tue 21/10/2014

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

The Scottsboro Boys, Garrick Theatre

Edward Seckerson

You come away from The Scottsboro Boys sure of two things: that the next cakewalk you hear will induce queasiness and that the show's director/choreographer Susan Stroman is some...

The Way He Looks

Tom Birchenough

Falling in love for the first time is one of the standard tropes of the movies. Brazilian director Daniel Ribeiro gives it a new twist by making the teenage hero of his The Way He...

Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World, Globe Theatre

Sarah Kent

On Saturday at Shakespeare’s Globe, the Alternative Miss World was staged for the 13th time. Having launched this gloriously tacky event in his Hackney studio in 1972, artist...

Witches and Wicked Bodies, British Museum

Florence Hallett

Wicked women have always sold well, but more than that, they have fired the artistic imagination in a quite exceptional way. Exploring the depiction of the witch from the 15th to...

The House That Will Not Stand, Tricycle Theatre

Marianka Swain

Bigger is better in the Tricycle’s latest piece of reclaimed black history. African-American writer Marcus Gardley’s stimulating play, which transports Lorca’s The House of...

Storyville: Russia's Toughest Prison - The Condemned, BBC Four

Tom Birchenough

The initial challenge – and there should be no underestimating the scale of it – of Nick Read’s documentary Russia's Toughest Prison - The Condemned must have been getting into a...

LFF 2014: Germany, Pale Mother

Nick Hasted

When can Nazi Germany be humanised? Never, many German critics believed on Germany, Pale Mother’s 1980 release, when it was...

This Is Where I Leave You

Veronica Lee

Normally in Hollywood films, adult siblings being forced to spend time together is Thanksgiving-related, but in Shawn Levy's...

theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Jonathan Nott

David Nice

When I entered the light and spacious chief conductor’s room in Bamberg’s Konzerthalle, Jonathan Nott was poised with a...

Gypsy, Chichester Festival Theatre

Edward Seckerson

There’s a moment of stunned silence in Imelda Staunton’s storming Mama Rose at the Chichester Festival Theatre, a long, long...

The spooky and the bold in the art of contemporary China

Mark Sheerin

In China there are more than 100 million fans of Manchester United. At least that’s what I’m told when I get to the the city...

LFF 2014: Winter Sleep

Nick Hasted

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner is an epic chamber piece by a contemporary great. From the moment a stone...

Schama on Rembrandt: Masterpieces of the Late Years, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

The chatty, loquacious, exuberant Simon Schama, whose seminal 1987 book on Holland in the 17th century, The Embarrassment of...

Ashton Mixed Bill, Royal Ballet

Hanna Weibye

This morning, those who follow ballet on both sides of the Atlantic might be feeling a bit like the male soloists at the...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Madness

Kieron Tyler

 Madness: One Step Beyond - 35th Anniversary EditionLast time One Step Beyond was reissued on CD, for its 30th...

LFF 2014: Margarita, With A Straw

Karen Krizanovich

In the vein of My Left Foot, Inside I’m Dancing and Gaby: A True Story, Margarita, With A Straw focuses on living a full...

Richard Serra, Gagosian Gallery

Marina Vaizey

The septuagenarian American sculptor Richard Serra can treat the most massive sheets of steel as though they are handy...

Our Town, Almeida Theatre

Matt Wolf

A template of the American theatre gets dusted off to quietly devastating effect in Our Town, the 1938 Thornton Wilder play...

Life on the Moon, English Touring Opera

David Nice

You may be more familiar with the Italian title, Il mondo della luna, but chances are you won’t have seen this or any of...

Shadows of War, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

Another week, another war commemorative; it’s the story of all the arts in 2014. But – because you can always rely on David...

Classical CDs Weekly: Mahler, Poulenc, Orbert Davis

Graham Rickson

 Mahler: Symphony no 9 Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Michael Schønwandt (Challenge Classics)The halting, juddering...

Sandra Nkaké and Jî Drû, Pizza Express Jazz Club - "mesmerising, leonine"

Matthew Wright

A first live experience of the French-Cameroonian singer Sandra Nkaké leaves many questions unanswered. Once the immediate...

LFF 2014: A Little Chaos

Matt Wolf

Alan Rickman returns to film directing 17 years after he first stepped behind the camera with a film as pulpy and bodice-...

LFF 2014: Foxcatcher

Karen Krizanovich

There is loud Oscar talk surrounding the stellar performance by Steve Carell in director Bennett Miller’s genuinely...

 

GYPSY, CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE Imelda Staunton gives the performance of the year in possibly the show of the year

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU Amusing and truthful comedy drama about adult siblings

THE ARTS DESK Q&A: CONDUCTOR JONATHAN NOTT An Englishman abroad on balancing Mahler and Strauss with contemporary music

REISSUE CDS WEEKLY: MADNESS Yet another reappearance of the Nutty Boys’ debut album

STORYVILLE: RUSSIA'S TOUGHEST PRISON - THE CONDEMNED, BBC FOUR Nick Read's long-stretch documentary on remote Russian prison life

ASHTON MIXED BILL, ROYAL BALLET Symphonic Variations is the highlight among fine works by supreme British choreographer

disc of the day

DVD: Blacula - The Complete Collection

Surprisingly straight Blaxploitation with fangs

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

Listed

Listed: theartsdesk's Greatest Hits
To celebrate theartsdesk's fifth birthday, we share your favourite reads
Listed: The laughter and tears of Robin Williams
From Mork to mawkish, the clips that define a brilliant career
Listed: 10 Mozart Operas You've Never Heard (of)
As La finta giardiniera comes to Glyndebourne, we've got the pick of Mozart's lesser-known operas

six of the best

Six of the best: Theatre

Kings, kids and singing despots: a bit of everything in theartsdesk's tips

Six of the best: Art

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

film

The Way He Looks

Gentle Brazilian gay adolescent drama rings stronger that its story suggests

DVD: Blacula - The Complete Collection

Surprisingly straight Blaxploitation with fangs

This Is Where I Leave You

Amusing and truthful comedy drama about adult siblings

tv

Storyville: Russia's Toughest Prison - The Condemned, BBC Four

Nick Read's long-stretch documentary on remote Russian prison life

Schama on Rembrandt: Masterpieces of the Late Years, BBC Two

Simon Schama campaigns and entertains, but does he explain?

The Great Fire, ITV

ITV's historical drama is long on intrigue but short on action

new music

CD: Scott Walker + Sunn O))) - Soused

One pair of hands is uppermost in this collaboration

Reissue CDs Weekly: Madness

Yet another reappearance of the Nutty Boys’ debut album

CD: Slipknot - .5: The Gray Chapter

Iowan metallers let the masks slip on long-awaited fifth album

classical

theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Jonathan Nott

An Englishman abroad on balancing Mahler and Strauss with contemporary music

Classical CDs Weekly: Mahler, Poulenc, Orbert Davis

Viennese music from Denmark, effervescent ballet scores transcribed for piano, and a 1960s classic gets a reboot

Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall

A standing ovation for a great artist's interpretation of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations

opera

theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Jonathan Nott

An Englishman abroad on balancing Mahler and Strauss with contemporary music

Life on the Moon, English Touring Opera

Costumes, conductor and star tenor keep this mundane Haydn opera afloat

The Marriage of Figaro, English National Opera

Fiona Shaw's Mozart makes a joyous return to the Coliseum

theatre

The Scottsboro Boys, Garrick Theatre

Kander & Ebb's startling, stirring musical gets a West End upgrade

Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World, Globe Theatre

The delightfully shambolic talent show that's become a national treasure

The House That Will Not Stand, Tricycle Theatre

A key moment in American race relations inspires a richly ambitious new drama

visual arts

Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World, Globe Theatre

The delightfully shambolic talent show that's become a national treasure

Witches and Wicked Bodies, British Museum

From classical antiquity to the Victorian era, witches have held artists under their spell

The spooky and the bold in the art of contemporary China

Asia Triennial Manchester showcases the biggest exhibition of contemporary art from south of the Great Wall

dance

Ashton Mixed Bill, Royal Ballet

Symphonic Variations is the highlight among fine works by supreme British choreographer

Shadows of War, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Atmospheric revival of 1944 Miracle in the Gorbals, the centrepiece of an unusual triple bill

Bosque Ardora, Rocío Molina, Barbican

Flamenco innovator presents a woodland realm to remember

comedy

Paul Daniels, Touring

Expertly executed magic tricks with old-school humour

Lee Evans, O2 Arena

No amount of fart gags and racing about can hide the cobwebs on these jokes

Luisa Omielan, Soho Theatre

Joyous and raucous hymn to modern womanhood

gaming

The Swapper

Clone-killing puzzle game asks what your soul looks like…

Hellraid: The Escape

Hellish puzzles with lashings of gore

Alien: Isolation

Stealth and horror mix in this often unnerving resurrection of the iconic enemy…

latest comments

Oh no, me neither: it's not your failing. I was...

This review is excellent and shows a deep...

Yeah, spot on, it was brilliant. The world of the...

But that's the thing, John: by the end of it I...

Well, Roger, it's certainly not bad. The real...

I've been waiting for a decent production, well...

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters