thu 17/08/2017

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Saskia Baron
Thursday, 17 August 2017
No cliché is left unturned in this odd-couple action comedy. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson are the salt ‘n’ pepper rival bad-boys on the run. Cue shoot outs and high-speed...
Alexandra Coghlan
Thursday, 17 August 2017
Every play is a Brexit play. This much we have learnt in the year since the referendum. But in Nancy Meckler’s hands the Globe’s new King Lear becomes the Brexit play – an...
Barney Harsent
Thursday, 17 August 2017
Whether it’s the £400,000 that separates Mishal Husain from John Humphrys, or the 74 million miles between the metaphorical markers of Venus and Mars, there is a gulf between...
Veronica Lee
Thursday, 17 August 2017
Hannah Gadsby ★★★★This is Hannah Gadsby's last show, she tells us. Not because she has stopped being funny (she most definitely hasn't, as the laugh count in this show attests),...
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 17 August 2017
True to their name, Finland’s Man Duo are male and there are two of them. The better-known half is former Helsinki tram driver Jaakko Eino Kalevi. Born Jaakko Savolainen – the...
David Kettle
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
It was an intriguing, contrast-filled programme that Swiss-born pianist Andreas Haefliger brought to Edinburgh for his Queen’s Hall recital at the International Festival. Two...
Jasper Rees
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
The name will never trip off the public tongue. Millions watch his work - most recently his superb realisation of Hilary...
Thomas H Green
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
As a live phenomenon Gogol Bordello are unstoppable, a crowd-whipping Balkan-punk storm that sweeps venues away with them....
Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
A new plague is sweeping British theatre: audience participation. Instead of just sitting back and enjoying the show, your...
David Kettle
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Pike St ★★★★ London-based theatre company Paines Plough’s pop-up touring venue Roundabout has been a regular Edinburgh...
Markie Robson-Scott
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Christopher Rainey, aka "Quest" – his hip-hop name – lives with his wife Christine’a and their young daughter PJ in...
Veronica Lee
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
 Tom Allen ★★★★ Tom Allen is celebrating his 10th year at the Fringe, and he appears to be having a ball –...
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
There are lots of ideas bubbling away under the surface of The 5000 Fingers of Dr T. There would have been even more had the...
David Nice
Monday, 14 August 2017
So it was Rachmaninov night at the Proms, but with a difference: a trinity of works sacred and profane, the first two...
Christopher Shinn
Monday, 14 August 2017
Plays do not usually come into being in isolation. When I search my gmail archive I see that my first communication with...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 14 August 2017
 Kiri Pritchard-McLean ★★★★Appropriate Adult has an unlikely subject for comedy – Kiri Pritchard-McLean's work with...
Sarah Kent
Monday, 14 August 2017
I hate biopics about artists in which the portrayal of “genius” is hyped to the point where it becomes a ludicrous cliché....
Kieron Tyler
Monday, 14 August 2017
As the title and Seventies-style cover image indicate, Across the Multiverse is knowing. Though the “Across the Universe”...
Marina Vaizey
Sunday, 13 August 2017
The two haunting series of crime novels by Fred Vargas, the writing pseudonym of a French archaeologist and historian, have...
Jasper Rees
Sunday, 13 August 2017
The first thing to say is that this wasn’t the actual end. BBC Four scheduled I Know Who You Are to run two episodes a night...

CHRISTOPHER SHINN: 'I did not know if I would be alive and someone wanted me to write a play'

EDINBURGH 2017 ROUND-UP theartsdesk recommends the shows to catch

THE BEST FILMS OUT NOW We recommend the top movies of the moment

I KNOW WHO YOU ARE, BBC FOUR Gripping cliff-edge finale, but no one to root for

★★★★ FRED VARGAS: THE ACCORDIONIST The latest in 'The Three Evangelists' series is as quirky as ever

PETER KOSMINSKY: 'I'M A STUBBORN BASTARD' Q&A with the director of new C4 drama The State #longread

THE MAJORITY, NATIONAL THEATRE New play about democracy is entertaining, but too tricksy

LA BAYADERE, MARIINSKY BALLET Russians save the best till last in parade of delights

★★★★ QUEST Intimate documentary about a north Philly community

disc of the day

CD: Man Duo - Orbit

Uneven electropop outing from Finnish twosome

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 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 gift subscription?


No More Boys and Girls, BBC Two – baby steps lead to great leaps for children

A classroom becomes the first battleground for one doctor's war on gender bias

theartsdesk Q&A: Director Peter Kosminsky, Part 1

The State, his new drama about Britons joining ISIS, begins on Sunday. But who is the campaigning film-maker?

I Know Who You Are, series finale, BBC Four review - gripping, but no one to root for

The mystery of Juan Elías and Ana Saura is resolved, but there's plenty more to sort out. Contains spoilers


The Hitman's Bodyguard - potty-mouthed, turgid waste of talents

Formulaic high-end action movie fails to challenge Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds

The Best Films Out Now

theartsdesk recommends the top movies of the moment

Quest review - intimate documentary about a north Philly community

Jonathan Olshefski's film takes us into the heart of an African-American family

new music

CD: Man Duo - Orbit

Uneven electropop outing from Finnish twosome

CD: Gogol Bordello - Seekers and Finders

New York's globe-trotting gypsy punks do what they always do - with diminishing results

CD: Dent May - Across the Multiverse

Directness trumps the calculating on US singer-songwriter’s fourth album


Edinburgh Festival 2017 review: Andreas Haefliger

A recital that was both frustrating and visionary from the Swiss-born pianist

Proms 37 / 38 review: Latvian Radio Choir, Gavrylyuk, BBCSSO, Dausgaard - numinous Rachmaninov triptych

Symphony, concerto, chants and Vespers combine for a vintage night at Royal Albert Hall

Classical CDs Weekly: Sean Shibe, Morten Gunnar Larsen and Leonard Elschenbroich

English guitar repertoire, piano works from the Americas, plus 20th century French cello music


Prom 31 review: La Damnation de Faust, Gardiner - Berlioz tumbles out in rainbow colours

Youth in the choir and a youthful 74-year-old conductor spark a supernatural masterpiece

Prom 29 review: BBCSO, Bychkov - Musorgsky's Khovanshchina sears in concert

Superlative conducting and cast vindicate a drama of political chaos as a total work of art

Michael Volpe on a Requiem for Grenfell: 'one of the most remarkable evenings in our history'

Opera Holland Park's General Director on the company's response to losing a team member in the Grenfell Tower fire


Edinburgh Festival and Fringe 2017 reviews round-up
theartsdesk recommends the shows to catch this August
King Lear, Shakespeare's Globe - Nancy Meckler's Globe debut is unusually subdued
Kevin R McNally stars in a tragedy so quiet it proves almost inaudible at times
The Majority, National Theatre review – a minority interest
New play about democracy is entertaining, but a bit too tricksy


La Bayadère, Mariinsky Ballet review - a parade of delights

Russians save the best till last in lavish display of showmanship and art

Contrasts, Mariinsky Ballet review - company shows off range of its powers

Ekaterina Kondaurova the star as Russians display heritage and contemporary works at Royal Opera House

Swan Lake, Mariinsky Ballet review - Xander Parish lacks the spark of wildfire

Heritage company fail to set stage alight in good, but not great, performance at the Royal Opera House


Edinburgh Festival and Fringe 2017 reviews round-up

theartsdesk recommends the shows to catch this August

Edinburgh Fringe 2017 reviews: Hannah Gadsby / Suzi Ruffell / Ivo Graham / Athena Kugblenu

A possible valediction, class concerns, feeling the privilege, and millennial politics

Edinburgh Fringe 2017 reviews: Tom Allen / Cally Beaton / Lauren Pattison / Trumpageddon

A happy anniversary, neural pathways, an assured debut, and a deflated Trump


h.Club 100 Awards: Video games - you've come a long way, baby

From hit shows on Classic FM to bestselling novels, the influence of videogames stretches far beyond the confines of the screen

Enter theartsdesk's Young Reviewer of the Year Award

In association with The Hospital Club's h.Club 100 Awards, we're launching a new competition to find a brilliant young critic

Get Even review – good idea ineptly handled

The odds are stacked against you in this ambitious psychological thriller

visual arts

James Hamilton: Gainsborough - A Portrait review - an artistic life told with verve and enthusiasm

An original, chatty but scholarly biography of the great English artist

Matisse in the Studio, Royal Academy review - a fascinating compilation

Intriguing insight into the artist's relationship with his possessions

The Best Exhibitions in London

Giacometti, Picasso, Pink Floyd and more: our favourite shows to see now


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