wed 01/04/2015

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

Sweeney Todd, London Coliseum

David Nice

Still they keep coming, 35 years on from the London premiere of Sondheim's "musical thriller": Sweeneys above pubs, in pie shops, concert halls and theatres of all sizes, on the...

Oppenheimer, RSC, Vaudeville Theatre

Demetrios Matheou

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” J Robert Oppenheimer’s quotation from Hindu scripture is often used to signify the scientist’s rueful realisation, when it was...

theartsdesk in Bilbao: Niki de Saint Phalle at the Guggenheim Museum

Fisun Güner

This is work that wears its heart on its sleeve. That’s what gets you in the end in this big retrospective of the work of Niki de Saint Phalle. The French-American artist, who...

Altman

Graham Fuller

Ron Mann’s laid-back documentary about the career vicissitudes and family life of Robert Altman (1925-2006) takes its cue from the tone of the director’s films. It was Altman’s...

A Streetcar Named Desire, Scottish Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Your mum told you (or at least, I hope someone did) that it wasn't about being pretty, it was about having personality. True wisdom though this is, you probably also noticed that...

Future Islands, Roundhouse

Russ Coffey

It’s been just over a year since Future Islands’ Samuel T Herring famously gyrated, and chest-thumped his way through the band's latest single on American TV. The show was ...

A Nation Divided? The Charlie Hebdo Aftermath, BBC Three

Adam Sweeting

All the politicians lined up to chorus "Je suis Charlie" after the nauseating massacre of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in...

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

Nick Hasted

There’s no shame in being a jobbing actor, but you can’t help missing the Anthony Hopkins who dissected repression with...

The Ark, BBC One

Jasper Rees

There was a distinct lack of giraffe or spiny ant-eater or even ant in The Ark. The animals went in none by none in the BBC’...

Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity, BBC Two

Fisun Güner

Louis Theroux just wants to make good television. This may seem an obvious thing to say of a programme-maker, but many...

Ronald Stevenson (1928-2015): A virtuoso remembered

Christopher Lambton

Ronald Stevenson, who died on Saturday at the age of 87, was a composer and pianist who will be much missed both in the...

Why everyone should see The Mysteries from Cape Town

Jasper Rees

One night in Cape Town, I was caught in a power cut. Like an untenanted theatre, the city went utterly dark, darker than...

Something Must Break

Kieron Tyler

Sometimes, nothing can prevent love blossoming. Sebastian’s second encounter with Andreas is punctuated by the latter...

Coalition, Channel 4

Adam Sweeting

Switched from last Thursday to accommodate the live standup gigs by Cast Iron Dave and "Tough Enough" Clint Miliband, this...

White Night

Simon Munk

The old house seems empty at first. But in the darkness, a flickering match your only light source, it quickly becomes...

St Matthew Passion, Anton Bruckner Choir, St John's Smith Square

Alexandra Coghlan

After a Messiah last Christmas by one of London’s finest professional chamber choirs that was straight off the factory...

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Specials

Kieron Tyler

 The Specials: Specials, More Specials; The Special AKA: In the StudioAfter hearing the three albums credited to The...

Mikhail Rudy, Kings Place

Peter Quantrill

Opening It’s All About Piano!, a short but packed festival shared between Kings Place and the Institut français in...

The Four Temperaments/Untouchable/Song of the Earth, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

After the second piece of last night's triple bill, Hofesh Shechter's Untouchable in its world premiere, my friend asked me...

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden, The Queen's Gallery

Marina Vaizey

The young, rather homely yet grand gentleman is lounging under a tree, behind him a formal knot garden. His costume is...

Classical CDs Weekly: Dvořák, Gustavo Leguizamón, Pärt

Graham Rickson

 Dvořák: Symphony no 9, American Suite Bamberger Symphoniker/Robin Ticciati (Tudor)A quick check at one online CD...

Cinderella

Matt Wolf

Lushly produced to within an inch of its pictorially ripe life, the new Disney/Kenneth Branagh live-action Cinderella...

The Three Lions, St James Theatre

Tom Birchenough

The devil gets the best lines, as usual. That may depend, of course, on whether we’re prepared to qualify David Cameron in...

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Channel 4

Barney Harsent

Warning! Spoilers ahead, etc… Bearing in mind the high-octane thrills of recent Marvel forays into cinema, Agents of S.H.I.E...

 

CD: POMBAGIRA - FLESH THRONE PRESS A stoner epic from the doom rock duo

KIDNAPPING FREDDY HEINEKEN Anthony Hopkins sleep-walks into his cell as a captive lager magnate

THE ARK, BBC ONE Old Testament epic rendered as an animal-free northern soap

DVD: RUDE BOY Despite its shortcomings, film vehicle for The Clash is an essential pop-cultural document

WHY EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THE MYSTERIES FROM CAPETOWN How a medieval play from Chester ended up in Xhosa and Zulu

A NATION DIVIDED? THE CHARLIE HEBDO AFTERMATH, BBC THREE Troubling investigation of the disaffection of French Muslims

disc of the day

DVD: Rude Boy

Despite its shortcomings, film vehicle for The Clash is an essential pop-cultural document

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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

A Nation Divided? The Charlie Hebdo Aftermath, BBC Three

Troubling investigation of the disaffection of French Muslims

The Ark, BBC One

Old Testament epic rendered as an animal-free northern soap

Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity, BBC Two

The presenter teases out the answers to the questions the viewer wants to ask

film

Altman

A genial but scarcely probing documentary about the great director

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

Anthony Hopkins sleep-walks into his cell as a captive lager magnate

new music

Future Islands, Roundhouse

Could Samuel T Herring be pop's most charismatic performer?

DVD: Rude Boy

Despite its shortcomings, film vehicle for The Clash is an essential pop-cultural document

CD: Pombagira – Flesh Throne Press

A stoner epic from the doom rock duo

classical

Ronald Stevenson (1928-2015): A virtuoso remembered

Memories of a maverick pianist and composer of 80-minute homage to Shostakovich

St Matthew Passion, Anton Bruckner Choir, St John's Smith Square

A heartfelt and moving performance with a star Evangelist

Mikhail Rudy, Kings Place

Music and image meet through Musorgsky and Janáček, with unpredictably successful results

opera

Sweeney Todd, London Coliseum

Barber, pie-maker and orchestra all predictably consummate, but the staging lacks focus

Why everyone should see The Mysteries from Cape Town

How a medieval play from Chester ended up in Xhosa and Zulu

Princess Ida, Finborough Theatre

Tweaked plot and lyrics muddy the waters of Gilbert and Sullivan's tricky sexist satire

theatre

Sweeney Todd, London Coliseum

Barber, pie-maker and orchestra all predictably consummate, but the staging lacks focus

Oppenheimer, RSC, Vaudeville Theatre

The dawn of the Atomic Age is brought vividly to life in this dazzling new play

Why everyone should see The Mysteries from Cape Town

How a medieval play from Chester ended up in Xhosa and Zulu

visual arts

theartsdesk in Bilbao: Niki de Saint Phalle at the Guggenheim Museum

Brides, whores and nanas: the visceral works that draw on the artist's difficult life

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden, The Queen's Gallery

From Eden to an embodiment of the power of the state: the garden in myth and reality

10 Questions for Artist Marcus Coates

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

dance

A Streetcar Named Desire, Scottish Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Contemporary narrative ballet at its very best

The Four Temperaments/Untouchable/Song of the Earth, Royal Ballet

Shechter première odd one out in triple bill with Balanchine and MacMillan

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

Engaging dance treatment of Indian-European cultural and disciplinary encounters

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

White Night

Beautifully stylish horror adventure shines out

Battlefield: Hardline

Cops 'n' robbers should be a perfect setting for this frantic first-person shooter

Shelter 2

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

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

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