mon 02/03/2015

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

Pompidou, BBC Two

Veronica Lee

Judging by its early-evening slot and diddly-dee theme tune, Matt Lucas's latest project is aimed at family audiences – far removed from the wonderful ribaldry of Little Britain...

theartsdesk Q&A: Actress MyAnna Buring

Adam Sweeting

There came a moment, around three years ago, when MyAnna Buring suddenly seemed to be in everything. "I'm so sorry!" she shrieks (ironically) when I point this out to her. She had...

Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

David Nice

Mozart’s The Magic Flute is one of those operas, like Verdi’s Il trovatore and all the mature Wagner masterpieces, which need a line-up of equally fine singers but rarely get it...

theartsdesk in Calais: Simon Faithfull – To the Bottom of the World and Back

Sarah Kent

The sea is the theme uniting Simon Faithfull’s mid-career retrospective. It makes the port of Calais the perfect host for this splendid exhibition and, to put you in the mood,...

Three Men in a Boat, The Original Theatre Company, Touring

Ismene Brown

It’s a hostage to fortune really to create a play on one of the funniest books ever written, and a Victorian one at that. Still, Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat is regularly...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bridget St. John

Kieron Tyler

Bridget St. John: Dandelion Albums & BBC CollectionPigeonholing Bridget St. John is gratifyingly difficult. Although generally categorised as folk, her early albums actually...

Jazz for Labour, Barbican

Thomas Rees

Jazz and politics go way back. Throughout its history the music has been involved with underground resistance movements in...

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album, Courtauld Gallery

Florence Hallett

The sight of two old women fighting in the street would probably meet with roughly the same response from passers-by whether...

Benedetti, La Cetra, Saffron Hall

Sebastian Scotney

There's a whole fairytale backstory to be told here. The residents of Saffron Walden and the surrounding area still can't...

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Matt Wolf

The oldies are back at Jaipur's Marigold Hotel and they're looking like goodies, too, thanks to a British dame or two and an...

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, CBSO Centre, Birmingham

Stephen Walsh

You might imagine that composers in general would write songs. On my way to the BCMG’s programme of pieces from the songbook...

Lippy, Young Vic

Marianka Swain

How do we respond to a tragedy of infinite mystery? We investigate, we speculate, and we seek to impose meaning, to produce...

Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Birkin, Weinberg

Graham Rickson

 Bach: The Six Cello Suites Viola de Hoog (Vivat)Two hours of solo instrumental music may sound daunting. Bach's six...

Sculpture Victorious, Tate Britain

Marina Vaizey

Recent attitudes to Victorian Britain have changed radically. The popular view used to be of a period filled with a kind of...

The Indian Queen, English National Opera

Kimon Daltas

When Purcell died at just 36, he left The Indian Queen unfinished, which only adds to the usual problems of staging his "...

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1

Simon Munk

A shambling corpse, desperately gouging anything that comes near it for sustenance, a shadow of its former self. I'm not...

White God

Kieron Tyler

With a similar title to Samuel Fuller’s White Dog, White God, too, is an allegory on racism with a canine slant. Where the...

Extract: I've Always Kept a Unicorn: The Biography of Sandy Denny

Mick Houghton

Sandy Denny was well known within the folk world by 1968 (writes Kieron Tyler). Although the recordings were as-yet...

Man and Superman, National Theatre

Alexandra Coghlan

How do you take your rom-coms? Full-fat Hollywood schmaltz, Shakespearean, or lean and elegant – a Stoppard perhaps, or...

Wolf Hall, Series Finale, BBC Two

Jasper Rees

Wolf Hall divided viewers from the off. It mesmerised many and left a vocal minority cold, for whom apparently -...

The Mikvah Project, The Yard, Hackney

Jenny Gilbert

In the beginning was the Word and, not long after, came a need for ritual purification. “When Adam was banished from Eden,...

Picasso: Love, Sex and Art, BBC Four

Fisun Güner

So, Picasso’s last words turned out not to be, “Drink to me. Drink to my health. You know I can’t drink anymore” – yes,...

Romeo and Juliet, Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Mark Kidel

Teen spirit explodes time and time again in the intimate space of Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, with piercing electronic sounds...

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Aldwych Theatre

Matt Wolf

Stars continue to be born from Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Following on from the ongoing Broadway run of the show,...

 

BENEDETTI, LA CETRA, SAFFRON HALL The violinist's Vivaldi charms an appreciative audience in a bold new hall

SCULPTURE VICTORIOUS, TATE BRITAIN Technical innovation often coupled with meaningless extravagance

GOYA: THE WITCHES AND OLD WOMEN ALBUM, COURTAULD GALLERY Enigmatic works on paper, reunited for the first time since the Spanish artist's death

EXTRACT: I'VE ALWAYS KEPT A UNICORN: THE BIOGRAPHY OF SANDY DENNY Tables turned as Fairport Convention are auditioned by their new singer

LIPPY, YOUNG VIC An unconventional meditation on storytelling confounds

THE INDIAN QUEEN, ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA A colourful but eccentric production veers between beauty and incomprehensibility

THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL The expats are back in that rare sequel that betters its predecessor

disc of the day

CD: Emily Saunders - Outsiders Insiders

Latin rhythms mingle with a cool delivery and cerebral lyrics for a searching, substantial collection

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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

We Made It

We Made It: Furniture Designer & Maker Laszlo Beckett

The South London furniture maker talks lasers, skate-ramps and Coltrane

We Made It: Set and Costume Designer Lise Marker

A multidisciplinary artist and Matthew Barney collaborator explains her craft

We Made It: The Bogányi Piano

Acoustics and sculpture merge in the strange sci-fi structure of this new piano

film

theartsdesk Q&A: Actress MyAnna Buring

The Swedish-born doctor's daughter on her rapid rise from 'Kill List' and 'Twilight' to 'Downton', 'Ripper Street' and Jimmy McGovern's 'Banished'

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The expats are back in that rare sequel that betters its predecessor

DVD: Mr Turner

Superlative performances in Mike Leigh's ravishingly filmed hyper-biopic

tv

Pompidou, BBC Two

Few laughs in Matt Lucas's almost silent sitcom

theartsdesk Q&A: Actress MyAnna Buring

The Swedish-born doctor's daughter on her rapid rise from 'Kill List' and 'Twilight' to 'Downton', 'Ripper Street' and Jimmy McGovern's 'Banished'

Wolf Hall, Series Finale, BBC Two

Superb drama from another age reaches its chilling endgame

new music

CD: Emily Saunders - Outsiders Insiders

Latin rhythms mingle with a cool delivery and cerebral lyrics for a searching, substantial collection

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bridget St. John

Wallet-friendly compendium of one of Britain’s great singer-songwriters

CD: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday

Noel and his High Flying Birds aim for new heights without straying too near the Sun

classical

Benedetti, La Cetra, Saffron Hall

The violinist's Vivaldi charms an appreciative audience in a bold new hall

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, CBSO Centre, Birmingham

Woolrich's songbook asks important questions, and answers only some of them

Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Birkin, Weinberg

Baroque instrumental music, Soviet chamber symphonies and a brilliant fusion of words and music

opera

Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

Young lovers, a comic turn and paternal priest triumphant in Covent Garden staple

The Indian Queen, English National Opera

A colourful but eccentric production veers between beauty and incomprehensibility

Hansel and Gretel, Welsh National Opera

Fairytale masterpiece revived as a brilliant foodie fantasy

theatre

Three Men in a Boat, The Original Theatre Company, Touring

Jolly boating music-hall as Jerome K Jerome's silly asses barge down the Thames

Lippy, Young Vic

An unconventional meditation on storytelling confounds

Man and Superman, National Theatre

A theatrical trip to Hell has some heavenly moments

visual arts

theartsdesk in Calais: Simon Faithfull – To the Bottom of the World and Back

Online messages sent from elsewhere by an artist who loves the sea

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album, Courtauld Gallery

Enigmatic works on paper, reunited for the first time since the Spanish artist's death

Sculpture Victorious, Tate Britain

Technical innovation often coupled with meaningless extravagance

dance

Eva Yerbabuena/Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, Sadler's Wells

Grimly majestic femininity steals the show at annual Spanish showcase

Swan Lake, Royal Ballet

Marianela Nuñez's dream Odette/Odile distracts from hideous designs and score butchery

The Associates, Sadler's Wells

Crystal Pite's reworked duet pips premières from Kate Prince and Hofesh Shechter

comedy

Dracula! (Mr Swallow - the Musical), Soho Theatre

Nick Mohammed's daft but entertaining spoof musical

Kim Noble, Soho Theatre

Tender and playful show about love and loneliness

Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, Manchester Arena

Live stage version of the hit sitcom is great fun

gaming

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1

Action-oriented horror series gets snipped into formulaic episodes

Sunless Sea

Nautical misadventures abound in this cruel strategy game

The Order: 1886

Steampunk Victorian London shooter fails to engage

latest comments

Having watched Spiral, this in comparison is poor...

Having not seen this play, and extrapolating from...

In depends on the specific traditions of that...

That may well be so in this case, Mr Robb (I...

The ENO's Indian Queen, with its trite and...

Thank you, Romania, for ballerina Alina Cojocaru...

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