thu 18/12/2014

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

City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse

Sam Marlowe

Drop-dead dames, a hard-bitten gumshoe, an ambitious writer and a sleazy movie mogul: this slick, sassy 1989 musical by Cy Coleman, David Zippel and Larry Gelbart serves up two...

Photographer Rena Effendi: 'Images of dislocation'

Tom Birchenough

Photographer Rena Effendi’s current exhibition, "Zones of Silence", at London's Mosaic Rooms includes work from four of her recent series, and it’s hard not to see a link between...

Dumb and Dumber To

Katherine McLaughlin

“Comedy is all about timing” quips Lloyd Christmas at one point, something this sequel to the Farrelly Brothers' crass, gross-out comedy from 1994 very knowingly mocks. Those who...

Almost, Maine, Park Theatre

Heather Neill

For a Christmas-weary Brit who's already had it up to here with commercial bonhomie and festive schmaltz, there were going to be barriers to overcome. Here is an avowedly sweet...

The Frozen Scream, Wales Millennium Centre

Gary Raymond

There are moments in this collaboration between performer and theatre impresario Christopher Green and best-selling novelist Sarah Waters, where, rather like with a Stewart Lee...

The Missing, Series Finale, BBC One

Jasper Rees

So now we know. Sort of. The missing clue was tweezered into view in time for the final episode of The Missing and the fate of little Olly Hughes has been revealed. Up to a point...

Guys and Dolls

Adam Sweeting

This newly-restored version of one of MGM's most hallowed musicals is making the seasonal rounds with a run at the BFI and...

The Choir: New Military Wives, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

This feelgood programme hit all the buttons with almost unerring precision, as we followed Gareth Malone's project to...

The Merchant of Venice, Almeida Theatre

David Nice

All that glisters is not gold in the casino and television game-show world of Rupert Goold’s American Shakespeare, first...

Fretwork, Shoreditch Church

Sebastian Scotney

There is nothing quite like Fretwork at their best. When the viol consort put themselves through their paces in the music of...

theartsdesk on Vinyl

Thomas H Green

Have you been to a record shop lately? Now that our honeymoon with virtual music is revealed as completely lacking romance,...

Steph and Dom Meet... Nigel Farage, Channel 4 / Bullseyes and Beer - When Darts Hit Britain, BBC Four

Adam Sweeting

The idea of having a politician crossing the threshold of one's own home is enough to send most citizens diving for the...

Olive Kitteridge, Sky Atlantic

Tom Birchenough

Some of the best films this year have been the longest. The one most likely to be remembered is Richard Linklater’s Boyhood...

The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Jenny Gilbert

Unusually, English National Ballet’s Nutcracker finds itself in an empty field this year. Three Decembers ago, the...

Kon-Tiki

Kieron Tyler

Nothing proves a theory better than practice, and this is exactly what Norwegian adventurer-archaeologist-ethnographer Thor...

Henry IV, Parts One and Two, RSC, Barbican

David Nice

Heritage Shakespeare for the home counties and the tourists is just about alive but not very well at the Royal Shakespeare...

The Human League, Brighton Centre

Thomas H Green

The Human League front-load their set to such a degree it’s unclear how they’re going to maintain such momentum. Their stage...

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Czars

Kieron Tyler

The Czars: Best ofQueen of Denmark, John Grant’s first solo album, seemed to arrive from nowhere in 2010. Here was a singer-...

Golem, 1927, Young Vic

Alexandra Coghlan

British theatre company 1927 celebrate their 10th birthday next year. Over this nearly-decade they have produced just three...

Ohlsson, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

David Nice

How disorienting it is to find century-old works in the concert repertoire of which you can still say “I’ve never heard...

Canterbury Cathedral, BBC Two

Florence Hallett

Attracting over one million visitors each year, Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the...

Cats, London Palladium

Matt Wolf

The musical that defined an era is back on the West End, allowing a new generation to see what all the fuss was about 33...

Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas CDs

Graham Rickson

 Christmas Carols from Village Green to Church Choir Vox Turturis/Andrew Gant (Signum) Vox Turturis's director Andrew...

Le Concert Spirituel, Christ Church Spitalfields

Kimon Daltas

The magnificent Christ Church Spitalfields is a masterpiece of the British baroque and very much an ideal venue for this...

 

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, ALMEIDA THEATRE Las Vegas bling lethally demolished in Rupert Goold's layered Shakespeare

THE MISSING, SERIES FINALE, BBC ONE Audience foxed by twists in the outro of the first series

THEARTSDESK ON VINYL A festive launch for our regular vinyl reviews

FRETWORK, SHOREDITCH CHURCH Among the Christmas staples, it's a relief to find an imaginative take on a different theme

THE NUTCRACKER, ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET, LONDON COLISEUM Wayne Eagling's production returns for another bout of rodent control

THE CHOIR: NEW MILITARY WIVES, BBC TWO How Gareth Malone took his new choir to the First World War centenary Prom

disc of the day

Album of the Year: Swans – To Be Kind

Noisy Americans produce a feral blues masterpiece

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We Made It

We Made It: Publisher and Curator Amelia Gregory

Gold leaf and alchemical processes feed into a unique view of publishing

We Made It: Bex Burch, Dagaare Xylophone-Maker

Percussionist explains how the unique craft and culture of a north-Ghanaian people shapes her music

We Made It: Salmon Smoker Ole Martin-Hansen

Bringing the taste of the midnight sun to Stoke Newington

film

Dumb and Dumber To

Hit and miss comedy sequel from the Farrelly Brothers

Guys and Dolls

Sinatra and Brando ride again in classic MGM musical

DVD: Hockney

An affectionate but not entirely satisfactory portrait of the artist

tv

The Missing, Series Finale, BBC One

Audience foxed by twists in the outro of the first series

The Choir: New Military Wives, BBC Two

How Gareth Malone took his new choir to the First World War centenary Prom

Steph and Dom Meet... Nigel Farage, Channel 4 / Bullseyes and Beer - When Darts Hit Britain, BBC Four

Controversial pub-going politician quizzed by the couple from hell

new music

Album of the Year: Swans – To Be Kind

Noisy Americans produce a feral blues masterpiece

CD: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

Album number three from hip hop's controversial pop empress

theartsdesk on Vinyl

A festive launch for our regular vinyl reviews

classical

Fretwork, Shoreditch Church

Among the Christmas staples, it's a relief to find an imaginative take on a different theme

Ohlsson, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

Hymning the human in a Nielsen masterpiece and the cosmic in a psychedelic epic by Busoni

Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas CDs

Six of 2014's best seasonal releases

opera

The Way Back Home, ENO, Young Vic

A colourful children's show that's got Christmas written all over it

Tristan und Isolde, Royal Opera

Antonio Pappano and Nina Stemme spellbind again in Christof Loy's rigorous Wagner

theartsdesk in Oslo: Two Peer Gynts and a Hamlet

Intermittently powerful new Ibsen opera outshone by hard-hitting Norwegian theatre

theatre

City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse

Lavish entertainment from the musical portrait of Forties Tinseltown

Almost, Maine, Park Theatre

UK premiere of sweet, phenomenally popular American drama set in a fictional town

The Frozen Scream, Wales Millennium Centre

Pastiche co-written by Sarah Waters is a brave misfire

visual arts

DVD: Hockney

An affectionate but not entirely satisfactory portrait of the artist

The Great Museum

From politicians to polar bears, unexpected insights behind the scenes

Maggi Hambling, National Gallery

A recent body of work tells of the painter's craft and the stormy Suffolk coast

dance

The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Wayne Eagling's production returns for another bout of rodent control

Edward Scissorhands, New Adventures, Sadler's Wells

A hearty dose of cheer, with just a little weirdness, from master storyteller Matthew Bourne

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Royal Ballet

Classy dance, design and music, marinated just a little long in the treacle well

comedy

Dara Ó Bríain, Touring

Irish comic is on cracking form on home turf

Noel Fielding, Eventim Apollo

Surreal fun from a delightfully playful comic

John Bishop, Touring

Short on jokes but long on charm

gaming

The Talos Principle

Simple mechanics lead to complex puzzles and philosophical musings…

The Last Door - Collector's Edition

A retro adventure that plays with your imagination

LittleBigPlanet 3

Child's play? This platform game with editor doesn't quite gel for kids or adults

latest comments

Ah, but the end of the title sequence now makes...

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Can anyone explain to me why the journalist kept...

So for 8 weeks we have watched a tormented couple...

This mini-series was absolutely superb -...

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