wed 05/08/2015

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

theartsdesk at Camp Bestival 2015

Thomas H Green

Camp Bestival 2015 was bathed in four days of glorious sun, a rare window of idyllic weather in this most cantankerous of summers. It took place, as it has since it began in 2008...

Prom 25: Orfeo, EBS, Gardiner

Alexandra Coghlan

English choirs and early music ensembles have a bad reputation for stiffness, formality – nothing wrong with the music, just the presentation. But with this dramatic and...

Splendour, Donmar Warehouse

Aleks Sierz

On contemporary stages, absence is a constant presence. This is very odd if you consider how corporeal and concrete theatre is. Unlike film, which is just light shining on a...

Marshland

Jasper Rees

Marshland is set on possibly the last section of the Andalusian coastline which doesn’t have high-rise condos planted all over it. Imagine the Kentish marshes of Great...

10 Questions for Eno Williams of Ibibio Sound Machine

Matthew Wright

Eno Williams is lead singer and composer of the band Ibibio Sound Machine, an eclectic fusion in which contemporary dance and synth are laid over classic Nigerian highlife rhythm...

theartsdesk at the New Horizons Film Festival

Demetrios Matheou

Wrocław is Poland’s fourth most populous city, once described as "The Venice of the North", due to its location on the River Oder, its tributaries and numerous bridges. That...

CD: Four Tet - Morning/Evening

Barney Harsent

There used to be a time when albums would regularly come in at around the 45-minute mark. It was pretty much the perfect...

Prom 24: BBCSSO, Runnicles

David Nice

You never quite know whether a new work by James MacMillan is going to veer towards the masterly or the overblown. His...

Hard to Be a God

Tom Birchenough

Don’t on any account be late for the first couple of minutes of the woolly mammoth that is Russian director Alexei German’s...

Dear Lupin, Apollo Theatre

Marianka Swain

A sterling case is made for the lost art of letter-writing in Michael Simkins’ dramatisation of Roger Mortimer’s missives to...

DVD: War and Peace

Tom Birchenough

Indian documentarist Anand Patwardhan is far less known outside his native country than he deserves to be, and his 2002 film...

Prom 23: Verdi's Requiem, BBCSSO, Runnicles

Alexandra Coghlan

A weekend of extremes at the Proms took us from stark solo Bach on Saturday to the massed forces of the BBC Scottish...

The Gift

Emma Simmonds

People who live in glass houses should be careful who they antagonise. That's the superficial starting point of The Gift,...

Southrepps Sinfonia and Soloists, Southrepps Festival

David Nice

It only takes one outstanding musician with links to an out-of-the-way place to gather his or her top-notch friends and give...

Cilla Black, 1943-2015

Adam Sweeting

The term "beloved entertainer" might have been coined with Cilla Black in mind. Her career trajectory, from a working-class...

CD: Frank Turner – Positive Songs for Negative People

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Sad singers never write truly happy albums, but Positive Songs for Negative People – and was there ever a title that so...

Prom 22: Piemontesi, Aurora Orchestra, Collon

Peter Quantrill

What would you expect of an ensemble performance played from memory? That the odd lapse, entirely understandable over the...

theartsdesk in Tuscany: Musical landscapes

Alexandra Coghlan

“Treeless and shrubless but for some tufts of broom, these corrugated ridges formed a lunar landscape, pale and inhuman.”...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Cocteau Twins

Kieron Tyler

Cocteau Twins: The Pink Opaque, Tiny Dynamine/Echoes in a Shallow BayThe current fad for all things vinyl is of course, in...

Prom 21: Alina Ibragimova plays Bach (II)

Alexandra Coghlan

While Friday night’s triptych of solo Bach began and ended in a sombre, contemplative place, the arc created for the second...

CD: Jill Scott - Woman

Joe Muggs

Jill Scott albums should, in theory, be a bit of a chore. Everything about them, this one included, is like listening to a...

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...

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...

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...

 

PROM 24: BBCSSO, RUNNICLES James MacMillan's new symphony holds a candle to Mahler's Fifth as the Scots triumph again

CD: FRANK TURNER - POSITIVE SONGS FOR NEGATIVE PEOPLE Positive mental anthems from folk-punk troubadour

DEAR LUPIN, APOLLO THEATRE Roger Mortimer's waspish letters are transposed into cosy semi-drama

DVD: WAR AND PEACE Nuclear weapons in India and Pakistan, and wider issues, in insightful doc

HARD TO BE A GOD Striking images, mystifying story make Alexei German's final film one-of-a-kind

disc of the day

CD: Four Tet - Morning/Evening

From dawn til dusk: Kieran Hebden's two-track tour of a day proves thoughtful and beautiful

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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

Cilla Black, 1943-2015

From cloakroom attendant at The Cavern club to national treasure

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

film

Marshland

Atmospheric Spanish crime thriller deserves its haul of awards

theartsdesk at the New Horizons Film Festival

A fledgling film festival in western Poland has quickly emerged as one of the most popular in Europe

Hard to Be a God

Striking images, mystifying story make Alexei German's final film a one-of-a-kind

new music

theartsdesk at Camp Bestival 2015

Rob da Bank's annual family fest explodes into life once again

10 Questions for Eno Williams of Ibibio Sound Machine

British-Nigerian singer and lyricist discusses blending highlife and Western music into a global sound

CD: Four Tet - Morning/Evening

From dawn til dusk: Kieran Hebden's two-track tour of a day proves thoughtful and beautiful

classical

Prom 24: BBCSSO, Runnicles

James MacMillan's new symphony holds a candle to Mahler's Fifth as the Scots triumph again

Prom 23: Verdi's Requiem, BBCSSO, Runnicles

A masterpiece of sacred intensity and secular drama

Southrepps Sinfonia and Soloists, Southrepps Festival

Some of the world's best young string players gather in a Norfolk village

opera

Prom 25: Orfeo, EBS, Gardiner

An operatic paean to the power of music

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

theatre

Splendour, Donmar Warehouse

Fine revival of Abi Morgan’s rarely seen play is well acted, and intriguing

Dear Lupin, Apollo Theatre

Roger Mortimer's waspish letters are transposed into cosy semi-drama

Bakkhai, Almeida Theatre

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

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

Corrected, thanks.

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