fri 09/10/2015, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

They say it's John's birthday


Not just a mere rock star but spiritual guru, peace campaigner, political icon, thorn in the flesh of Richard Nixon and the CIA, and ultimately martyr. John Lennon, who would have...

Unforgotten, ITV

Jasper Rees

The rule doesn’t always hold good, but in a television drama a fairly reliable kitemark of quality when the opening credits list the cast and you’ve heard of them. The title...

CD: Youssou N'Dour et Le Super Etoile de Dakar - Fatteliku

Mark Kidel

Athens, 1987: Youssou N'Dour opens for Peter Gabriel on a world tour. It's a wonder - and to his credit - that the British rock star should dare follow such a powerful performance...

Sebadoh, Ramsgate Music Hall

Barney Harsent

The three-toed sloth moves at a maximum – that’s maximum – of 10 feet per minute. It’s thought to be the slowest animal in the world. While on a train hugging the north Kent coast...


Emma Simmonds

"I just wanna know what I'm getting into," states FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), not unreasonably, as she heads blindly down the rabbit hole. She emerges into a lawless land...

Doctor Foster, Series Finale, BBC One

Veronica Lee

Revenge dramas are such a guilty pleasure - there's a vicarious thrill in watching a baddie being taken down in a way that we might wish to, but never would, in real life. And boy...

Eventide, Arcola Theatre

Sam Marlowe

His style is probably too subtle to be described as causing anything as noisily obtrusive as a splash, but Barney Norris’s...

Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind, Rainbow, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

“It’s good to be back in fucking Birmingham, but come a bit closer and let’s pretend it’s a rock ‘n’ roll gig,” called...

DVD: Sparrows Can’t Sing

Kieron Tyler

Sparrows Can’t Sing can be seen in many ways. The film, completed in 1962 and released to British cinemas in March 1963,...

10 Questions for Director Sarah Gavron

Demetrios Matheou

Director Sarah Gavron tends to make films with strong social content. Her TV movie This Little Life (2003) concerned a...

Raven Girl/Connectome, Royal Ballet

Jenny Gilbert

Wayne McGregor wasn't anyone's idea of a ballet man when he was appointed choreographer in residence at the Royal Ballet in...

Goya: The Portraits, National Gallery

Fisun Güner

The brute nature of man in times of war, religious persecution and hypocrisy, and the destructive power of superstition....

Red Army

Tom Birchenough

There’s a screen quotation late in this remarkable documentary that reads, “An outstanding athlete cannot belong totally to...

Barbarians, Central St Martins

Veronica Lee

Paul, Jan and Louis, three young men living in a gritty part of south London, are bored and broke and, for them, there are...

DVD: London Road

Jasper Rees

It’s a long old haul from the MGM musical to London Road. Alecky Blythe’s hugely original account of the murder in 2006 of...

The Father, Wyndham’s Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Dementia is an increasingly common theme in theatre, television and film. But although there are plenty of stories about old...

The Celts: Blood, Iron, and Sacrifice, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

Not a ray of sunshine illuminated the landscapes that were explored in this stormy programme, the first of a three-part...

CD: Caravan Palace - <I°_°I>

Matthew Wright

For a band that makes such a vivid and irresistibly danceable sound, Caravan Palace’s ascent – ten years and three...

Turner Prize 2015, Tramway, Glasgow

Fisun Güner

What’s going on? It seems the Turner Prize judges not only ran out of Scots to nominate this year, but actual artists. The...

The Wars of the Roses, Rose Theatre, Kingston

Heather Neill

At the press night curtain call for Richard III, about eleven-and-a half hours after the beginning of this anniversary three...

From Darkness, BBC One

Adam Sweeting

This is the first of two new TV series this week to feature a female police officer investigating the discovery of long-...

Johnston, RLPO, Petrenko, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Glyn Môn Hughes

If you’re going to employ tens of extra musicians for Strauss’s gigantic Alpine Symphony, it’s probably just as well that a...

Belcea String Quartet, Wigmore Hall

Sebastian Scotney

To keep a string quartet on the road for 20 years requires patience, devotion and staying power. Therefore the Wigmore Hall'...

CD: Mouse On The Keys - The Flowers of Romance

Joe Muggs

The Mule Musiq family of labels, from Tokyo, is one of the great secret goldmines of the dance music world. The house, disco...


GOYA: THE PORTRAITS, NATIONAL GALLERY So much drama and emotion - an exhibition that pulses with life

10 QUESTIONS FOR DIRECTOR SARAH GAVRON As Suffragette opens the London Film Festival, its director reflects on a group of women ahead of their time

RAVEN GIRL/CONNECTOME, ROYAL BALLET Plot holes gape, but Wayne McGregor's story ballet is a visual and aural feast

BARBARIANS, CENTRAL ST MARTINS Barrie Keeffe's work still has resonance nearly 40 years on

DVD: LONDON ROAD Alecky Blythe's documentary stage musical looks at home on the small screen

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We Made It

We Made It: Glassblowers Stephen Gillies and Kate Jones

The creative and life partners are inspired by their local North York Moors

We Made It: Bespoke bike-builder Jake Rusby

The former sculptor at the heart of Britain’s handmade bicycle boom

We Made It: Tin Man update the gamebook

The Melbourne-based company creating electronic nostalgia


Unforgotten, ITV

Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar lead stellar cast into the murky criminal past

Doctor Foster, Series Finale, BBC One

Gripping melodrama reaches its conclusion

The Celts: Blood, Iron, and Sacrifice, BBC Two

Lowering skies and endless storms in exploration of Celtic culture, history



Denis Villeneuve is at the helm and Emily Blunt at the fore of a brutal narco-war thriller

DVD: Sparrows Can’t Sing

A not-so-Swinging Sixties in Joan Littlewood’s comedic yet fiercely political critique of so-called progress

Red Army

Outstanding documentary on ice hockey and politics charts changing mood of Russia

new music

They say it's John's birthday

John Lennon was born 75 years ago. To blow out the candles we revisit everything we've ever said about John (and Yoko)

CD: Youssou N'Dour et Le Super Etoile de Dakar - Fatteliku

Live album from the Senegalese legend

Sebadoh, Ramsgate Music Hall

The US indie rock band played a small gig that gave a big return


Johnston, RLPO, Petrenko, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Massed Liverpool musicians climb Richard Strauss's mountain with aplomb

Belcea String Quartet, Wigmore Hall

Passionate Bartók, but misplaced bravura in Beethoven and Haydn

Total Immersion: Henryk Górecki, Barbican

The Polish composer well served by excellent performances but let down by poor programming


Kiss Me, Kate, Opera North

Brushed up Shakespeare in a sizzling new production

Salome, Bournemouth SO, Karabits, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Lise Lindstrom steals the show as a sensual Strauss anti-heroine in concert

Pelléas et Mélisande, English Touring Opera

A deft chamber arrangement makes for an unusually intimate production


Eventide, Arcola Theatre

Evocation of rudderless rural lives is beautifully staged

Six of the best: Theatre

A bit of everything in theartsdesk's stage tips

Barbarians, Central St Martins

Barrie Keeffe's work still has resonance nearly 40 years on

visual arts

Goya: The Portraits, National Gallery

So much drama and emotion - an exhibition that pulses with life

Turner Prize 2015, Tramway, Glasgow

Will the house renovators win? Or is it the Turner Prize that needs a makeover?

Ben Rivers: Earth Needs More Magicians, Camden Arts Centre

Where does freedom lie? Beautiful films that suggest ways to escape the humdrum life


Raven Girl/Connectome, Royal Ballet

Plot holes gape, but Wayne McGregor's story ballet is still a visual and aural feast

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Prog 2, Peacock Theatre

Balanchine and Cunningham get the Trocks treatment in second London bill

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Peacock Theatre

Petipa remains the style guru as the boys en pointe keep it classical


Alan Carr, Touring

Businesslike show from the Chatty Man

Sam Simmons, Soho Theatre

London run for the Edinburgh Comedy Award winner

Kevin Bridges, Hammersmith Apollo

Otherwise polished young stand-up gets irritated with the audience and stomps off



Tiny dungeons on your phone, done well


Short bursts of fun, but playing for free is a long haul

The Deer God

Live as a deer. Survive as a deer. Fall off tiny ledges... as a deer


They say it's John's birthday
John Lennon was born 75 years ago. To blow out the candles we revisit everything we've ever said about John (and Yoko)
Listed: The Best Mountain Movies
As Everest opens, theartsdesk dons crampons to clamber among the cinematic peaks
Listed: Back To School
Music and school - is it all about repression? We count the musical opinions

latest comments

On the contrary, I admire the earlier programmes...

what a great gig review! thank you

It's a little sad that Heather Neill doesn't also...

I just loved the delight on Alice's face when she...

You do rather wonder whether Matthew Wright has a...

Not a ray of sunshine is right. The entire...


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