wed 07/12/2016, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Gavin Dixon
Wednesday, 07 December 2016
Igor Levit began his recording career with Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas, and his deeply felt, impressively mature readings made his name. Now he is performing a full cycle...
Tom Birchenough
Wednesday, 07 December 2016
Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau have described the budget on which they made their latest film Theo & Hugo – the French directors have been collaborators, as well as...
Mark Sanderson
Tuesday, 06 December 2016
Any show that starts with a shot of a naked bubble-butt is likely to grab the attention – especially when it belongs to Milo Ventimiglia – but, alas, the barefaced cheek of this...
Jasper Rees
Tuesday, 06 December 2016
 When Shakespeare visits the bearpit of the West End, it is usually in the company of a big name: Judi Dench, Sheridan Smith, Martin Freeman. This Christmas the bard enters...
Laurence Jackson Hyman
Tuesday, 06 December 2016
My mother has been rediscovered, if she ever went away. She is suddenly a rising star, 51 years after her early death. Interest in Shirley Jackson’s novels and stories has...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 06 December 2016
DW Griffiths's 1915 silent epic, The Birth of a Nation, became notorious for its pejorative portrayal of black people and its heroic vision of the Ku Klux Klan. For his...
Tim Cumming
Tuesday, 06 December 2016
Hailing a lift in torrential rain one night from an early 2000s Dylan concert at Docklands Arena – that long-gone ghost of a...
Sarah Kent
Monday, 05 December 2016
The nine artists in this exhibition mainly paint large, eye-catching canvases; yet the most arresting image on show is a...
David Nice
Monday, 05 December 2016
Second and third times lucky: after the migraine-inducing multimedia overload of Peter Sellars's premiere production of El...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 05 December 2016
As an old Sixties lefty brought up on paranoia-infused thrillers like The Parallax View or All the President's Men, Oliver...
Heather Neill
Monday, 05 December 2016
The cry "Let's pretend" must have been heard often when J M Barrie played with the Llewelyn Davies boys in Kensington...
Guy Oddy
Monday, 05 December 2016
Live albums can be tricky beasts, often characterised by large excruciating dollops of self-congratulation and self-...
Boyd Tonkin
Sunday, 04 December 2016
In this, his final book, the late German author and Nobel literature laureate tells us that he used to disgust his children...
Jasper Rees
Sunday, 04 December 2016
Sam Shepard came to live in London in 1971, nursing ambitions to be a rock musician. When he went home three years later, he...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 04 December 2016
Pictured above is Sweden’s Ralph Lundsten. He might look like a guru or mystic but is actually a multi-disciplinary artist...
Thomas H Green
Sunday, 04 December 2016
Jean-Michel Jarre sometimes doesn’t receive the credit due to him from electronic music buffs. Whereas Kraftwerk, Tangerine...
Jenny Gilbert
Saturday, 03 December 2016
What stroke of prescience brought two Sam Shepard plays to London in the very month America voted for Trump? The kind of...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 03 December 2016
 The three suites which Prokofiev extracted from his ballet Romeo and Juliet are skilfully put together, but they’re a...
Ismene Brown
Saturday, 03 December 2016
This House arrives in the West End with magic timing - a comedy about the farcical horrors of being a government with a...
Liz Thomson
Saturday, 03 December 2016
The 37th studio album from the man dubbed “the godfather of grunge” is raw, down and dirty-sounding – like many of the...

THE BEST MUSICALS IN LONDON From Mormons to Matilda, we recommend the top shows

SNOWDEN Patriot, spy, hero or traitor? Oliver Stone directs Joseph Gordon-Levitt

GÜNTER GRASS - OF ALL THAT ENDS Hail, and farewell, to a puckish giant of post-war literature

PETER PAN, NATIONAL THEATRE Sally Cookson brilliantly reinvents a Christmas favourite

JOHN ADAMS'S EL NIÑO Light and darkness balanced in a great oratorio music-drama

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Theo & Hugo

Paris-set gay two-hander hits home with highly explicit opening

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This Is Us, Channel 4

All-American soap, schmaltz and sexiness from the bottom up

The Missing, Series 2 Finale, BBC One

Gloom-drenched odyssey reaches miserable conclusion

Rillington Place, BBC One

Reginald Christie's Notting Hill murders revisited with horror and black humour


DVD/Blu-ray: Theo & Hugo

Paris-set gay two-hander hits home with highly explicit opening

The Birth of a Nation

Nate Parker's fearsome fable of slavery and America's great divide

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top films out now

new music

CD: Bob Dylan - The Real Royal Albert Hall Concert

Great music and no-platforming, 1966-style

CD: Public Service Broadcasting – Live At Brixton

South London neo-psychedelicists beef up their sound for a celebratory homecoming gig

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Microcosm

Astounding, ground-breaking exploration of the ‘visionary music of Continental Europe’


Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall

Fiery, bold readings delivered with precision and focus

El Niño, LSO, Adams, Barbican

Light and darkness balanced in a great oratorio music-drama

Classical CDs Weekly: Prokofiev, Daniel Röhn, Ayreheart

A great ballet score gets a definitive reading, a nostalgic violin recital, and an American quartet tackle the hits of the English Renaissance


El Niño, LSO, Adams, Barbican

Light and darkness balanced in a great oratorio music-drama

Das Rheingold, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Consummate 'preliminary evening' of the Ring from a master Wagnerian

Alice's Adventures Under Ground, Barbican

Gerald Barry's crazy velocity berserks both 'Alice' books in rude style


10 Questions for Director Christopher Luscombe
The master of ceremonies who is bringing his double bill of Shakespearean comedy to the West End
Six of the best: Theatre
Potter, Pinter and murder: theartsdesk's stage tips
Peter Pan, National Theatre
Sally Cookson brilliantly reinvents a Christmas favourite to hook in all ages


Swan Lake/Loch na hEala, Sadler’s Wells

Agony meets ecstasy in radical Irish take on the ballet

Conceal/Reveal, Russell Maliphant Company, Messums Barn

Modern dance finds a serene new home in a 13th-century tithe barn

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet

Christmas classic is never disappointing - and these principals always winning


Tom Allen, Soho Theatre

Intricately constructed tale about suburbia

The Catherine Tate Show Live, Eventim Apollo

Go on, have a guess. Terrific live tour of sketch show favourites

Susan Calman, Soho Theatre

Feelgood stand-up with a political punch


Time Locker

Is this top-down 2D endless run & gun game a timeless classic?

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Infinite warfare but finite fun

Titanfall 2

Robot Wars goes up a notch

visual arts

Painters’ Painters, Saatchi Gallery

An invigorating look at a medium that not only refuses to die, but invites continual reinvention

'Before punk, there was Rauschenberg'

As a major retrospective opens at Tate Modern, musician and producer Justin Adams reflects on his lifelong love of an American great

Portrait of the Artist, The Queen's Gallery

A rich history of art through painters' eyes

latest comments

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