thu 29/07/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Matt Wolf
Thursday, 29 July 2021
A gorgeous song exists in search of a show to match over at Bagdad Café, the 1987 film that gave the world the memorably plaintive "Calling You", which is threaded throughout...
Stephen Walsh
Thursday, 29 July 2021
King Arthur, as every schoolgirl knows, never actually existed, so it made perfect sense that the Gabrieli Consort’s Worcester Cathedral performance of Purcell’s semi-opera about...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 29 July 2021
Before seeing this play, I decided to eat a steak. It seemed the right culinary equivalent to David Mamet, one of America’s most provocative and, at times, especially past times,...
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 29 July 2021
Already Dead’s opening cut is titled “Youth on a Spit”. As it unfolds, Willy Mason declares “I feel no pain I’ve already bled / You can’t kill me I’m already dead.” After setting...
Sarah Kent
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is the most harrowing film you are ever likely to watch, but don’t let that put you off. This was a documentary waiting to be made. It tells...
David Nice
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
Now that the summer opera-house companies have pulled off staged triumphs under the most difficult of circumstances, it’s time to celebrate semi-al-fresco concerts. Not so many...
Joe Muggs
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
Scottish singer-songwriter Dorothy Allison pretty much defines cool. Her band One Dove was the first to snare Andrew...
Alexandra Coghlan
Tuesday, 27 July 2021
It’s the trivia question no one ever thought to ask: where was the only Tennessee Williams play premiered outside America...
Izzy Smith
Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Mieko Kawakami sits firmly amongst the Japanese literati for her sharp and pensive depictions of life in contemporary Japan...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 26 July 2021
ITV’s new detective mystery, Professor T, is an adaptation of a Belgian series of the same name, and was filmed in Belgium...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 26 July 2021
Willow Smith has done more during her life than the average 20-year-old. The daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith,...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 25 July 2021
The book included with this splendid box set dedicated to British jazz innovator Chris Barber includes a series of quotes...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 24 July 2021
Mamma Mia! hovers unhelpfully over every frame of Off the Rails, a road movie of sorts in which three women make a music-...
Liz Thomson
Saturday, 24 July 2021
“My worst fear? What am I scared of?” Amy Winehouse ponders. She pauses thoughtfully: “Myself.”Ten years to the day since...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 24 July 2021
Anne-Marie Nicholson is a hard-working young woman from Essex whose career description is “Global Girl-next-door Pop Star”....
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 23 July 2021
You can rely on M Night Shyamalan to deliver supernatural shocks and freakish events, but the alternative-reality nature of...
David Nice
Friday, 23 July 2021
Play it straight and you’ll get more laughs: that’s the standard advice on great operatic comedies like the masterpieces of...
Liz Thomson
Friday, 23 July 2021
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 50 years since I splurged a day’s Saturday pay on For Everyman, Jackson Browne’s...
Helen Hawkins
Thursday, 22 July 2021
What’s in a name? In Benedict Lombe’s incendiary debut play at the Bush Theatre, the answer to this question...

★★★★★ DOT ALLISON - HEART-SHAPED SCARS The Scottish singer-songwriter finds herself

★★★ PROFESSOR T, ITV Whimsical tales of boffinly detection

★★★★ THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD A harrowing tale vividly told

★★★★ THE TWO CHARACTER PLAY, HAMPSTEAD THEATRE Tender, poetic and piercingly cruel

★★★★★ OPERA IN SONG, OPERA HOLLAND PARK A winning mini-festival

disc of the day

Album: Willy Mason - Already Dead

The world-weary return of the American singer-songwriter after almost a decade away


Professor T, ITV review - whimsical tales of boffinly detection

Ben Miller illustrates the power of mind over matter

Uprising, BBC One review - powerful documentary about the New Cross fire

How a tragic teenage birthday party led to protests calling for police reform


Off the Rails review - go for the scenery, not the script

'Mamma Mia!' wannabe features lots of Blondie but very little sense

Old review - time flies in tropical island mystery

Alternative-reality holiday from hell is not M Night Shyamalan's finest hour

new music

Album: Willy Mason - Already Dead

The world-weary return of the American singer-songwriter after almost a decade away

Album: Dot Allison - Heart-Shaped Scars

28 years on from One Dove, the Scottish singer-songwriter finds herself

Album: Willow - Lately I Feel Everything

Scion of Hollywood royalty goes punk


theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - Purcell, Gabriel Jackson and Duruflé

Choral music loud, soft and chorus-less as the oldest festival returns

Opera in Song, Opera Holland Park review – world-class singers in a brilliant recital triptych

Baritone Julien Van Mellaerts and pianist Dylan Perez programme a winning mini-festival

Classical CDs: wolves, woodwinds and a masonic funeral

A great pianist celebrates a significant birthday, plus music for solo winds and a rare French ballet score


Opera in Song, Opera Holland Park review – world-class singers in a brilliant recital triptych

Baritone Julien Van Mellaerts and pianist Dylan Perez programme a winning mini-festival

Le Comte Ory, Garsington Opera review - high musical style and broad dramatic comedy

Rossini can take the high jinks of Cal McCrystal in a deliciously cast romp

Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance, Royal Opera review – breathtaking young talent

Nine superb voices, with varying degrees of polish, in four operatic scenes


Bagdad Café, Old Vic review - sweet but scattershot
Stage adaptation of 1987 film needs more narrative drive
Oleanna, Arts Theatre review - Mamet on power and tragedy
David Mamet’s most controversial play retains its explosive charge
The Two Character Play, Hampstead Theatre review - tender, poetic and piercingly cruel
A timely return for Tennessee Williams' long-neglected play


Beauty Mixed Programme, Royal Ballet review - no dancers? No problem

The company's 90th anniversary celebration triumphs over setbacks

theartsdesk Q&A: choreographer Christopher Scott

The creator of the sizzling dance scenes for 'In The Heights' on how they came about

Solstice, English National Ballet, RFH review - a midsummer treat

A grand summer picnic at the Southbank Centre


Comedy Shindig, Melbourne Hall review - Jason Manford headlines opening night

Summer season of outdoor shows off to a terrific start

Jimmy Carr, Palace Theatre review - rape gags and risible claims

The jokes are relentless, but so is the misogyny

Mark Thomas, Soho Theatre review - new state-of-the-nation show

Post-Brexit Britain under the spotlight


10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami

Assaying 'Heaven' - the Japanese writer on childhood, vulnerability, and violence as a complement to beauty

Samantha Walton: Everybody Needs Beauty review - the well of the world

Can a person be healthy if their environment is not?

Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing review – core writing from England's regions

A rich cross-section of new and northern writing to right the wrongs of regional imbalance

visual arts

Karla Black, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh review - airy free-for-all

A retrospective of the abstract sculptor highlights her idiosyncracies

Ben Nicholson: From the Studio, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester review - domestic bliss

Still life takes the foreground in a long-awaited survey of the painter's career

latest comments

Haven't seen it yet, but surely it can't be 'the...

Thanks in turn for your contribution, Pete. You...

I’m enjoying the album immensely. It’s...

This review is spot on….I heard one song on the...


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