thu 11/02/2016


Happy Valley, Series 2, BBC One

Jasper Rees

“It’s routine, it’s procedure.” “It’s wank, it’s toss.” As you can tell, Happy Valley is back. If Sally Wainwright made bespoke ironmongery or dry stone walls or exceedingly good cakes, her work would come by royal appointment. Instead you can tell she’s good because she accumulates awards, including most recently a couple of BAFTAs for series one, and attracts actors from the farthest-flung corners of northern drama such as Cucumber and Downton’s downstairs, all gagging to speak her pearly...

The Survivalist

Adam Sweeting

This is the first feature by writer-director Stephen Fingleton, and has earned him a BAFTA nomination for Outstanding Debut. Set in Fingleton's native Northern Ireland, it's a pared-down tale of post-apocalyptic struggle, compensating for its lack of budget with rigorous economy and a watchful intelligence.Martin McCann plays the titular survivalist, a gaunt and unsmiling homesteader who guards his shack in the forest, around which he cultivates his own vegetables. Dialogue has been kept to a...

Zavalloni, Saeijs, Britten Sinfonia, Rundell,...

Gavin Dixon

The music of Louis Andriessen is instantly recognisable but frustratingly difficult to define. The American Minimalists are a strong influence, but...

Horace and Pete

Barney Harsent

“Warning: this show is not a ‘comedy,’” wrote comedian Louis CK in an email alerting fans to the impending arrival of the second episode of his new...

Generation Painting 1955-65, Heong Gallery,...

Marina Vaizey

The individual colleges of the University of Cambridge can call, when needed, on an astonishing international network of alumni for expert advice,...

The Mighty Handful, ROH Orchestra, Pappano, Royal Opera House

David Nice

Lively Russian nationalist goody-bag not quite filled to the brim

The X-Files, Channel 5

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Long-awaited sci-fi return gets off to a lacklustre start

War and Peace, Series Finale, BBC One

David Nice

A clutch of great performances well filmed, but brevity sells Tolstoy short

Bruegel in Black and White: Three Grisailles Reunited, Courtauld Gallery

Florence Hallett

Virtuoso works by the Netherlandish master dazzle and beguile

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Long Ryders

Kieron Tyler

The complete works of the ill-fated band which marked out Americana’s ground zero

Battlefield, Young Vic Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Peter Brook revisits 'The Mahabharata' with a perfection that ultimately feels chilly

The Magic Flute, English National Opera

Alexandra Coghlan

Mozart's opera rediscovers its magic in this revelatory revival

Fleming, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

Gavin Dixon

Star soprano shines in adventurous new works


Graham Fuller

Glib account of the blacklisted screenwriter's resisting of Hollywood's Red-baiters

The Room 3

Stuart Houghton

A tactile puzzle of ingenious construction

Classical CDs Weekly: Dutilleux, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Amy Dickson

Graham Rickson

Early works from a French 20th century giant, Russian piano concertos and Australian saxophone music

The Winter's Tale, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Alexandra Coghlan

Shakespeare's tale is told quietly here but with tremendous charm and impact

The Devil Inside, Peacock Theatre

David Nice

Compelling new Faustian-pact opera is small in scale but big on ideas

Rabbit Hole, Hampstead Theatre

Marianka Swain

David Lindsay-Abaire's examination of grief is smart and sincere, but too studied

Cats v Dogs, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

Which is faster, cleverer and stronger? And do our pets really love us?

Reeves & Mortimer, Leicester De Montfort Hall

Veronica Lee

The gloriously daft duo return

The Master Builder, Old Vic

David Nice

False notes mar Ibsen's unsettling mix of the real and the supernatural

Camila's Kids Company: The Inside Story, BBC One

Adam Sweeting

Lynn Alleway's documentary gets up close and personal, but reveals little

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, National Theatre

Matt Wolf

August Wilson's Broadway debut dazzles anew

Kraggerud, Gimse, Wigmore Hall

Gavin Dixon

Grieg’s bold Nordic spirit conveyed, but often at the expense of his charm

Red Velvet, Garrick Theatre

Marianka Swain

Adrian Lester is a blazing triumph as pioneering 19th-century actor Ira Aldridge

L'Étoile, Royal Opera

David Nice

Chabrier's pretty music for an absurdist comedy needs more sparkle

Rise of the Superstar Vloggers, BBC Three

Jasper Rees

Don't look now, but TV is dead: scary primer on the frontline of new media

Benedetti, CBSO, Shani, Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden

Gavin Dixon

Young conductor leads dynamic and detailed Haydn, Szymanowski and Dvořák


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