fri 19/12/2014, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Serial Finale: Cul-de-Sacs and Curveballs

Fisun Güner

The concluding episode came, and in a confusion of dates I missed it. If you’ve been following the weekly podcast Serial, you, like me and millions of avid listeners, would have...

Big Eyes

Matt Wolf

The worlds of marital abuse and artistic fraud collide to eye-opening if also frustrating effect in Big Eyes, Tim Burton's film about the unmasking of an elaborate deception that...

Un Ballo in Maschera, Royal Opera

David Nice

Covent Garden’s masked balls circling around the New Year feature not the seasonal bourgeois Viennese couple and a bat-winged conspirator but a king, his best friend’s wife and –...

Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron From Ice

Stuart Houghton

Telltale Games has pioneered the 'box set' model of gaming with their hit episodic adventures based in the Walking Dead universe as well as The Wolf Among Us, set in the modern...

We Made It: Factum Arte

Florence Hallett

With its team of artists and craftsmen Factum Arte resembles the workshops of old, the rhythmic clatter of hammer and chisel a sound that has rung through city streets for...

The Fall, Series 2 Finale, BBC Two

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Before the second series of The Fall began, I was watching Gillian Anderson being interviewed on This Morning. While the subject matter of the drama - a tense game of cat and...


Helen K Parker

When I found out Jack King-Spooner was making another game, I didn’t know whether to be happy, or to be sick in my mouth a...

Eric and Little Ern, St James Theatre

Veronica Lee

The audience for this show could probably be divided into to two camps: those who fondly remember watching Morecambe &...

City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse

Sam Marlowe

Drop-dead dames, a hard-bitten gumshoe, an ambitious writer and a sleazy movie mogul: this slick, sassy 1989 musical by Cy...

Photographer Rena Effendi: 'Images of dislocation'

Tom Birchenough

Photographer Rena Effendi’s current exhibition, "Zones of Silence", at London's Mosaic Rooms includes work from four of her...

Dumb and Dumber To

Katherine McLaughlin

“Comedy is all about timing” quips Lloyd Christmas at one point, something this sequel to the Farrelly Brothers' crass,...

Almost, Maine, Park Theatre

Heather Neill

For a Christmas-weary Brit who's already had it up to here with commercial bonhomie and festive schmaltz, there were going...

The Frozen Scream, Wales Millennium Centre

Gary Raymond

There are moments in this collaboration between performer and theatre impresario Christopher Green and best-selling novelist...

The Missing, Series Finale, BBC One

Jasper Rees

So now we know. Sort of. The missing clue was tweezered into view in time for the final episode of The Missing and the fate...

Guys and Dolls

Adam Sweeting

This newly-restored version of one of MGM's most hallowed musicals is making the seasonal rounds with a run at the BFI and...

The Choir: New Military Wives, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

This feelgood programme hit all the buttons with almost unerring precision, as we followed Gareth Malone's project to...

The Merchant of Venice, Almeida Theatre

David Nice

All that glisters is not gold in the casino and television game-show world of Rupert Goold’s American Shakespeare, first...

Fretwork, Shoreditch Church

Sebastian Scotney

There is nothing quite like Fretwork at their best. When the viol consort put themselves through their paces in the music of...

theartsdesk on Vinyl

Thomas H Green

Have you been to a record shop lately? Now that our honeymoon with virtual music is revealed as completely lacking romance,...

Steph and Dom Meet... Nigel Farage, Channel 4 / Bullseyes and Beer - When Darts Hit Britain, BBC Four

Adam Sweeting

The idea of having a politician crossing the threshold of one's own home is enough to send most citizens diving for the...

Olive Kitteridge, Sky Atlantic

Tom Birchenough

Some of the best films this year have been the longest. The one most likely to be remembered is Richard Linklater’s Boyhood...

The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Jenny Gilbert

Unusually, English National Ballet’s Nutcracker finds itself in an empty field this year. Three Decembers ago, the...


Kieron Tyler

Nothing proves a theory better than practice, and this is exactly what Norwegian adventurer-archaeologist-ethnographer Thor...

Henry IV, Parts One and Two, RSC, Barbican

David Nice

Heritage Shakespeare for the home counties and the tourists is just about alive but not very well at the Royal Shakespeare...


ALMOST, MAINE, PARK THEATRE UK premiere of sweet, phenomenally popular American drama set in a fictional town

PHOTOGRAPHER RENA EFFENDI: 'IMAGES OF DISLOCATION' Azeri photographer brings the world to us with striking, intimate immediacy

THE MISSING, SERIES FINALE, BBC ONE Audience foxed by twists in the outro of the first series

THE NUTCRACKER, ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET, LONDON COLISEUM Wayne Eagling's production returns for another bout of rodent control

GUYS AND DOLLS Sinatra and Brando ride again in classic MGM musical 

DUMB AND DUMBER TO Hit and miss comedy sequel from the Farrelly Brothers 

disc of the day

Album of the Year: Jack White – Lazaretto

It's music you've heard before, but it never sounded like this

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Listed: Science Fiction in Videogames
Nearly all videogames are fantastical, but few are interestingly fantastical
Listed: The World and Beyond - London Jazz Festival 2014
This year's festival promises further encounters with the strange and new
Listed: Wall Flowers - The Best of Berlin
It divided a city, but the Wall produced great stories and songs, dramas and films. We pick our favourites

We Made It

We Made It: Factum Arte

Using 3D technology to revolutionise the way we care for cultural heritage

We Made It: Publisher and Curator Amelia Gregory

Gold leaf and alchemical processes feed into a unique view of publishing

We Made It: Bex Burch, Dagaare Xylophone-Maker

Percussionist explains how the unique craft and culture of a north-Ghanaian people shapes her music


Big Eyes

Tim Burton's latest leaves you, well, wide-eyed

Dumb and Dumber To

Hit and miss comedy sequel from the Farrelly Brothers

Guys and Dolls

Sinatra and Brando ride again in classic MGM musical


The Fall, Series 2 Finale, BBC Two

Is this the end for Allan Cubitt's fifty shades of serial killer?

The Missing, Series Finale, BBC One

Audience foxed by twists in the outro of the first series

The Choir: New Military Wives, BBC Two

How Gareth Malone took his new choir to the First World War centenary Prom

new music

Album of the Year: Jack White – Lazaretto

It's music you've heard before, but it never sounded like this

Album of the Year: Swans – To Be Kind

Noisy Americans produce a feral blues masterpiece

CD: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

Album number three from hip hop's controversial pop empress


Fretwork, Shoreditch Church

Among the Christmas staples, it's a relief to find an imaginative take on a different theme

Ohlsson, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

Hymning the human in a Nielsen masterpiece and the cosmic in a psychedelic epic by Busoni

Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas CDs

Six of 2014's best seasonal releases


Un Ballo in Maschera, Royal Opera

Shining moments and star voices in mostly drab Verdi

The Way Back Home, ENO, Young Vic

A colourful children's show that's got Christmas written all over it

Tristan und Isolde, Royal Opera

Antonio Pappano and Nina Stemme spellbind again in Christof Loy's rigorous Wagner


Eric and Little Ern, St James Theatre

Affectionate tribute to a great double act

City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse

Lavish entertainment from the musical portrait of Forties Tinseltown

Almost, Maine, Park Theatre

UK premiere of sweet, phenomenally popular American drama set in a fictional town

visual arts

DVD: Hockney

An affectionate but not entirely satisfactory portrait of the artist

The Great Museum

From politicians to polar bears, unexpected insights behind the scenes

Maggi Hambling, National Gallery

A recent body of work tells of the painter's craft and the stormy Suffolk coast


The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Wayne Eagling's production returns for another bout of rodent control

Edward Scissorhands, New Adventures, Sadler's Wells

A hearty dose of cheer, with just a little weirdness, from master storyteller Matthew Bourne

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Royal Ballet

Classy dance, design and music, marinated just a little long in the treacle well


Dara Ó Bríain, Touring

Irish comic is on cracking form on home turf

Noel Fielding, Eventim Apollo

Surreal fun from a delightfully playful comic

John Bishop, Touring

Short on jokes but long on charm


Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron From Ice

Lashings of intrigue but poor pacing mars this pilot episode


Cerebral wandering through the memories of a wonderfully strange games developer

The Talos Principle

Simple mechanics lead to complex puzzles and philosophical musings…

latest comments

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