tue 22/05/2018

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 22 May 2018
The brightness and colour are deceptive; at its heart, Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina’s Coco is an affecting reflection on death, remembrance and the redemptive power of music,...
David Nice
Monday, 21 May 2018
If Hugo von Hofmannsthal's libretto for Richard Strauss in their joint "comedy for music" is the apogee of elaborately referenced dialogue and stage directions in opera, Richard...
Jasper Rees
Monday, 21 May 2018
Ian Rickson’s route into theatre was not conventional. Growing up in south London, he discovered plays largely through reading them as a student at Essex University. During those...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 21 May 2018
There was a time when Hugh Grant was viewed as a thespian one-trick pony, a floppy-haired fop dithering in a state of perpetual romantic confusion. But things have changed. He was...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 21 May 2018
Bridget Christie tells us at the top of the show that she is a heterosexual, able-bodied, privileged white female – so why is she feeling so discontented? As she explains with...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 21 May 2018
Not the least startling element of Bishop Michael Curry’s house-rockin’ sermon at the royal nuptials was his quotation from the old spiritual “There is a balm in Gilead”....
Katie Colombus
Monday, 21 May 2018
It was no matter that journalist Daniel Hahn dropped out ill at the 11th hour of this "audience with" event. Author Philip...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 21 May 2018
Gretchen Peters arrived in Nashville in the late eighties from Bronxville, New York, where she was born, and Boulder,...
Marina Vaizey
Sunday, 20 May 2018
An Irishman who spent more than half a century in London and then Devon, and a prolific writer – nearly 20 novels and...
Stephen Walsh
Sunday, 20 May 2018
Puccini’s heroines and the rough treatment he hands out to them have come in for plenty of opprobrium over the years. But...
Tom Birchenough
Sunday, 20 May 2018
Ian McEwan has said that he decided to adapt his 2007 novel On Chesil Beach for the screen himself at least partly because...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 20 May 2018
African Scream Contest 2 opens with a burst of distorted guitar suggesting a parallel-world response to The Chambers...
Liz Thomson
Sunday, 20 May 2018
To readers of newspapers and magazines, the name Clancy Sigal will be very familiar, probably as a film reviewer. Addicted...
Thomas H Green
Sunday, 20 May 2018
The welcome to Glasgow audio-visual artist Robbie Thomson’s performance engenders a hefty sense of anticipation. It’s almost...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 20 May 2018
Loner’s opening track “More of the Same” lyrically tracks being at a party where “everyone’s well dressed with a perfect...
Hanna Weibye
Saturday, 19 May 2018
A new Swan Lake at the Royal Ballet is a once-in-a-generation event. Liam Scarlett, choreographer of the production that...
David Nice
Saturday, 19 May 2018
Yes, she sang, with her trademark artistry from the very first notes – four numbers, including a duet with daughter Jacqui...
Bill Knight
Saturday, 19 May 2018
Photo London seems much better this year, mainly because I am at last able to find my way around the labyrinthine Somerset...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 19 May 2018
 Bernstein: On the Waterfront Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Christian Lindberg (BIS)There's much to enjoy in...

★★★ ON CHESIL BEACH Perfect playing in a poignant Ian McEwan adaptation

★★★★ MADAMA BUTTERFLY, GLYNDEBOURNE Perverse staging, outstanding cast

★★★ AS YOU LIKE IT / ★★★★ HAMLET, SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE Leaner ensemble emphasis

★★★ CLANCY SIGAL: THE LONDON LOVER Memoir of the critic who rubbed shoulders, Zelig-like, with players and walk-ons

THEARTSDESK ON VINYL 39 Pink Floyd, Liines, Black Sabbath, Daniel Avery, Elvis Presley & more

★★★★ SWAN LAKE, ROYAL BALLET Liam Scarlett and John Macfarlane's new version of the classic takes wings 

disc of the day

DVD/Blu-ray: Coco

Big-hearted musings on death and memory, disguised as a family blockbuster

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A Very English Scandal, BBC One review - making a drama out of a crisis

Tragedy and farce in glittering recreation of the Jeremy Thorpe saga

Innocent, ITV review - David Collins wants his life back

Wronged husband and father battles to make it right


On Chesil Beach review - perfect playing in a poignant Ian McEwan adaptation

Never such innocence again: Saoirse Ronan excels in a film of very British reserve

The Rosenkavalier film, OAE, Paterson, QEH review - silent-era muddle expertly accompanied

Superb salon-orchestra playing redeems Strauss's lazy work on a meandering silent film

Filmworker review - a life dedicated to Stanley Kubrick

Totally devoted to the master; a fascinating documentary about Kubrick's righthand man Leon Vitali

new music

Reissue CDs Weekly: African Scream Contest 2

No-filler compilation of grooves from Benin

Robbie Thomson XFRMR, Brighton Festival review - lightning strikes out

Tesla electricty-based show doesn't engage as it might in other circumstances


Classical CDs Weekly: Bernstein, Bruckner, Schmitt

Americana from Merseyside, plus Austrian sacred music and fascinating French rarities

The Rosenkavalier film, OAE, Paterson, QEH review - silent-era muddle expertly accompanied

Superb salon-orchestra playing redeems Strauss's lazy work on a meandering silent film

Chopin's Piano, Tiberghien, Kildea, Brighton Festival review - mumbled words, magical music

French pianist runs the gamut of colour and expression, but the framework's shaky


Der Rosenkavalier, Glyndebourne - detailed acting, great singing

More austere drama, but richer voices, in this revival of Richard Jones's tour de force

Madama Butterfly, Glyndebourne review - perverse staging, outstanding cast

Puccinian pathos takes on tragic colouring thanks to a gifted soprano from Moldova

The Rosenkavalier film, OAE, Paterson, QEH review - silent-era muddle expertly accompanied

Superb salon-orchestra playing redeems Strauss's lazy work on a meandering silent film


Ian Rickson: 'I'm an introvert, I want to stop talking about myself' - interview
The director staging Brian Friel's Translations at the National talks about Ireland, England and the changing face of theatre
As You Like It / Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Globe review - ensemble emphasis sets a leaner style
Michelle Terry's new company ups gender fluidity, charts new directions


Swan Lake, Royal Ballet review - beautiful, heartfelt

Liam Scarlett and John Macfarlane's new version of the classic takes wings

Elizabeth, Barbican review - royal romance under scrutiny

Words and music form an equal alliance with dance to probe the love life of the Virgin Queen


Sarah Kendall, Soho Theatre review - a superb storyteller

Australian stand-up muses on the lottery of life

Danny Baker, Touring review - boy, can he talk

Radio personality gives it the verbals


Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to celebrate Brighton Festival!

Enter our competition to win a spectacular weekend at England's finest arts festival

God of War review - action adventure epic sets new standards

Father-son adventure is a slick and gorgeous spectacle

visual arts

Highlights from Photo London 2018 - something old, something new

Apps, augmented reality and Henry Fox Talbot rub shoulders at London's annual photo festival

The New Royal Academy and Tacita Dean, Landscape review - a brave beginning to a new era

From an institution known for excellent exhibitions to a hub of learning and debate

David Shrigley/Brett Goodroad, Brighton Festival review - showcases puncturing the medium's pretence

An exhibition and an event that both seem keen to democratise the artistic process


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