sat 01/08/2015

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

An Open Book: Quentin Blake

Fisun Güner

Quentin Blake, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s author, has, to date, illustrated over 300 books. He is most famously associated with Roald Dahl, but he’s worked with a...

Ripper Street, Series 3, BBC One

Adam Sweeting

Axed by the BBC at the end of 2013 after its second series, ostensibly because of poor viewing figures, Ripper Street found a new home on Amazon Prime, where the third series...

Prom 19: Alina Ibragimova plays Bach

Alexandra Coghlan

I can’t be alone in often leaving a Proms violin concerto convinced that the Bach encore was the best bit. The Royal Albert Hall is a chameleon space, capable of dwarfing the...

CD: Julio Bashmore - Knockin' Boots

Thomas H Green

“Julio Bashmore” is actually the nom-de-dancefloor of Bristolian DJ-producer Matt Walker who’s been slowly building a rep over the last five years. Outside clubland, music-lovers...

Classical CDs Weekly: Steve Reich, Saint-Saëns, Cristina Pato

Graham Rickson

 Reich: Music for 18 Musicians Ensemble Signal/Brad Lubman (Harmonia Mundi)Playing Steve Reich's music demands incredible precision and accuracy. You wonder whether the ideal...

Bakkhai, Almeida Theatre

David Nice

This is the real Greek, bloody-fantastical thing. After the fascinating but flawed attempt to bring Aeschylus’s Oresteia into the 21st century, the Almeida has turned to a more...

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Adam Sweeting

Stepping in for Brad Bird, who helmed 2011's Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, director Chris McQuarrie has brought a...

Prom 17: Hallé, Elder

Peter Quantrill

Roger Wright may be gone from the BBC Proms, replaced for now by a committee, but his legacy lives on. His zeal to recover...

Bolshoi Ballet acid attack leader loses his job

Ismene Brown

Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet artistic director whose sight was maimed two years ago by an acid attack organized by a...

Of Thee I Sing, RFH

Matt Wolf

Satire may famously be what on Broadway closes Saturday night, but last night's concert performance of the Gershwin brothers...

Prune

Simon Munk

It begins so gently. Initially, Prune is a slow-paced and simple puzzle game – you stroke the screen to start growing a tree...

DVD: Quatermass

Kieron Tyler

Urban streets are littered with bodies. Barricades constructed from cars are ablaze. The national broadcaster works behind...

Prom 16: Late Night with Radio 1, Pete Tong

Matthew Wright

After years of pussyfooting around pop, hoping the Pet Shop Boys will write something in a passable classical idiom, the...

Shirley Baker, Photographers' Gallery

Florence Hallett

When a photographer is as little known as Shirley Baker, it is probably only natural that we scour her work for clues to the...

CD: Richard Fairhurst & John Taylor – Duets

Matthew Wright

With the sad news of John Taylor’s sudden death at the age of 72 following a heart attack during a performance at the...

First Person: Dear Lupin

Michael Simkins

When I got the call enquiring whether I’d like to adapt The Sunday Times Humour Book of the Year Dear Lupin for the stage,...

Prom 14: Prokofiev Piano Concertos

Gavin Dixon

Gergiev’s programme for this concert raised eyebrows when the Proms were announced: all five Prokofiev piano concertos,...

WOMAD 2015, Charlton Park

Peter Culshaw

Now was the summer of our disco tent. The disco tent in question backstage was not jumping as much as in previous years –...

WOMAD 2, Charlton Park

Mark Kidel

Trudging through the mud at last weekend’s WOMAD provided fleeting moments of random entertainment, as if surfing old-style...

Three Days in the Country, National Theatre

Aleks Sierz

The trouble with the classics is that they are long, complex and difficult. But today’s sensibility favours the quick,...

Philharmonia, Davis, Three Choirs Festival

Richard Bratby

In his memoir As I Remember Arthur Bliss is reticent about his experiences on the Western Front. He describes his “purely...

CD: 10.000 Russos - 10.000 Russos

Guy Oddy

There is something strange happening in mainland Europe at the moment. Perhaps this has been spurred on by a feeling that...

theartsdesk in Pärnu: Top players, great Estonians

David Nice

In 1989 Neeme Järvi, already rated one of the world’s top conductors and soon to be voted “Estonian of the Century” by his...

Life in Squares, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

London, 1905. For the Stephen siblings, setting up an independent household in Bloomsbury freed them – especially the...

 

PROM 16: LATE NIGHT WITH RADIO 1, PETE TONG Euphoric celebration of dance music let down by strange orchestration and sound issues

THREE DAYS IN THE COUNTRY, NATIONAL THEATRE Patrick Marber’s adaptation of Turgenev’s classic is fun, but lacks subtlety and profundity

WOMAD 2015, CHARLTON PARK World Music Fest gets muddy but Senegalese and systems folk group shine

BAKKHAI, ALMEDIA THEATRE Ben Whishaw's ambiguous Dionysos and operatic chorus serve superb Euripides translation

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION Fifth time around, and still nothing is impossible for Tom Cruise 

PROM 17: HALLÉ, ELDER Valuable Proms premiere for Vaughan Williams’ equivocal vision of utopia

BOLSHOI BALLET ACID ATTACK LEADER LOSES HIS JOB Sergei Filin's contract will not be renewed, and his post abolished

SHIRLEY BAKER, PHOTOGRAPHERS' GALLERY A forgotten photographer of the northern slums is rediscovered

disc of the day

CD: Julio Bashmore - Knockin' Boots

Bristolian house don's debut has its tasty moments

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 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 theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

We Made It

We Made It: Coracle Maker Malcolm Rees

We Made It heads to South Wales to discover a living craft tradition

We Made It: Stage Technician Tom Robinson

Peek behind the scenes with the set builder of the Young Vic's amazing mirrored box for Caryl Churchill's A Number

We Made It: Hauser & Wirth Somerset

Gallery director Alice Workman on housing contemporary art in the threshing barn

tv

Ripper Street, Series 3, BBC One

Pungent Victorian crime drama returns to network television

Life in Squares, BBC Two

The elaborate lives and loves of the exhaustingly self-obsessed Bloomsbury Group

Partners in Crime, BBC One

David Walliams and Jessica Raine have fun as amateur sleuths in updated Agatha Christie

film

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Fifth time around, and still nothing is impossible for Tom Cruise

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

DVD: Quatermass

The earnest 1979 TV series where Nigel Kneale’s professor bowed out

new music

CD: Julio Bashmore - Knockin' Boots

Bristolian house don's debut has its tasty moments

Prom 16: Late Night with Radio 1, Pete Tong

Euphoric celebration of dance music let down by strange orchestration and sound issues

CD: Richard Fairhurst & John Taylor – Duets

Collection of originals and adaptations bears witness to Taylor's understated brilliance

classical

Prom 19: Alina Ibragimova plays Bach

Sternly beautiful, Ibragimova's Bach is baroque at its most authentic

Classical CDs Weekly: Steve Reich, Saint-Saëns, Cristina Pato

A minimalist magnum opus and the grandest of French symphonies. Plus Spanish bagpipes

Prom 17: Hallé, Elder

Valuable Proms premiere for Vaughan Williams’ equivocal vision of utopia

opera

Bakkhai, Almeida Theatre

Ben Whishaw's ambiguous Dionysos and operatic chorus serve superb Euripides translation

Prom 11: Fiddler on the Roof, Grange Park Opera

Bryn Terfel's effortless Tevye hampered by amplification as the shtetl musical hits the Proms

Xerxes, Longborough Opera

Handel's Persian comedy in a nightclub done with great polish by young singers

theatre

Bakkhai, Almeida Theatre

Ben Whishaw's ambiguous Dionysos and operatic chorus serve superb Euripides translation

Of Thee I Sing, RFH

Sound issues all but scupper period satire

Six of the best: Theatre

A bit of everything in theartsdesk's stage tips

visual arts

An Open Book: Quentin Blake

From a biography of Rimbaud to Annie Proulx's collage-like prose, we delve into the celebrated illustrator's literary tastes and habits

Shirley Baker, Photographers' Gallery

A forgotten photographer of the northern slums is rediscovered

Alice Anderson, Wellcome Collection

The artist who wraps the world in gleaming copper wire – but to what end?

dance

Bolshoi Ballet acid attack leader loses his job

Sergei Filin's contract will not be renewed, and his post abolished

Matthew Bourne's The Car Man, Sadler's Wells

New Adventures company on sizzling form in revival of slick, exciting show

Cinderella, Wheeldon, London Coliseum

Dutch National Ballet give UK première of oddly modernised fairy story

comedy

Rob Delaney, QEH

Filthy but funny hour from the US comic

Tommy Tiernan, Soho Theatre

Delightful devilment from the Irishman

Nina Conti, Theatre Royal, Brighton

Wonderfully funny evening with a comedian-ventriloquist at the top of her game

gaming

Prune

A meditative and artistic puzzle game

Anna's Quest

Fairytale wanderings with a semi-comatose telekinetic - *Nnnnh!*

Her Story

The search bar as thrillingly brilliant videogame

Listed

Listed: Songs of Summer
From seaside nostalgia to a consumerist jihadi paradise, we list the sounds of summer
Listed: Precocious Writers
As the Royal Court introduces some very young playwrights, we celebrate the great child authors
Listed: Essential BBC Proms
Our classical writers choose 12 of the best

latest comments

Thanks for that. I think I may even have been...

Greg Hicks played Dionysus in Hall's production...

Very interesting article on Vertov's film. I saw...

Can't agree about the weakness of the Fourth,...

I was in the hall and endorse Gavin's excellent...

You'e right about the Arena Prommers, usually the...

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