fri 23/08/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Friday, 23 August 2019
Puccini's and Abbé Prévost's glitter-seduced Manon Lescaut might have been inclined to linger longer in the salon of dirty old man Geronte if he'd served her up not his own...
Bernard Hughes
Friday, 23 August 2019
Let us never tire of singing the praises of the Proms, nor ever take them for granted. For two months concerts, many of which would be the highlight of any ‘normal’ week, keep...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 23 August 2019
When Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin released the former’s stripped back, soul-bearing American Recordings in 1994 the impact was massive. Not only did it show a way that country music...
David Nice
Thursday, 22 August 2019
Love him or hate him, Lars von Trier has time and again made the unpalatable and the improbable real and shatteringly moving in a succession of great films. Breaking the Waves set...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 22 August 2019
This is how Steven Knight pictured Peaky Blinders when he first set about creating it. “I was very keen not to do a traditional British period drama, especially where it comes to...
Sebastian Scotney
Thursday, 22 August 2019
The Bauhaus school and its subsequent influence make an extraordinary story, and this film by Mat Whitecross, which has assembled a whole range of different voices and...
Ellie Porter
Thursday, 22 August 2019
"Would you mind if I jammed on my new... castanets?" We’re halfway through Eels’ triumphant set at Hammersmith's Eventim...
Nick Hasted
Thursday, 22 August 2019
This album’s title began as a reaction to fractiousness under Trump, but gained more intimate meaning when drummer Janet...
Markie Robson-Scott
Wednesday, 21 August 2019
The BBC’s version of Love Island has familiar ingredients: ten 20-somethings, many with pale manicures and hair extensions,...
David Nice
Wednesday, 21 August 2019
So the Proms ignored the Berlioz anniversary challenge to perform his Requiem and serve up four brass bands at the points of...
Nick Hasted
Wednesday, 21 August 2019
The Almodovar who made his name as an all-out provocateur in the Eighties considers that wild art’s becalmed far side, in...
Aleks Sierz
Wednesday, 21 August 2019
After six years, associate director Robert Icke bids farewell to the Almeida Theatre. In this time he has pioneered...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 21 August 2019
To Whom Buys a Record roams through 12 crisply recorded pieces confirming that jazz which isn’t shy of acknowledging its...
Markie Robson-Scott
Tuesday, 20 August 2019
Animal behaviourist Jo-Rosie Haffenden, who lives in Spain, has some very good dogs (and a charming toddler, who knows how...
Jessica Duchen
Tuesday, 20 August 2019
Time was, not long ago, when the very word “premiere” was enough to ensure a sizeable smattering of red plush holes in the...
Liz Thomson
Tuesday, 20 August 2019
It was a lovely summer’s day in southern England, much as it was in County Sligo. I was with my parents, driving to visit a...
Royce Vavrek
Tuesday, 20 August 2019
It was during the 1997 Golden Globe Awards telecast that I first caught a glimpse of the film that would change my life...
Graham Fuller
Tuesday, 20 August 2019
Fred Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) was the Australian New Wave film that most rigorously confronted the...
David Nice
Monday, 19 August 2019
It was a Disney theme-park of Russian music, and in an entirely good way: none of the usual rides, but plenty of heroes and...

★★★★ PROM 44: FINLEY, LSO & CHORUS, ORFEÓ CATALÀ, RATTLE Lurid inter-war triptych

★★★★ GARD NILSSEN ACOUSTIC UNITY - TO WHOM BUYS A RECORD Energised yet structured reconfiguration on free jazz archetypes

FIRST PERSON: Royce Vavrek on forging a libretto from Lars von Trier's 'Breaking the Waves'

★★★★ THE DOCTOR, ALMEIDA THEATRE Robert Icke's long goodbye

★★★★ PAIN AND GLORY Masterful meditation on age and art

disc of the day

CD: Tanya Tucker - While I'm Livin'

Solidly enjoyable reappearance from one of country'n'western's wild women

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Power, politics and Peaky Blinders - the Shelby family return for Series 5

Steam-punk gangsters invade the corridors of Westminster

Bauhaus 100, BBC Four review - a well-made film about the makers

A fascinating centenary tale of God-like architects and punks

Heartbreak Holiday, BBC One review - can it match up to Love Island?

Ten strangers and their not so achy-breaky hearts


Pain and Glory review - masterful meditation on age and art

Almodovar and Banderas reflect on fading glories

DVD/Blu-ray: The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

Mixed-race heritage condemns a striving youth in 1900 Australia

Transit review - existential nightmares for a German refugee

Christian Petzold eschews the conventions of Holocaust drama to create an edgy, unnerving thriller

new music

CD: Tanya Tucker - While I'm Livin'

Solidly enjoyable reappearance from one of country'n'western's wild women

Eels, Hammersmith Apollo review – dark, swampy and endlessly entertertaining

Mark Oliver Everett thrills with eclectic covers and rich pickings from his back catalogue

CD: Sleater-Kinney - The Center Won't Hold

Punks' St Vincent-produced search for new ground succeeds, with casualties


Prom 46: Kanneh-Mason, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla review - brilliant programme, brilliant playing

Blend of familiar Elgar with undervalued Weinberg shows the Proms at its best

Prom 44: Finley, LSO & Chorus, Orfeó Català, Rattle review - lurid inter-war triptych

Less could sometimes have been more in blockbusters by Varèse and Walton

Prom 43: Haefliger, BBCSO & Chorus, Oramo review – the frisson of the new

Two exciting premieres and a valuable old chestnut in an uplifting evening


Making new waves: Royce Vavrek on forging a libretto from Lars von Trier

Missy Mazzoli's collaborator on their new operatic version of 'Breaking the Waves'


The Doctor, Almeida Theatre review - Robert Icke's long goodbye
Juliet Stevenson is brilliant in an ethical debate that is both thrilling and challenging
Edinburgh Fringe 2019 reviews: The Red/ Gone Full Havisham
More from the world's biggest and best arts festival
Edinburgh Fringe 2019 review: How Not to Drown
Autobiographical refugee story feels like a boy's own adventure


Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet, Sadler's Wells review - heart-stopping drama

The plot isn't perfect, but this bad romance still packs a punch

The Bright Stream, Bolshoi Ballet review - a gem of a comedy

Ratmansky and Shostakovich offer up old-fashioned fun with an undercurrent of sweetness

Spartacus, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House review - no other company could pull this off

Visiting Russians transform wooden material into muscular spectacle


Edinburgh Fringe 2019 review: Arabella Weir - Does My Mum Loom Big In This?

Fringe debut on her overbearing mother feels too polite to confront its own darkness


Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

Challenge The Authority in this 'Mad Max on mushrooms' renegade romp

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to Celebrate Brighton Festival!

An eclectic line-up spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, comedy, literature and spoken word could be yours with boutique hotel and exquisite meals included

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

Chainsawing the brain-eaters as you battle against the tide of the undead

visual arts

Edinburgh Festival 2019 reviews: Below the Blanket / Samson Young: Real Music

Two Edinburgh shows meld music, sound and visual art to beguiling effect

Black Sabbath: 50 years, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery review – not heavy going

Half a century of metal is celebrated in Sabbath's home city

Helen Schjerfbeck, Royal Academy review - watchful absences and disappearing people

Retrospective of Finnish artist turns on mortality and absence


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