps visual presentation'

Is the final frontier one step too far for this sci-fi epic?

Horizon Zero Dawn

The sun shines brightly on this benchmark action RPG

Sniper Elite 4

Life through a long-range lens

visual arts

Richard Long: Earth Sky, Houghton Hall

The sculptor uses English materials to take over an 18th-century estate in Norfolk

Chris Ofili, National Gallery

Weaving with water: a tribute to Trinidad, the Old Masters and Mario Balotelli

Queer British Art 1861-1967, Tate Britain

A vital selective history in images, but is much of it great art - and does it matter?

latest comments

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