mon 22/12/2014

Reviews

Annie

Matt Wolf

A lot of harsh words have been and will continue to be written about the new movie musical remake of Annie, the Broadway mainstay about the Depression-era tyke who exists to teach her elders a few life lessons on the way to a sun-drenched "Tomorrow" (to co-opt the title of the show's best-known song). But from where I'm sitting, a disproportionate share of the film's self-evident faults are swept away by its impossibly irresistible young star, Quvenzhané Wallis. As long as Wallis is onscreen,...

Madness, O2 Arena

Matthew Wright

There were silly hats, and venerable, bouncy songs for all the family at the O2 last night. The traditional Madness December tour was Christmas come early for most of the audience, who sang about home, love, and the Middle East as they might do in church next week with rather less enthusiasm. The band’s original hits still hit the spot, though there was also a sense that, as with Christmas carols, the new ones mean well, but just aren’t as good.The best half-dozen of Madness’ pop-ska...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Millions Like Us

Kieron Tyler

 Various Artists: Millions Like Us - The Story of the Mod Revival 1977–1989A “testosterone-fuelled youth movement” is how the opening paragraph...

Widowers' Houses, Orange Tree Theatre

Alexandra Coghlan

When the Orange Tree lost all its Arts Council funding earlier this year it was hard to get too outraged. An institution that has made a niche in...

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live,...

Matthew Wright

It’s never a good start when the performers have more to gain than the audience. The album Cheek to Cheek, of which this was a televised performance...

Serial Finale: Cul-de-Sacs and Curveballs

Fisun Güner

The gripping podcast ended on an inconclusive note, but the human drama was the thing

Big Eyes

Matt Wolf

Tim Burton's latest leaves you, well, wide-eyed

Un Ballo in Maschera, Royal Opera

David Nice

Shining moments and star voices in mostly drab Verdi

Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron From Ice

Stuart Houghton

Lashings of intrigue but poor pacing mars this pilot episode

The Fall, Series 2 Finale, BBC Two

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Is this the end for Allan Cubitt's fifty shades of serial killer?

Beeswing

Helen K Parker

Cerebral wandering through the memories of a wonderfully strange games developer

Eric and Little Ern, St James Theatre

Veronica Lee

Affectionate tribute to a great double act

City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse

Sam Marlowe

Lavish entertainment from the musical portrait of Forties Tinseltown

Dumb and Dumber To

Katherine McLaughlin

Hit and miss comedy sequel from the Farrelly Brothers

Almost, Maine, Park Theatre

Heather Neill

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

The Frozen Scream, Wales Millennium Centre

Gary Raymond

Pastiche co-written by Sarah Waters is a brave misfire

The Missing, Series Finale, BBC One

Jasper Rees

Audience foxed by twists in the outro of the first series

Guys and Dolls

Adam Sweeting

Sinatra and Brando ride again in classic MGM musical

The Choir: New Military Wives, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

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

The Merchant of Venice, Almeida Theatre

David Nice

Las Vegas bling lethally demolished in Rupert Goold's layered Shakespeare

Fretwork, Shoreditch Church

Sebastian Scotney

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

theartsdesk on Vinyl

Thomas H Green

A festive launch for our regular vinyl reviews

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

Adam Sweeting

Controversial pub-going politician quizzed by the couple from hell

Olive Kitteridge, Sky Atlantic

Tom Birchenough

Frances McDormand excels in superlative four-hour adaptation of small-town American life

The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Jenny Gilbert

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

Kon-Tiki

Kieron Tyler

More surface than substance in Oscar-nominated biopic of Norway’s sea-faring adventurer

Henry IV, Parts One and Two, RSC, Barbican

David Nice

A charmless Falstaff and two blunt young blades in mediocre Shakespeare double bill

The Human League, Brighton Centre

Thomas H Green

Retro-futurist nostalgia proves a festive treat with the Human League

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Czars

Kieron Tyler

John Grant’s past catches up with him

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