mon 03/08/2015

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

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 perfectly summed up the work of Frank Turner? - is probably...

Prom 23: 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 Symphony Orchestra and the Chorus of the Deutsche Opera Berlin...

The Gift

Emma Simmonds

People who live in glass houses should be careful who they piss off. That's the superficial starting point of The Gift, the directorial debut of actor Joel Edgerton, who takes the...

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 Irish Catholic background in Liverpool's Scotland Road...

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.” Lushly green and densely planted, today the view out over...

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 general, a good thing. It has also meant that a column...

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...

CD: Julio Bashmore - Knockin' Boots

Thomas H Green

“Julio Bashmore” is actually the nom-de-dancefloor of Bristolian DJ-producer Matt Walker who’s been slowly building a rep...

Classical CDs Weekly: Steve Reich, Saint-Saëns, Cristina Pato

Graham Rickson

 Reich: Music for 18 Musicians Ensemble Signal/Brad Lubman (Harmonia Mundi)Playing Steve Reich's music demands...

Bakkhai, Almeida Theatre

David Nice

This is the real Greek, bloody-fantastical thing. After the fascinating but flawed attempt to bring Aeschylus’s Oresteia...

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Adam Sweeting

Stepping in for Brad Bird, who helmed 2011's Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, director Chris McQuarrie has brought a...

Prom 17: Hallé, Elder

Peter Quantrill

Roger Wright may be gone from the BBC Proms, replaced for now by a committee, but his legacy lives on. His zeal to recover...

Bolshoi Ballet acid attack leader loses his job

Ismene Brown

Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet artistic director whose sight was maimed two years ago by an acid attack organized by a...

Of Thee I Sing, RFH

Matt Wolf

Satire may famously be what on Broadway closes Saturday night, but last night's concert performance of the Gershwin brothers...

Prune

Simon Munk

It begins so gently. Initially, Prune is a slow-paced and simple puzzle game – you stroke the screen to start growing a tree...

DVD: Quatermass

Kieron Tyler

Urban streets are littered with bodies. Barricades constructed from cars are ablaze. The national broadcaster works behind...

Prom 16: Late Night with Radio 1, Pete Tong

Matthew Wright

After years of pussyfooting around pop, hoping the Pet Shop Boys will write something in a passable classical idiom, the...

Shirley Baker, Photographers' Gallery

Florence Hallett

When a photographer is as little known as Shirley Baker, it is probably only natural that we scour her work for clues to the...

CD: Richard Fairhurst & John Taylor – Duets

Matthew Wright

With the sad news of John Taylor’s sudden death at the age of 72 following a heart attack during a performance at the...

First Person: Dear Lupin

Michael Simkins

When I got the call enquiring whether I’d like to adapt The Sunday Times Humour Book of the Year Dear Lupin for the stage,...

 

SHIRLEY BAKER, PHOTOGRAPHERS' GALLERY A forgotten photographer of the northern slums is rediscovered

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

BAKKHAI, ALMEDIA THEATRE Ben Whishaw's ambiguous Dionysos and operatic chorus serve superb Euripides translation

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION Fifth time around, and still nothing is impossible for Tom Cruise 

PROM 17: HALLÉ, ELDER Valuable Proms premiere for Vaughan Williams’ equivocal vision of utopia

BOLSHOI BALLET ACID ATTACK LEADER LOSES HIS JOB Sergei Filin's contract will not be renewed, and his post abolished

Prom 19: ALINA IBRAGIMOVA PLAYS BACH Sternly beautiful, Ibragimova's Bach is Baroque at its most authentic

disc of the day

CD: Frank Turner: Positive Songs for Negative People

Positive mental anthems from folk-punk troubadour

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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

The Gift

Far-from-formulaic thriller from actor-director Joel Edgerton, with Rebecca Hall

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Fifth time around, and still nothing is impossible for Tom Cruise

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

new music

CD: Frank Turner: Positive Songs for Negative People

Positive mental anthems from folk-punk troubadour

Cilla Black, 1943-2015

From cloakroom attendant at The Cavern club to national treasure

Reissue CDs Weekly: Cocteau Twins

Superb-sounding vinyl editions which put their CD counterparts in the shade

classical

Prom 23: BBCSSO, Runnicles

A Requiem of sacred intensity and secular drama

theartsdesk in Tuscany: Musical landscapes

Encounters of the classical kind in Tuscany's loveliest garden

Prom 21: Alina Ibragimova plays Bach (II)

A dramatic close to this first cycle of solo Bach

opera

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

Xerxes, Longborough Opera

Handel's Persian comedy in a nightclub done with great polish by young singers

theatre

Bakkhai, Almeida Theatre

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

Of Thee I Sing, RFH

Sound issues all but scupper period satire

Six of the best: Theatre

A bit of everything in theartsdesk's stage tips

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

This is a very thorough and intellectual comment...

Thanks for that. I think I may even have been...

Greg Hicks played Dionysus in Hall's production...

Very interesting article on Vertov's film. I saw...

Can't agree about the weakness of the Fourth,...

I was in the hall and endorse Gavin's excellent...

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