fri 22/05/2015

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

The New Girlfriend

Nick Hasted

François Ozon’s sly fascination with radical family units takes another, surprisingly gentle twist here. Based on a Ruth Rendell story but equally inspired by French protests...

Poliuto, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Alexandra Coghlan

Fashion is a funny thing, in opera no less than the sartorial trappings that go with it (everything from tight, hipster trews to billowing ballgowns at last night's Glyndebourne...

Benjamin Clementine, Theatre Royal, Brighton

Thomas H Green

Benjamin Clementine’s idea of repartee with the audience is producing a clementine orange and smiling shyly. Clad in his trademark greatcoat-over-naked chest, with bare feet and...

Peter Pan, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Marianka Swain

“All children, except one, grow up.” So begins J. M. Barrie’s iconic tale of arrested development, given new power and poignancy in this high-flying production. A century after...

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Simon Munk

In short, Game Of Thrones the videogame. The Witcher 3 sees this epic role-playing fantasy series truly rival its key competitor, the Elder Scrolls series. The Witcher 3...

Corin Sworn: Max Mara Art Prize for Women, Whitechapel Gallery

Sarah Kent

Glasgow-based Corin Sworn is the fifth winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Every two years a British artist is chosen on the basis of a proposal, rather than existing work...

McQueen, St James Theatre

Matt Wolf

"You make clothes that make the darkness in me matter": If such an accolade strikes you as profound, make a beeline for...

Carmen, English National Opera

David Nice

Crotch-grabbing, suggestions of oral and anal sex, stylized punching and kicking and other casual violence offer diminishing...

The Joey Arias Experience, Theatre Royal, Brighton

Matthew Wright

Brighton whooped as if she had never seen risqué entertainment last night, as cabaret veteran Joey Arias brought his Billie...

As You Like It, Shakespeare's Globe

Marianka Swain

The Forest of Arden takes many forms, but in Blanche McIntyre’s meticulously purist production, it’s strictly a state of...

L'Oublié(e)/The Forgotten, Brighton Dome

Thomas H Green

Those expecting an evening at the circus tonight, such as L’Oublié(e)’s advertising hinted at, were in for a shock. I saw a...

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Kieron Tyler

A skateboarding female vampire in a striped Brêton top. A James Dean look-alike with a junkie father. A prostitute as...

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, RFH

Matt Wolf

Frank Loesser seems to be known in Britain for one show and one show only, which seems a shame given that the composer-...

Flavia Coelho, Rich Mix

Peter Culshaw

Flavia Coelho once told me her parents in the favelas of Rio put an aluminium bucket over her head as the only way to calm...

Nina Conti, Theatre Royal, Brighton

Thomas H Green

“Two-and-a-half hours? That’s one hell of a long puppet show,” said a friend. We had, however, read the Brighton Festival...

Edmund de Waal: I Placed a Jar, Brighton Festival

Florence Hallett

What strange things netsuke are. Tiny sculptures, usually made from wood or ivory and depicting anything from figures, to...

Parsifal, CBSO, Nelsons, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Peter Quantrill

This was a very "concert" performance indeed. Across the stage music stands stood like sentinels lest any rash singer...

Tough & Tender: Sheila Rock's English Seascapes

Sheila Rock

I had never really photographed landscape. But I spent many wonderful weekends in Suffolk and Norfolk along the coast. This...

Leçons de Ténèbres, Devine, St John's Smith Square

Sebastian Scotney

This penultimate night of the London (formally Lufthansa) Festival of Baroque Music brought beautiful, intelligent, superbly...

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, BBC One

Fisun Güner

If it’s about magic, and features sanitised cobbled streets and dark gothic interiors, then Harry Potter comparisons will no...

10 Questions for Actress Pippa Bennett-Warner

Marianka Swain

At just 26, Pippa Bennett-Warner has already achieved many actors’ goals, from treading the boards at the National and...

Il Trovatore, Scottish Opera

David Kettle

"The darkness deceived me," sings Leonora in Act I as she mistakenly rushes into the arms of the Count di Luna, rather than...

Periplum 451, Preston Barracks, Brighton

Thomas H Green

Free events at celebratory citywide occasions such as the Brighton Festival are a mixed blessing. Unfortunately, the fact...

1864, BBC Four

Jasper Rees

They must have run out of contemporary Danes to bump off, or coalition governments to form. 1864 is something completely...

 

NINA CONTI, THEATRE ROYAL, BRIGHTON Wonderfully funny evening with a comedian-ventriloquist at the top of her game

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, RFH Frank Loesser musical classic is charming, funny... and long

MICHAEL FABIANO Now singing Donizetti's Poliuto at Glyndebourne, the American tenor gave an in-depth interview to theartsdesk last year

MCQUEEN, ST JAMES THEATRE An excellent Stephen Wight can't salvage torpid bioplay

TOUGH & TENDER: SHEILA ROCK'S ENGLISH SEASCAPES A photographer's beach journey

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT Style over substance in the supposed 'first Iranian vampire Western'

CARMEN, ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA Broad brushstrokes and big voices in Calixto Bieito's pacey but half-cooked Bizet

disc of the day

DVD: Germany Pale Mother

A rediscovered German classic about a mother and child's wartime bond

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We Made It

We Made It: Rebecca Salter RA

The British artist talks about a life inspired by traditional Japanese crafts

We Made It: Artist Joseph Popper

Drones, space capsules and set-building as fine art

We Made It: Candle Maker Ted Thompson

From Cumbria to the Globe, it's Ted's beeswax

tv

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, BBC One

An adaptation that feels like a children's drama dressed up in adult clothes

1864, BBC Four

Epic Danish drama about the human cost of nationalism

Je t'aime: The Story of French Song, BBC Four

An ode to 'la chanson française' that proved a fascinating lesson in love

film

The New Girlfriend

A touching transvestite romcom from François Ozon

DVD: Germany Pale Mother

A rediscovered German classic about a mother and child's wartime bond

DVD: Birdman

Oscar champ stars Michael Keaton as a Hollywood Icarus braving Broadway heat

new music

Benjamin Clementine, Theatre Royal, Brighton

One man, one woman, on piano and cello, wow Brighton into silence

The Joey Arias Experience, Theatre Royal, Brighton

Iconic New York cabaret singer is witty, tender, and very rude

Flavia Coelho, Rich Mix

Brazil's latest big-haired export knocks it out of the park live

classical

Leçons de Ténèbres, Devine, St John's Smith Square

Divine singing which deserves to be recorded

The Creation, SCO, Christophers, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Space and light in a radiant telling of Haydn's The Creation

Connolly, West, BBCSO, Davis, Barbican

Masterful Berlioz and the valuable revival of a war requiem. No, not that one...

opera

Poliuto, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Donizetti gets Glyndebourne's season off to a sober and psychological start

Carmen, English National Opera

Broad brushstrokes and big voices in Calixto Bieito's pacey but half-cooked Bizet

Parsifal, CBSO, Nelsons, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Much-loved music director begins his long goodbye with Wagner's ritual drama

theatre

Peter Pan, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Eloquent wartime reimagining of Barrie's play is a magical experience

McQueen, St James Theatre

An excellent Stephen Wight can't salvage torpid bioplay

As You Like It, Shakespeare's Globe

Warmly traditional Shakespeare needs more theatrical magic

visual arts

Corin Sworn: Max Mara Art Prize for Women, Whitechapel Gallery

Impostors and stolen identities explored in an installation inspired by the Commedia dell’Arte

Edmund de Waal: I Placed a Jar, Brighton Festival

The ceramic artist and author talks about pots, words and the burden of memory

Tough & Tender: Sheila Rock's English Seascapes

Best known for her punk portraits, the American photographer introduces a gallery of images from a very different love letter to England

dance

Dark Arteries, Rambert, Sadler's Wells

Brass band the highlight of new triple bill

Woolf Works, Wayne McGregor, Royal Ballet

Leaden score and ponderous choreography do an injustice to Bloomsbury author's name

theartsdesk Q&A: Composer Gavin Higgins

Rambert Dance Company's inaugural Music Fellow discusses his new ballet score

comedy

Nina Conti, Theatre Royal, Brighton

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

Alex Horne: Monsieur Butterfly, Soho Theatre

Playful show during which the comic builds his own set

Panti: High Heels in Low Places, Soho Theatre

Drag artist tells her charming and funny story

gaming

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

A beautifully detailed fantasy world to lose yourself in

Project CARS

Racing simulation puts choice over personality

Westerado: Double Barreled

Manifest destiny... for a few pixels more

Listed

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

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