tue 03/03/2015

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

10 Questions for filmmaker Desiree Akhavan

Demetrios Matheou

New filmmakers often suffer an unhelpful onslaught of comparisons and labels. Yet Desiree Akhavan offers so many options as to deflect all of them – counter measures against the...

The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco, Gate Theatre

Marianka Swain

The quest for liberation is popular dramatic terrain, but the Gate Theatre’s ‘Freedom Burning’ season shifts focus to the aftermath. What do you do when the fight is over, and how...

Arthur and George, ITV

Matthew Wright

“Something strident and stirring – play to us now, please!” demands Martin Clunes’ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the piano-playing vicar’s wife, on apprehending that their...

We Made It: Fashion Designer Anna Skodbo

Simon Munk

Anna Skodbo's route to designing her ethical, environmental and "crosstown" fashion brand Phannatiq has hardly been ordinary. From teaching martial arts, to living on rice and...

theartsdesk Q&A: Actress MyAnna Buring

Adam Sweeting

There came a moment, around three years ago, when MyAnna Buring suddenly seemed to be in everything. "I'm so sorry!" she shrieks (ironically) when I point this out to her. She had...

Le Roi de Lahore, Chelsea Opera Group, QEH

David Nice

Now that opera houses mostly lack either the will or the funds to stage the more fantastical/exotic pageants among 19th century operas – the Royal Opera production of Meyerbeer’s...

Nómada, Compañía Manuel Liñán, Sadler's Wells

Hanna Weibye

"Sprung from pure flamenco, Manuel Liñán exudes purity from himself and his dance - he is life, freshness and passion."...

Pompidou, BBC Two

Veronica Lee

Judging by its early-evening slot and diddly-dee theme tune, Matt Lucas's latest project is aimed at family audiences – far...

BBCSO, Segerstam, Barbican

Peter Quantrill

The BBC Radio 3 announcer came on stage to introduce the concert and promised us "the 100 minutes" of Bruckner’s Eighth...

Appropriate Behaviour

Tom Birchenough

There’s an engaging, indie sense of emotional flux in writer-director Desiree Akhavan’s feature debut Appropriate Behaviour...

Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

David Nice

Mozart’s The Magic Flute is one of those operas, like Verdi’s Il trovatore and all the mature Wagner masterpieces, which...

theartsdesk in Calais: Simon Faithfull – To the Bottom of the World and Back

Sarah Kent

The sea is the theme uniting Simon Faithfull’s mid-career retrospective. It makes the port of Calais the perfect host for...

Three Men in a Boat, The Original Theatre Company, Touring

Ismene Brown

It’s a hostage to fortune really to create a play on one of the funniest books ever written, and a Victorian one at that....

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bridget St. John

Kieron Tyler

Bridget St. John: Dandelion Albums & BBC CollectionPigeonholing Bridget St. John is gratifyingly difficult. Although...

Jazz for Labour, Barbican

Thomas Rees

Jazz and politics go way back. Throughout its history the music has been involved with underground resistance movements in...

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album, Courtauld Gallery

Florence Hallett

The sight of two old women fighting in the street would probably meet with roughly the same response from passers-by whether...

Benedetti, La Cetra, Saffron Hall

Sebastian Scotney

There's a whole fairytale backstory to be told here. The residents of Saffron Walden and the surrounding area still can't...

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Matt Wolf

The oldies are back at Jaipur's Marigold Hotel and they're looking like goodies, too, thanks to a British dame or two and an...

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, CBSO Centre, Birmingham

Stephen Walsh

You might imagine that composers in general would write songs. On my way to the BCMG’s programme of pieces from the songbook...

Lippy, Young Vic

Marianka Swain

How do we respond to a tragedy of infinite mystery? We investigate, we speculate, and we seek to impose meaning, to produce...

Classical CDs Weekly: Bach, Birkin, Weinberg

Graham Rickson

 Bach: The Six Cello Suites Viola de Hoog (Vivat)Two hours of solo instrumental music may sound daunting. Bach's six...

Sculpture Victorious, Tate Britain

Marina Vaizey

Recent attitudes to Victorian Britain have changed radically. The popular view used to be of a period filled with a kind of...

The Indian Queen, English National Opera

Kimon Daltas

When Purcell died at just 36, he left The Indian Queen unfinished, which only adds to the usual problems of staging his "...

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1

Simon Munk

A shambling corpse, desperately gouging anything that comes near it for sustenance, a shadow of its former self. I'm not...

 

CD: NOEL GALLAGHER'S HIGH FLYING BIRDS – CHASING YESTERDAY Noel and his High Flying Birds aim for new heights without straying too near the Sun

THREE MEN IN A BOAT, THE ORIGINAL THEATRE COMPANY, TOURING Jolly boating music-hall as Jerome K Jerome's silly asses barge down the Thames

EXTRACT: I'VE ALWAYS KEPT A UNICORN: THE BIOGRAPHY OF SANDY DENNY Tables turned as Fairport Convention are auditioned by their new singer

BENEDETTI, LA CETRA, SAFFRON HALL The violinist's Vivaldi charms an appreciative audience in a bold new hall

THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL The expats are back in that rare sequel that betters its predecessor

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, ROYAL OPERA Young lovers, a comic turn and paternal priest triumphant in Covent Garden staple

disc of the day

CD: Emily Saunders - Outsiders Insiders

Latin rhythms mingle with a cool delivery and cerebral lyrics for a searching, substantial collection

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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

We Made It

We Made It: Fashion Designer Anna Skodbo

The east London fashion designer on crowd-sourcing, sustainable fabrics and dressing MPs

We Made It: Furniture Designer & Maker Laszlo Beckett

The South London furniture maker talks lasers, skate-ramps and Coltrane

We Made It: Set and Costume Designer Lise Marker

A multidisciplinary artist and Matthew Barney collaborator explains her craft

film

10 Questions for filmmaker Desiree Akhavan

New York's latest multi-hyphenate on making sense of her place in the world

theartsdesk Q&A: Actress MyAnna Buring

The Swedish-born doctor's daughter on her rapid rise from 'Kill List' and 'Twilight' to 'Downton', 'Ripper Street' and Jimmy McGovern's 'Banished'

Appropriate Behaviour

Gay Brooklyn dramedy memorably mixes great humour with uneasy search for identity

tv

Arthur and George, ITV

Conan Doyle is a bluff, romantic Holmes in ITV's splendidly thrilling three-parter

theartsdesk Q&A: Actress MyAnna Buring

The Swedish-born doctor's daughter on her rapid rise from 'Kill List' and 'Twilight' to 'Downton', 'Ripper Street' and Jimmy McGovern's 'Banished'

Pompidou, BBC Two

Few laughs in Matt Lucas's almost silent sitcom

new music

CD: Emily Saunders - Outsiders Insiders

Latin rhythms mingle with a cool delivery and cerebral lyrics for a searching, substantial collection

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bridget St. John

Wallet-friendly compendium of one of Britain’s great singer-songwriters

CD: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday

Noel and his High Flying Birds aim for new heights without straying too near the Sun

classical

BBCSO, Segerstam, Barbican

Stonehenge in sound: conductor-composer of 285 symphonies tackles Bruckner's Eighth

Benedetti, La Cetra, Saffron Hall

The violinist's Vivaldi charms an appreciative audience in a bold new hall

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, CBSO Centre, Birmingham

Woolrich's songbook asks important questions, and answers only some of them

opera

Le Roi de Lahore, Chelsea Opera Group, QEH

Top quality operatic voices in first London performance of Massenet exotica since 1880

Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

Young lovers, a comic turn and paternal priest triumphant in Covent Garden staple

The Indian Queen, English National Opera

A colourful but eccentric production veers between beauty and incomprehensibility

theatre

The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco, Gate Theatre

Inventive exploration of Zimbabwe's fight for freedom lacks clear intention

Three Men in a Boat, The Original Theatre Company, Touring

Jolly boating music-hall as Jerome K Jerome's silly asses barge down the Thames

Lippy, Young Vic

An unconventional meditation on storytelling confounds

visual arts

theartsdesk in Calais: Simon Faithfull – To the Bottom of the World and Back

Online messages sent from elsewhere by an artist who loves the sea

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album, Courtauld Gallery

Enigmatic works on paper, reunited for the first time since the Spanish artist's death

Sculpture Victorious, Tate Britain

Technical innovation often coupled with meaningless extravagance

dance

Nómada, Compañía Manuel Liñán, Sadler's Wells

Style and showmanship aplenty from one of flamenco's innovators

Eva Yerbabuena/Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, Sadler's Wells

Grimly majestic femininity steals the show at annual Spanish showcase

Swan Lake, Royal Ballet

Marianela Nuñez's dream Odette/Odile distracts from hideous designs and score butchery

comedy

Dracula! (Mr Swallow - the Musical), Soho Theatre

Nick Mohammed's daft but entertaining spoof musical

Kim Noble, Soho Theatre

Tender and playful show about love and loneliness

Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, Manchester Arena

Live stage version of the hit sitcom is great fun

gaming

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1

Action-oriented horror series gets snipped into formulaic episodes

Sunless Sea

Nautical misadventures abound in this cruel strategy game

The Order: 1886

Steampunk Victorian London shooter fails to engage

latest comments

Having watched Spiral, this in comparison is poor...

Having not seen this play, and extrapolating from...

In depends on the specific traditions of that...

That may well be so in this case, Mr Robb (I...

The ENO's Indian Queen, with its trite and...

Thank you, Romania, for ballerina Alina Cojocaru...

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