tue 04/08/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Nick Hasted
Tuesday, 04 August 2020
Queen, performances and production design drive this campest, funniest and sexiest of the post-Star Wars space boom. Flash Gordon is a film about a classic American comic-strip...
David Nice
Tuesday, 04 August 2020
So much for the assertion that nowhere in the world would be staging the big Strauss and Wagner operas for the indefinite future. With a combination of lavish funding and good...
Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 04 August 2020
During the current pandemic, stories about isolation have a particular resonance. Feelings of claustrophobia, loneliness and frustration slide off the stage and echo in our...
Kelton Koch
Monday, 03 August 2020
Joining the Vienna Philharmonic as a student and young professional was an absolute thrill. I had begun to play with the orchestra as an academist in October 2019 and as a full-...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 03 August 2020
At the age of 80, John Cleese probably doesn't care what people think of him. But then, when you were one-sixth of Monty Python and co-creator of one of TV's funniest sitcoms, you...
Guy Oddy
Monday, 03 August 2020
Like Fantastic Negrito’s previous, Grammy-winning albums, Last Days of Oakland and Please Don’t be Dead, Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? holds up a critical mirror to life in the USA...
India Lewis
Sunday, 02 August 2020
It is no surprise, given her Cambridge Intellectual literary style, that Ali Smith’s Summer is multi-layered, referential,...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 02 August 2020
The feather in this particular cap is a DVD of director John T. Davis’ 1979 film Shellshock Rock. Filmed from October 1978...
Lydia Bunt
Sunday, 02 August 2020
“Never Let Me Go meets free, two-day shipping.” This is how Mary South describes “Keith Prime”, the first story in her debut...
Markie Robson-Scott
Saturday, 01 August 2020
Vast wealth and equally vast fraud are part of the plot in The Glass Hotel, Emily St John Mandel’s irresistible fifth novel...
Nick Hasted
Saturday, 01 August 2020
This sober French space movie is concerned with what a female astronaut leaves behind on Earth, not what she finds in the...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 01 August 2020
 Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 Australian World Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle (ABC Classics)I love Bruckner’s mature symphonies...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 01 August 2020
A couple of years ago a vinyl white label appeared of a track called “Crumbling Down”. It was a breath of fresh air. Warmly...
Graham Fuller
Friday, 31 July 2020
Minutes into Make Up, Claire Oakley’s auspicious first feature as writer-director, unearthly sounds welcome unwitting Ruth (...
David Nice
Friday, 31 July 2020
A front-rank pianist only takes on Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in full confidence of being able to handle the...
Laura De Lisle
Friday, 31 July 2020
Ah, 2015. Those halcyon days of packed theatres. Thank God the RSC had the presence of mind to film Polly Findlay’s...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 31 July 2020
It may be one of the first movies to be shown in cinemas post-lockdown, but Unhinged is a pale ghost of some much better...
Nick Hasted
Friday, 31 July 2020
Alanis Morissette was relieved when fame’s comet swiftly fell to more manageable levels, having crashed into her full-force...
Joseph Walsh
Thursday, 30 July 2020
Like a sub-par Natural Born Killers for Gen Z, director-screenwriter Joshua Caldwell’s latest film, featuring...
 

★★★★ ALI SMITH: SUMMER 'Seasonal Quartet' ends in a world turned upside down

CLASSICAL CDS WEEKLY Stellar Antipodeans, English late romanticism and Soviet ballet music

★★★ JOHN CLEESE LIVESTREAM Abandon all hope, says the former Python

★★★★ LOUIS SCHWIZGEBEL, FIDELIO ORCHESTRA CAFE Sonority first in Debussy and Musorgsky, plus profound Brahms cello-and-piano surprises

★★★ ALANIS MORISSETTE - SUCH PRETTY FORKS IN THE ROAD Confessional progress in the Nineties megastar's ongoing mission

★★★ PROXIMA Eva Green reaches for the stars, raises daughter in a sober space movie

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Flash Gordon

Cinematic worlds collide in a gorgeous camp classic

tv

Prodigal Son, Sky 1 review - meet Michael Sheen, psycho killer

Macabre humour and ghoulish killings make this a highly bingeable series

Our Baby: A Modern Miracle, Channel 4 review - trailblazing couple's amazing journey

Jake and Hannah Graf are Britain's first parents who are both transgender

Laurel Canyon, Sky Documentaries review - musical bliss in lotus land

Evocative history of the Los Angeles musical community in the Sixties and Seventies

film

DVD/Blu-ray: Flash Gordon

Cinematic worlds collide in a gorgeous camp classic

Proxima review - family frays before lift-off

Eva Green reaches for the stars while raising a daughter in a sober space movie

Make Up review – coming of age in creepy Cornwall

Deceptive seaside psychothriller-cum-fairytale heralds the arrival of a gifted director

new music

Album: Fantastic Negrito - Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?

There’s another riot going on in the USA

Reissue CDs Weekly: Shellshock Rock

Undiluted box-set salute to punk-era Northern Ireland

Album: Zapatilla - Zapatilla

Thoughtful Balearic dance-pop adds up to a delicious, easy going summer listen

classical

Classical CDs Weekly: Bruckner, Elgar, Prokofiev

Stellar Antipodeans, English late romanticism and Soviet ballet music

Louis Schwizgebel, Fidelio Orchestra Café review – gilt-edged postcards from around the world

Sonority first in Debussy and Musorgsky, plus profound Brahms cello-and-piano surprises

opera

Elektra, Salzburg Festival, Arte review - distancing, but not in the physical sense

Cold, analytical Strauss from Franz Welser-Möst and an odd array of performing styles

First Person: Antonia Bain on directing a short kitchen opera for film

Scottish Opera's digital content producer on making 'The Narcissistic Fish'

Classical music/Opera direct to home 19 – and two before a live audience

Finally, you can be in the room, or space, where it happens in two east London venues

theatre

Scrounger, Finborough Theatre online review – autobiography meets meta-theatre
Athena Stevens’s punchy account of how an airline trashed her wheelchair
The Merchant of Venice, BBC iPlayer review – a parable on the limits of tolerance
Polly Findlay's 2015 take on Shakespeare's trickiest comedy pays dividends
Songs for a New World, The Other Palace Digital review - chimes with our extraordinary 'moment'
Jason Robert Brown's abstract musical offers resonant tales of the unexpected

dance

'She was Paris': RIP Zizi Jeanmaire (1924-2020)

Ballet or cabaret, Zizi's passion was for performance - preferably with her husband

Dancing at Dusk: A Moment with Pina Bausch’s 'The Rite of Spring' review - an explosive African rite

Continents collide in a film documenting an inspired re-staging of a 20th-century masterpiece

'If they had been any closer my face would have misted up': filming 'Men at the Barre'

The director Richard Macer had exclusive access to the male stars of the Royal Ballet. He describes what he discovered

gaming

Rage 2 review – garish but great post-apocalyptic shooter

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

World War Z review - bloodthirsty fun with the zombie apocalypse

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

The Lego Movie 2 Videogame review - everything is not awesome

Few fresh ideas means this movie adaptation treads the same old ground

visual arts

George IV: Art & Spectacle, The Queen's Gallery review - all is aglitter

A sumptuous display from the Royal Collection heralds a top class reopening

Khadija Saye: In This Space We Breathe, 236 Westbourne Grove review - a celebrated series finds new resonance

The artist's most celebrated works launch a new public art project in west London

The Golden Age of Modern Spanish Art, Colnaghi review - the sun shines in the City of Light

A celebration of little known Spanish painters as the London art world emerges again

latest comments

Hidden was a revelation to me, after watching a...

“Centre-Right” ?? How centrist is it to reject...

Thakn you so much for this comprehensive and...

You missed the whole point. This series was not...

The predictable mixture of mediocrity, especially...

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters