sat 07/03/2015, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Classical CDs Weekly: Wim Henderickx, Mahler, Roger Woodward

Graham Rickson

 Wim Henderickx: Disappearing in Light HERMESENSEMBLE/Wim Henderickx (Hermesensemble) Flemish composer Wim Henderickx's music is a bewildering mixture of influences – of...

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Mark Stewart

Thomas H Green

Mark Stewart is the singer and a founding member of iconoclastic band The Pop Group, who reformed in 2010. He grew up in Bristol and, with The Pop Group, between 1978 and 1981,...

The Armour, The Langham Hotel

Marianka Swain

The Langham has marked its 150th anniversary in theatrical fashion by commissioning an original drama spanning several decades – and floors – from emerging company Defibrillator,...

Boy George and Culture Club: From Karma to Calamity, BBC Four

Barney Harsent

The title signaled what was coming so clearly, it may as well have been called When Bands End Badly: the two camps, the arguments and sniping and the eventual collapse of Culture...

Say Yes To Another Excess - TWERK, Sadler's Wells

Heidi Goldsmith

"The music will be loud" the slender usher warns on entry to altered natives' "Say Yes To Another Excess" - TWERK, as a Grime bassline shakes the flimsy theatre floor. She hands...

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Volume 3 - Nick Cave, Max Richter, Vessels, and more

Thomas H Green

Did you know there's a heated debate going on about “hot stampers”? As the resurgence in vinyl continues, there are those who wish to attribute value to their own knowledge and to...

Antigone, Barbican

Demetrios Matheou

Last year the London stage was treated to an electrifying Medea and an intelligent, refreshing Electra, at The National and...


Emma Simmonds

An innocent is corrupted in South African director Neill's Blomkamp's third feature (co-written with his wife Terri Tatchell...

Gift Horse, Fourth Plinth

Fisun Güner

The unveiling of the Fourth Plinth has, since his election to office, been an opportunity for Mayor Boris Johnson to work...

Banished, BBC Two

Jasper Rees

Another tough night in with Jimmy McGovern. Banished may have taken ship to 18th-century New South Wales, whither the first...

tUnE-yArDs, Royal Festival Hall

Katie Colombus

For the headliners of the Women Of The World Festival at London's Southbank Centre, there is less feisty feminism put on for...

Donohoe, BBCSSO, Prieto, City Halls, Glasgow

David Nice

Shock and Shakespeare were the two forces that powered a typically thoughtful programme from the BBC Scottish Symphony...

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood

Simon Munk

Skateboarding, in games and in movies, has always been presented as quite a laidback sport. This couldn't be further from...

White Bird in a Blizzard

Demetrios Matheou

Adolescence, youth culture and rebellion – often luridly and violently expressed – are the stocks in trade of American...

First Person: The Meaning of Mermaids

Polly Teale

As a child I was bewitched by the tale of The Little Mermaid. I had it on a record and would play it and sit and sob on the...


Tom Birchenough

We get the big city views of Chicago, the bright lights and the skyscrapers, a few times in Kim Longinotto’s Dreamcatcher,...

Mari Kvien Brunvoll, Kings Place

Heidi Goldsmith

Mari Kvien Brunvoll - Norwegian improviser, singer and composer - enters the Kings Place stage more like a pianist's page-...

Game, Almeida Theatre

Aleks Sierz

This venue is one of the coolest in London — and its regular audience is both trendy and well-heeled. In the foyer, you get...

Spectres, The Lexington

Barney Harsent

I first saw Spectres last October at the 10th birthday celebrations for their label, Sonic Cathedral. That night, they...

Inventing Impressionism, National Gallery

Marina Vaizey

Here is an exhibition that tells us how something we now take totally for granted actually came about: how our love affair...

Still Alice

Matt Wolf

Oscar winner Julianne Moore: the phrase has been a long time coming but it finally came true 10 days ago when the actress,...

Super-Powered Owls: Natural World, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

The owl – symbol of wisdom, harbinger of death – is a powerful if disparate symbol in human mythology worldwide. But...

Rattle for the LSO: great or just good news?

David Nice

Having manoeuvred to get a new concert hall for London earmarked in principle, Simon Rattle has finally agreed, as we...

Arthur and George, ITV

Matthew Wright

“Something strident and stirring – play to us now, please!” demands Martin Clunes’ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the piano-...


DREAMCATCHER Kim Longinotto's latest is a lacerating documentary of Chicago's mean street lives

GAME, ALMEIDA THEATRE Mike Bartlett’s new play about the housing crisis shoots from the hip

SPECTRES, THE LEXINGTON Unhinged assault on the eardrums from the Bristol four-piece

MARI KVIEN BRUNVOLL, KINGS PLACE Norwegian improvising vocalist travels through hit songs via the subconscious

STILL ALICE Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning turn lifts largely pedestrian film

INVENTING IMPRESSIONISM, NATIONAL GALLERY A fresh take: the commercial story behind the success of an avant-garde movement

disc of the day

CD: Marc Almond - The Velvet Trail

Marc Almond and LA songsmith very nearly create gold

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?

We Made It

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

We Made It: Set and Costume Designer Lise Marker

A multidisciplinary artist and Matthew Barney collaborator explains her craft


Boy George and Culture Club: From Karma to Calamity, BBC Four

Culture Club's return would be a sure-fire hit, if only they could nail the harmony

Banished, BBC Two

Jimmy McGovern's colonial convict drama grips from the off

Super-Powered Owls: Natural World, BBC Two

Incredible secrets of the airborne nocturnal predators


DVD: Pictures of the Old World

Evocative Slovak documentary memorably mixes sacred and secular


Neill Blomkamp's latest sci-fi actioner is a well-intentioned misadventure

White Bird in a Blizzard

Rising star Shailene Woodley is at the centre of a disappointing teen drama

new music

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Mark Stewart

The Bristolian songwriter talks suedeheads, semiotics, Roxy Music, William Blake, the return of the Pop Group and much more

CD: Marc Almond - The Velvet Trail

Marc Almond and LA songsmith very nearly create gold

Say Yes To Another Excess - TWERK, Sadler's Wells

Twitching rumps and UK grime are observed from an objective distance


Classical CDs Weekly: Wim Henderickx, Mahler, Roger Woodward

Flemish modernism, an epic symphony in a new guise and a handsome tribute to a veteran pianist

Donohoe, BBCSSO, Prieto, City Halls, Glasgow

Impressive, weighty Scottish debut by Brazilian conductor in Shakespeare-led programme

Rattle for the LSO: great or just good news?

Sir Simon finally committed to London post in 2017


Ruddigore, Charles Court Opera, King's Head Theatre

They can sing, dance and make you laugh until you cry: portmanteau G&S at its very best

Le Roi de Lahore, Chelsea Opera Group, QEH

Top quality operatic voices in first London performance of Massenet exotica since 1880

Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

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


The Armour, The Langham Hotel

Ben Ellis's site-specific chronicle deepens as it progresses

Antigone, Barbican

Juliette Binoche fails to shine as Sophocles’ heroine, in an otherwise fine production

First Person: The Meaning of Mermaids

The Shared Experience director discovers a fresh path into the underwater world of Hans Christian Andersen

visual arts

Gift Horse, Fourth Plinth

An equine skeleton with connections to the City takes up residence in Trafalgar Square

Inventing Impressionism, National Gallery

A fresh take: the commercial story behind the success of an avant-garde movement

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


Say Yes To Another Excess - TWERK, Sadler's Wells

Twitching rumps and UK grime are observed from an objective distance

Nómada, Compañía Manuel Liñán, Sadler's Wells

Style and showmanship aplenty from one of flamenco's innovators

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

Grimly majestic femininity steals the show at annual Spanish showcase


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


OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood

Twitchy skating game gets under your skin like road rash

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


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

latest comments

What a stupid review. There was nothing...

I agree with you the biggest load of crap I'd...

SOTW already done Oriental-style in 2007 by...

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

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

In depends on the specific traditions of that...


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