tue 24/05/2016

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

Love & Friendship

Alexandra Coghlan

Jane Austen’s early novel-in-letters Lady Susan has more in common with Vanity Fair or even Les Liaisons Dangereuses than it does with the author’s mature works. Austen’s familiar...

Sunken Cities: Egypt's lost worlds rediscovered

theartsdesk

In a gallery darkened to evoke the seabed that was its resting place for over a thousand years, the colossal figure of Hapy, the Egyptian god of the Nile flood, greets visitors...

Oedipe, Royal Opera

David Nice

"Unjustly neglected masterpiece" is a cliché of musical criticism, and usually an exaggeration. Romanian master Enescu's vast journey through aspects of the Oedipus myth seemed...

Human Animals, Royal Court Theatre

Aleks Sierz

As I sit down to write this, a crow is cawing outside my window while night falls; for an awkard moment I think it might be a raven, and this reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe. Is the...

Brighton Festival: Haçienda Classical, The Dome

Thomas H Green

Of all the nostalgia-fests, of all the retro events, those that involve rave culture have the wildest sense of glee. The atmosphere in the Dome tonight, before a note has even...

Prohaska, Eberle and Friends, Wigmore Hall

Sebastian Scotney

A quick plot summary might be required here, because how this programme of Schubert, Pergolesi and Webern came into being was far from obvious. Two young soloists, one a violinist...

Homefront: The Revolution

Steve O'Rourke

There are moments of real atmospheric oppression in this politically themed gun game. When you and your ragtag bunch of...

DVD: Spotlight

Jasper Rees

Journalism is not what it was and nor quite is the journalism movie. Spotlight is released as a home entertainment with a...

Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Glyndebourne

David Nice

"We're off to Glyndebourne, to see a ra-ther bor-ing op-ra by Rosseeeni," quoth songwriting wags Kit and the Widow. So here...

10 Questions for Musician Martin Fry

Adam Sweeting

It was in the long-ago year of 1982 that Martin Fry and ABC released The Lexicon of Love, a feast of addictively lush pop-...

St Ludmila, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Robert Beale

The Victorians liked their oratorios long and loud (most of the time), and when Dvořák wrote St Ludmila for the Leeds...

Wallander, Series 4, BBC One

Adam Sweeting

Having enjoyed so many Scandinavian dramas created in their own homelands, it feels like taking a step backwards to return (...

Alistair Beaton: 'If you’re bored, it’ll be my fault'

Alistair Beaton

It’s either serious or it’s funny. That’s a view I quite often encountered when working in Germany. A theatre professional...

Ibragimova, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

Gavin Dixon

Sakari Oramo devised a bold programme for the final concert of the BBC Symphony Orchestra season: a new work from a young...

CD: Death In Vegas – Transmission

Guy Oddy

Transmission fades in with “Metal Box”, a droning minimalist soundscape that evolves with a steadily building pulse that is...

theartsdesk radio show 14

Peter Culshaw

Another of Peter Culshaw’s peripatetic global radio shows. Star of this month's show is the Trinidadian Calypso Queen...

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses - Richard III, BBC Two

Matt Wolf

Benedict Cumberbatch, it turns out, was born to play the blasted, blighted Richard III, as one might expect from an actor...

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Glyndebourne

Alexandra Coghlan

A celebration of the power of words and music (leaving aside, briefly, that more troubling business about the Fatherland),...

Julian Clary, Touring

Veronica Lee

Truly, the older Julian Clary gets the filthier he becomes. As he warns us in almost the first line of The Joy of...

Antonia Bird: 'I get lumped together with Ken Loach'

Jasper Rees

Antonia Bird died in 2013 at the age of 62. The last television drama with her name on it was the first series of The...

BCMG, Galbreath, Adrian Boult Hall Birmingham

Richard Bratby

So this is the end of the Adrian Boult Hall, due to be demolished in a matter of weeks. And to be honest, all but the most...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Manic Street Preachers

Kieron Tyler

“Over the horizon they come; the anniversaries; joyous, arduous, remorseless.” The opening words of Stuart Maconie’s fine,...

CD: Leyla McCalla – A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey

Howard Male

Brave is the songwriter who sets a piece of classic poetry to music, never mind creates almost a whole album of such...

King John, Rose Theatre, Kingston

Ismene Brown

According to Sellar and Yeatman in 1066 and All That, the true Bible of English history, King John was a Bad (to...

 

THE HOLLOW CROWN: RICHARD III, BBC TWO Benedict Cumberbatch chills in a notably bleak account of Shakespeare's crook-backed king

ALISTAIR BEATON: 'IF YOU’RE BORED, IT’LL BE MY FAULT' The author of 'The Accidental Leader', one of five short plays at the Arts Theatre, admits his difficulty in distinguishing between comedy and tragedy

IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, GLYNDEBOURNE Musical brio and a fine cast undermined by loose directing

10 QUESTIONS FOR MUSICIAN MARTIN FRY The ABC mastermind on how he got his mojo back and finally made 'The Lexicon of Love II'

WALLANDER, SERIES 4, BBC ONE Agreeable scenery can't compensate for feeble plot and unconvincing characters

ANTONIA BIRD: 'I GET LUMPED TOGETHER WITH KEN LOACH' The uncompromising director to whom a new feature-length documentary pays tribute

disc of the day

DVD: Spotlight

Journalists are untarnished heroes in the Oscar-winning tale of the Boston Globe and the Catholic Church

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Brighton Festival

Brighton Festival: Brighton – Symphony of a City, Brighton Dome

A cinematic cross-section of life in London-by-Sea

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two at the 50th Brighton Festival!

Prize includes hotel, a meal and event tickets

DVD: Pink String and Sealing Wax

Sub-texts galore in grade-A Ealing melodrama

tv

Wallander, Series 4, BBC One

Agreeable scenery can't compensate for feeble plot and unconvincing characters

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses - Richard III, BBC Two

Benedict Cumberbatch chills in a notably bleak account of Shakespeare's crook-backed king

Antonia Bird: 'I get lumped together with Ken Loach'

The uncompromising director to whom a new feature-length documentary pays tribute

film

Love & Friendship

Kate Beckinsale shines in a stylish but uneven adaptation of Austen's early novella

DVD: Spotlight

Journalists are untarnished heroes in the Oscar-winning tale of the Boston Globe and the Catholic Church

Ivan’s Childhood

A film master’s first steps: reappraising Tarkovsky

new music

Brighton Festival: Haçienda Classical, The Dome

Despite an ill-balanced sound, the Mancunian orchestral/house music mash-up kicks off

10 Questions for Musician Martin Fry

The ABC mastermind on how he got his mojo back and finally made 'The Lexicon of Love II'

CD: Death In Vegas – Transmission

Richard Fearless returns with a minimalist electronica masterpiece

classical

Prohaska, Eberle and Friends, Wigmore Hall

A mix of European chamber musicians with some surprising limitations

St Ludmila, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Mancunian orchestra celebrates Dvořák with a revived oratorio, and more

Ibragimova, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

Eclectic but stimulating programme to close the BBCSO season

opera

Oedipe, Royal Opera

Tragedy transcended and patience rewarded in Enescu's epic myth

Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Glyndebourne

Musical brio and a fine cast undermined by loose directing

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Glyndebourne

This Meistersinger brings the camera in close for an unusually intimate drama

theatre

Human Animals, Royal Court Theatre

New drama about an ecological catastrophe is wildly imaginative and thought-provoking

Alistair Beaton: 'If you’re bored, it’ll be my fault'

The author of 'The Accidental Leader', one of five short plays at the Arts Theatre, admits his difficulty in distinguishing between comedy and tragedy

King John, Rose Theatre, Kingston

EU waverers should enjoy Trevor Nunn's production of a variable play about cynicism

visual arts

Sunken Cities: Egypt's lost worlds rediscovered

Forgotten for over 1,000 years, eerily evocative treasures take centre stage at the British Museum

Grayson Perry: All Man, Channel 4

More whimper than bang as insightful series on modern masculinity ends in the City

The Best of Photo London 2016

Our very own lensman gives the verdict on the UK's biggest photography fair

dance

Carlos Acosta: A Classical Farewell, Birmingham Hippodrome

On his retirement tour, Cuban superstar showcases the young, and proves he's still got it

Frankenstein, Royal Ballet

New ballet has lavish production values, but the story's stretched thin

BalletBoyz, Life, Sadler's Wells

Controversial choreographer Javier de Frutos fakes own death, steals show

comedy

Julian Clary, Touring

Filthy, funny chat from the 'renowned homosexual'

Marcus Brigstocke, Soho Theatre

Observational comic gets some gripes off his chest

Victoria Wood: 'Please could you repeat the question?'

She was the most gifted comedian of her generation, male or female

gaming

Homefront: The Revolution

Home isn’t where the heart is in this overly ambitious shooter

Battleborn

Chaotic, cartoony, co-operative carnage

Pathfinder Adventures

A clever card game that benefits from a digital makeover

Listed

Listed: Forget the Force
Star Wars wasn't the only groundbreaking film of 1977. We identify some others
The 11 Best Gigs on Film (after Stop Making Sense)
As Talking Heads' masterpiece is restored on disc, we hail the great screen concerts
Listed: The 100 Funniest Things about Downton Abbey
Julian Fellowes' juggernaut has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in six series. Here's how he did it

latest comments

Fabulous series brought to a stunning climax by a...

FULLY agree on all - ahem - counts. Was there...

@David: Doesn´t change the fact that the Ashcroft...

The author really used a thesaurus on this...

What a great cast and a fabulous show. Of course...

I agree. Give us better presenters please. Beauty...

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