fri 04/09/2015

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

Boy Meets Girl, BBC Two

Veronica Lee

Any romcom that begins with a woman saying the line “I was born with a penis” is OK by me. And that's how Boy Meets Girl, a superb new comedy created by Elliott Kerrigan, begins a...

Love and Betrayal in India: The White Mughal, BBC Four

Marina Vaizey

William Dalrymple has discovered a fascinating true romance from history in this story of the relationship of Indian-born British diplomat James Achilles Kirkpatrick and the...

Prom 65: Coote, English Concert, Bicket

Alexandra Coghlan

What was a stunningly good Alice Coote recital doing trapped inside an A-level Theatre Studies project? I’m not sure that Being Both – the semi-staged sequence of Handel arias...

Cradle to Grave, BBC Two

Barney Harsent

Turning autobiography into comedy gold is an alchemy that has often been tried. Among them Caitlin Moran’s Raised by Wolves, Kathy Burke’s superb Walking and Talking, and the...

Closed Curtain

Tom Birchenough

Any consideration of Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain will inevitably be through the prism of how it was made, and the director’s current position in his native...

CD: The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth

Guy Oddy

As someone who has always been completely indifferent to the retro New Wave stylings of The Libertines, I can’t say that I greeted the news of their reformation with anything more...

People, Places and Things, National Theatre

Aleks Sierz

We all know what the word “addict” means, but what does it feel like to be one? Thirtysomething Emma – a minor actress...

10 Questions for Musician John Lydon

Thomas H Green

John Lydon (b. 1956) is the singer and creative engine of Public Image Ltd. He was previously the frontman of the Sex...

Prom 62: Barton, OAE, Alsop

David Nice

A concert of Brahms chamber music I could understand, especially given a balance between early and late. An evening of...

Cartel Land

Tom Birchenough

Cartel Land opens with a group of crystal meth cooks at work somewhere in the dead-of-night Mexican wilderness. They boast...

Heartless Bastards, Borderline

Russ Coffey

Some consider Heartless Bastards to be the best band you’ve probably never heard of – albeit blighted by an awful name...

CD: Nicolas Godin - Contrepoint

Kieron Tyler

According to the press release for Contrepoint, “AIR have not split up.” Nicolas Godin, one half of the French duo, goes on...

Listed: Essential Operas 2015-16

theartsdesk

September is upon us and it’s nearly time for the new season. English National Opera’s Artistic Director John Berry may have...

Miss Julie

Demetrios Matheou

The television series Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, along with Robert Atman’s film Gosford Park, notably...

DVD: Far From The Madding Crowd

Matthew Wright

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg specialises in claustrophobic, asphyxiating atmospheres, from his breakthrough family...

Prom 60: Denk, San Francisco Symphony, Tilson Thomas

Geoff Brown

One astonishing creature was missing from the cavalcade of meerkats and whatnot featured in Sunday afternoon’s Life Story...

The Trials of Jimmy Rose, ITV

Tom Birchenough

“Breezy” isn't a word we associate with Ray Winstone. We’re more used to something like “big slab o’ bastard”, the epithet...

We Made It: Ballet costumier Anna Willetts

Guy Oddy

This year Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrates 25 years in the city, during which time the company has presented more than 130...

Murmel Murmel, King's Theatre, Edinburgh

David Kettle

It felt a bit like we were seeing things. At the fag-end of Edinburgh’s 2015 August of festival mayhem, with extreme...

CD: Micachu & The Shapes - Good Sad Happy Bad

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Bands that stand out live often disappoint on record: it can be difficult to capture the energy, the ferociousness, the...

Oliver Sacks remembered

Howard Male

Oliver Sacks, peerless explorer of the human brain, has today died of cancer aged 82. Inspired by case histories of patients...

Prom 58: Kullervo, BBCSO, Oramo

Sebastian Scotney

Last night's Proms performance of Sibelius's Kullervo symphony was radiant, unforgettable, but there has also been a...

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Isley Brothers

Kieron Tyler

The Isley Brothers: The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1958–1983)Head straight for Track 14, Disc 10’s quadrophonic...

Missa Solemnis, SCO, Ticciati, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

This was a performance laden with contradictions. After last weekend’s gargantuan Grande Messe des Morts, the standard issue...

 

CD: NICOLAS GODIN - CONTREPOINT Stylish Bach-inspired solo album from one half of French band AIR

10 QUESTIONS FOR MUSICIAN JOHN LYDON The punk and post-punk icon lets rip

PROM 62: BARTON, OAE, ALSOP Great mezzo and bright young choir fly up, orchestra and conductor remain below

PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS, NATIONAL THEATRE New drama about addiction is informative, didactic, clever, funny and often very moving

CARTEL LAND Vivid documentary on resistance to Mexico's drug cartels hits home

REMEMBERING NIKOLAUS LEHNHOFF In the week of the great German opera director's death, read how an anti-Wagnerian was converted by his ENO Parsifal

disc of the day

CD: The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth

Doherty and Co return to the fray with more tales of London’s seedy underbelly

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We Made It

We Made It: Ballet costumier Anna Willetts

The secrets of Birmingham Royal Ballet's costume department are unveiled

We Made It: Artist Grande Dame

Day-Glo Southern Gothic with artist and craftswoman Tiff McGinnis

We Made It: Coracle Maker Malcolm Rees

We Made It heads to South Wales to discover a living craft tradition

tv

Boy Meets Girl, BBC Two

Superb new comedy about transgender romance

Love and Betrayal in India: The White Mughal, BBC Four

William Dalrymple finds in an Anglo-Indian marriage that crossed cultural boundaries hope for today

Cradle to Grave, BBC Two

Danny Baker's autobiography is witty and charming, but could prove too sweet for some

film

Closed Curtain

Allusive meditation on creativity from banned Iranian director Jafar Panahi

Cartel Land

Vivid documentary on resistance to Mexico's drug cartels hits home

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

new music

CD: The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth

Doherty and Co return to the fray with more tales of London’s seedy underbelly

10 Questions for Musician John Lydon

The punk and post-punk icon lets rip

Heartless Bastards, Borderline

Texan rockers show that, vocally, bigger can indeed be better

classical

Prom 65: Coote, English Concert, Bicket

Gender trouble at the Proms for Alice Coote and Handel

Prom 62: Barton, OAE, Alsop

Great mezzo and bright young choir fly up, orchestra and conductor remain below

Prom 60: Denk, San Francisco Symphony, Tilson Thomas

Glamorous visitors bring a crazy concerto, luminous Mahler, and a bit of chrome-plating

opera

Listed: Essential Operas 2015-16

Our classical/opera writers choose 12 highlights of the coming season

The Magic Flute, Komische Oper Berlin, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

A magical Flute, but an insufficiently human one

Entanglement/ That Man Stephen Ward, Presteigne Festival

An arresting new psychodrama from Charlotte Bray, and Thomas Hyde revival

theatre

People, Places and Things, National Theatre

New drama about addiction is informative, didactic, clever, funny and often very moving

Murmel Murmel, King's Theatre, Edinburgh

Absurdist romp from Berlin's Volksbühne proves a hallucinatory if melancholy final theatre offering from this year's EIF

You Won't Succeed On Broadway If You Don't Have Any Jews, St James Theatre

Jumbled revue is salvaged by its bright young things

visual arts

Soup Cans and Superstars, BBC Four

Panorama of Pop art from Alastair Sooke ahead of the Tate Modern show

An Open Book: Bruce McCall

The distinguished writer and illustrator talks compensatory learning and the lure of Atlantic liners

An Open Book: Conrad Shawcross

The sculptor talks about his fascination with Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace and about the big ideas that inform his work

dance

McGregor/Spuck, Ballett Zürich, Edinburgh Playhouse

Contemporary dance formula ticks boxes, but fails to inspire

Seven, Ballett am Rhein/RSNO, Edinburgh Playhouse

Danced Mahler symphony is tour de force of energy and invention

Lo Real, Israel Galván, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Uncompromising look at gypsies under fascism is hard going, but rewarding

comedy

Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Kieran Hodgson/ Richard Gadd/ Trygve Wakenshaw

Into the final lap at the world's biggest and best arts festival

Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Joseph Morpurgo/ Daphne/ Tom Parry

Counting down at the world's biggest and best arts festival

Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Nish Kumar/ Adam Hess/ Dial Medicine for Murder/ Larry Dean

Counting down at the world's biggest and best arts festival

gaming

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

When is a game not a game? When it's better than that

Volume

Purist stealth puzzles with too glossy a sheen?

A Day In The Woods

A simple but challenging puzzle with terrific good looks

Listed

Listed: Essential Operas 2015-16
Our classical/opera writers choose 12 highlights of the coming season
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

latest comments

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Superb concert of an absolute masterpiece. Isn't...

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