wed 21/02/2018

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Aleks Sierz
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Whatever the weather, this week is Frozen. On Broadway, the Disney musical of that name begins previews, but let’s let that go. In the West End, our Frozen has no Elsa, no Anna...
Saskia Baron
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
While this well-crafted documentary chose to open with footage of the stars and glitz of the American awards ceremonies, the focus of Working with Weinstein (Channel 4) was almost...
Alexandra Coghlan
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
You have to wonder why it has taken this long. Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking premiered in San Francisco back in 2000 and has since been performed over 300 times across the world...
Jasper Rees
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
This week brings a tale of two comedies. Both half-hour sitcoms are about widowed mothers with grown-up sons still at home. Each woman has an unattached admirer. Both shows star...
Tom Birchenough
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Beach Rats is a film that has “indie” etched in its bones. The second feature from Brooklyn-born Eliza Hittman, it was made with support from New York’s independent outfit...
Owen Richards
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Clio Barnard has quietly been building a reputation as one of Britain’s most human storytellers. Her debut feature The Arbor was a mesmerising look at the life of playwright...
Katherine Waters
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Lila had breast implants at the age of eight. Karen, her mother, is required to take psychotherapy sessions on account of...
Helen Wallace
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
This was an evening of silence and shadow, a chill, moonlit meditation, where each sound demanded forensic attention. Enter...
Guy Oddy
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
A superstar elsewhere in the world, particularly in West Africa, Femi Kuti still lives somewhat unfairly in his dad, Fela...
Jasper Rees
Monday, 19 February 2018
You need to be of a certain vintage to have any memory of the traditional suburban family sitcom. Like the Raleigh Chopper...
Miranda Heggie
Monday, 19 February 2018
Inspired by the astonishing true story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian refugee who lived in Charles de Gaulle Airport...
Peter Quinn
Monday, 19 February 2018
While some albums cram in more fillers than a Christmas stocking, Thought You Knew, the second recording from the London-...
Adam Sweeting
Sunday, 18 February 2018
The plan to bring drama back to Saturday nights on BBC One enjoyed mixed success with Hard Sun, but now threatens to slide...
Marina Vaizey
Sunday, 18 February 2018
London Rules – explicitly cover your arse – is the fifth in the most remarkable and mesmerising series of novels, set mostly...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 18 February 2018
During the British Invasion years, a Cleveland, Ohio band called The Choir ploughed a Brit-focussed furrow from late 1964....
Barney Harsent
Sunday, 18 February 2018
A little over two years ago, The Arts Desk reviewed Hipnotik Tradisi, Black Merlin’s extraordinary first offering for Island...
Alexandra Coghlan
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Schubert’s winter wanderer had Wilhelm Muller to voice his despair, while Schumann’s poet-in-love had Heinrich Heine. The...
Aleks Sierz
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Monologues are very much the flavour of the start of this theatrical year. At the Royal Court, we have Carey Mulligan in...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Diethelm: Symphonic Works Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Rainer Held (Guild)Swiss composers? There's Honegger, and Frank...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 17 February 2018
This album has been about in virtual form since last autumn but now receives physical release. In more ways than one. Since...

★★★★ LADY BIRD Greta Gerwig's luminous coming-of-age movie

★★★ FEMI KUTI: ONE PEOPLE ONE WORLD Afrobeat royalty makes the case for peace and unity

★★★★★ GIRLS & BOYS, ROYAL COURT Carey Mulligan is stunningly brilliant

★★★★ EXPLORE ENSEMBLE, EXAUDI Making sense of Nono

★★ HOLD THE SUNSET, BBC ONE John Cleese, Alison Steadman star in exhumation of sitcom genre

★★★★ THE B*EASTS, BUSH THEATRE Monica Dolan is almost flawless in monologue about women's bodies

★★ BLACK PANTHER The Marvel movie made by black talent takes itself too seriously

CLIO BARNARD: 'WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE' Interview with the director of Dark River

★★★★ FLIGHT, SCOTTISH OPERA Poignant and powerful, this production soars

disc of the day

DVD: Beach Rats

Limbo over an uneasy Brooklyn summer, from an American indie director to watch

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Working with Weinstein, Channel 4 review - portrait of a predator

Forensic dissection of Harvey Weinstein's reign of terror in the craven corners of the UK film business

Mum, BBC Two, series 2 review - Lesley Manville is a discreet delight

Stefan Golaszewski's sitcom returns for more gentle comedy about imperfect families

Hold the Sunset, BBC One, review - this is an ex-sitcom

John Cleese and Alison Steadman star in the exhumation of long-lost genre


DVD: Beach Rats

Limbo over an uneasy Brooklyn summer, from an American indie director to watch

Clio Barnard: 'We need to talk about sexual abuse' - interview

The director of 'Dark River' discusses tackling sexual trauma and why she’s drawn to Yorkshire

Lady Bird review - Greta Gerwig's luminous coming-of-age movie

An uncynical and beautifully observed directorial debut

new music

CD: Femi Kuti - One People One World

Afrobeat royalty makes a compelling case for world peace and unity

CD: Snowpoet - Thought You Knew

The London group's restrained melodicism packs an intense depth of feeling

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Choir

The legendary Cleveland band’s unreleased 1969 album is revealed as one of the Sixties’ best


Explore Ensemble, EXAUDI, St John's Smith Square review - making sense of Nono

Riveting 'Principal Sound' event delivers the luminous rewards of austerity modernism

Kaufmann, Damrau, Deutsch, Barbican review - bliss, if only you closed your eyes

More ham than a butcher's window, but when the music is this good it scarcely matters

Classical CDs Weekly: Diethelm, Grieg, Tippett

Orchestral delights from Switzerland and pianistic fireworks from Norway. Plus the greatest British symphony you've never heard


Dead Man Walking, Barbican review - timely and devastating meditation on human violence and forgiveness

Jake Heggie's outstanding first opera finally receives its UK premiere

Flight, Scottish Opera review - poignant and powerful, this production soars

Opera Holland Park's 2015 staging flies north of the border

Iolanthe, English National Opera review - bright and beautiful G&S for all

Cal McCrystal's pretty, hilarious show should delight young and old alike


Frozen, Haymarket Theatre review - star cast explores the reality of evil
Suranne Jones, Jason Watkins and Nina Sosanya convincingly examine human darkness
The B*easts, Bush Theatre review - Monica Dolan is almost flawless
Hectic monologue from smoking, drinking, fast-talking psychotherapist about women's bodies
Angry, Southwark Playhouse review – wondrously roaring Ridleyland
Six monologues about extreme emotions offer trips to outer space and dystopia


Giselle, Royal Ballet review - beautiful dancing in a production of classic good taste

Perfect storytelling through dance from Marianela Nuñez and excellent supporting cast

Song of the Earth/La Sylphide, English National Ballet review - sincerity and charm in a rewarding double bill

An odd-couple programme delivers both exquisite dancing and emotional truth

Best of 2017: Dance

Classical ballet dominates the highlights reel as chosen by theartsdesk's critics


EA Sports UFC 3 review - the art of fighting has never looked so good

Why bob and weave when you can ground and pound?

Best of 2017: Games

Quality nearly matches quantity

Star Wars Battlefront II review - an opportunity missed

The force is less strong with this one

visual arts

Emil Nolde: Colour Is Life, National Gallery of Ireland review - boats, dancers, flowers

Comprehensive overview of neglected German Expressionist with a troubling past

Andreas Gursky, Hayward Gallery review - staggering scale, personal perspective

Space and light at the refurbished Hayward: huge views, artful manipulation from the German photographer

latest comments

Very sad and tired - Alison Steadman overacting (...

Terribly disappointing. The character of the son...

Will a person who happens to be white ever be...

I went into the theater with an open mind and no...

Watch out now! If you are white and give a...

OK, If I understand you correctly you are saying...

Agree. Not a patch on previous series. Bring back...

This so-called 'sitcom' was embarrassingly weak...


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