fri 23/06/2017

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Aleks Sierz
Friday, 23 June 2017
Can the theatre be a courtroom? A good public place to debate morality and to arrive at profound decisions. You could answer this with a history lesson that ranges from the...
Barney Harsent
Friday, 23 June 2017
Immigration…immigration… immigration… that’s what we need! Not the words of record-breaking, tap-dancing trumpeter Roy Castle, rather it’s the gist of a Times leader from 1853 (...
Graham Rickson
Friday, 23 June 2017
F Percy Smith was a maverick film-maker whose most important work was created in a house in suburban Southgate, North London. Born in Islington in 1880, he joined the Quekett...
Ismene Brown
Thursday, 22 June 2017
Recorded on disc, this cast would be extraordinary for much of the time — to look at, not so much. Royal Opera conductor Antonio Pappano lured Jonas Kaufmann to London for his...
Matt Wolf
Thursday, 22 June 2017
Do the makers of the essentially unnecessary Hampstead have a secret vendetta against north London and its citizenry? The thought occurred to me midway through Joel Hopkins's...
Marina Vaizey
Thursday, 22 June 2017
The marvellous National Gallery of Ireland, founded in the 1860s, has opened its doors to its brilliantly revamped, updated and expanded galleries. As a spectacular bonus in its...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 22 June 2017
Reviewed this month with the windows open, in weather hot enough to warp records, this month theartsdesk on Vinyl casts two...
Joe Muggs
Thursday, 22 June 2017
Gossip – the trio fronted by Beth Ditto from 1999 until last year – always felt a bit overshadowed by their 2006...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Opera-lovers coming to St Martin's Lane may feel confused to be confronted by an unrecognisable Coliseum, which now has huge...
Adam Sweeting
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Hugh Laurie, in his new role of forensic neuropsychiatrist Eldon Chance, tells us that he works with those who are “...
Gavin Dixon
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
The Paris-based Ensemble InterContemporain brought a wide-ranging programme to the Wigmore Hall. They are known as new music...
Aleks Sierz
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Donald Trump’s electoral success was, we have been told, fuelled by the anger of the American working class. But how do you...
Matthew Wright
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Sgt. Pepper is a popular choice for a tribute but also a dangerous one. How to say anything meaningful about a work widely...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
There has always been an air of incipient doom hovering over Ripper Street, since the show is more of a laboratory of lost...
Sarah Kent
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
“Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most...
Will Rathbone
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Hampstead Theatre Downstairs' habit of sending shows southward to Trafalgar Studios continues with Richard Bean's Kiss Me. A...
Guy Oddy
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
The Supersonic Festival is Birmingham’s annual gathering of the sonically weird and wonderful pitched at “curious audiences...
Kieron Tyler
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
A well-known internet sales site currently offers seven previous home cinema editions of The Bird With the Crystal Plumage....
Jasper Rees
Monday, 19 June 2017
Heaven alone knows we have pressing anxieties enough to preoccupy us, but if you the emotional bandwidth to accommodate more...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 19 June 2017
“So you wanna be an outlaw, better take it from me/ Living on the highway, ain't everything it's supposed to be” sings Steve...

★★★ HIR, BUSH THEATRE New American satire about families only occasionally hits the mark

THE BEST FILMS OUT NOW We recommend the top movies of the moment

★★★★ BAT OUT OF HELL, COLISEUM Jim Steinman's rockin' dystopia hits the stage

★★★ CHANCE, UNIVERSAL Hugh Laurie is reborn as a film-noir shrink

★★★★★ SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL 2017, BIRMINGHAM From meditative to psychotic and back again on the hottest weekend of the year

★★★ ENSEMBLE INTERCONTEMPORAIN, WIGMORE HALL Eccentricity inspires colour, nuance and slapstick from young composer Matteo Franceschini

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Minute Bodies - The Intimate World of F Percy Smith

Offbeat BFI celebration of a pioneering cinematic miniaturist

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Who Should We Let In? Ian Hislop on the First Great Immigration Row, review – how history repeats itself

The Private Eye editor's eye-opening examination of our attitudes to immigration, past and present

Ripper Street, BBC Two, Series 5 review – apocalypse looms in Victorian Whitechapel

Not so much a police series as a laboratory of lost souls


DVD/Blu-ray: Minute Bodies - The Intimate World of F Percy Smith

Offbeat BFI celebration of a pioneering cinematic miniaturist

Hampstead review - Diane Keaton deserves better and so does London

Wince-making romcom is pretty but preposterous

Coming soon: trailers to the next big films

Get a sneak preview of major forthcoming movies

new music

CD: Beth Ditto - Fake Sugar

Can Beth Ditto still cut it now she's no longer the Gossip girl?

CD: Django Bates - Saluting Sgt. Pepper

Jazz version of Beatles' anniversary hit offers glimpses of the sublime


Ensemble InterContemporain, Wigmore Hall

Eccentricity inspires colour, nuance and slapstick from young composer Matteo Franceschini

Classical CDs Weekly: Antheil, Debussy, Hosokawa, Schmidt

Symphonies from a self-styled 'bad boy', plus music from Austria, France and Japan

Kuusisto, London Chamber Orchestra, Ashkenazy, Cadogan Hall

Elegies abounding in Elgar and Sibelius, but the encore was the biggest tearjerker


Otello, Royal Opera review — Kaufmann makes a pretty Moor

New production of Verdi's tragedy is a trial to look at - and heaven to listen to

Pelléas et Mélisande, Garsington Opera review - brilliant but frustrating

Masterpiece of communication failure beautifully played and designed but impassively staged

Der Rosenkavalier, Welsh National Opera review - hard to imagine a stronger cast

Music conquers all in Strauss masterpiece, but the director gets some things right


Terror, Lyric Hammersmith, review – more gimmick than drama
Audience participation cannot save a trial that suffocates in abstraction
Hir, Bush Theatre review – transgender home is sub-prime
New American satire about families only occasionally hits the mark


Scottish Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - striking and memorable dance

Crystal Pite's 'Emergence' is a smart pick for the company

Sergei Vikharev, master ballet-reconstructor, 1962-2017

Sudden death at 55 of bold seeker after 'authentic' classical ballet

Ashton triple bill, Royal Ballet review – fond farewell to Zenaida Yanowsky

The prima ballerina bows out in 'Marguerite and Armand' as Akane Takada makes a lovely debut in 'The Dream'


Jeremy Hardy, Brighton Festival review - expert raconteur shows political bite

Radio 4 regular's conversational style masks a passionate pin-sharp topicality

Ricky Gervais, Touring review - chatty and relaxed riffing

Some very personal material among the edgy content

Ayesha Hazarika, Soho Theatre review - 'politics is her patch'

Former Labour adviser finds the funny in politics


Injustice 2 review - the even better sequel

A superhero soap opera with more twists and turns than a Netflix 12-parter

Prey review - environmental puzzles steal the show

In space no one can hear you... ponder a puzzle

theartsdesk at The Hospital Club

Announcing a new partnership with the most creative club in London

visual arts

The National Gallery of Ireland review - bigger and better

Dublin celebrates the reopening of its refurbished art gallery with Vermeer

Fahrelnissa Zeid, Tate Modern review - rediscovering a forgotten genius

How a major 20th century painter was erased from history

A Handful of Dust, Whitechapel Gallery review - grime does pay

From macro to micro, the seduction of dust knows no bounds

latest comments

An excellent review of an underwhelming film.

I liked the inconsistency (generally I like...

I was up in Tier 2 and the sound was awful, so...

Nearly all the participants had loving,...

Ismene - Critics often review an event through a...

It was dire. Two lots of Russian 'baddies'...

Considering it's literally at the ends of the...

After wathing all 10 episodes of this mini-series...


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