fri 08/12/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Thursday, 07 December 2023
It could have been a winner: a charismatic star soprano of great emotional and interpretative intelligence, a top pianist given a little space to shine on his own, a programme...
Tim Cumming
Thursday, 07 December 2023
The cat in the hat with the mellifluous voice delivers his Christmas Wish for the festive season, his first Christmas album, and it sounds more or less as you would imagine it –...
Ed Vulliamy
Wednesday, 06 December 2023
A decade has passed since Paul Lewis concluded an endeavour of a kind never previously undertaken: to perform, over two and a half years and across four continents, every work...
Heather Neill
Wednesday, 06 December 2023
As the audience enters, thick mist envelopes the thrust stage and jazz music fills the theatre. The set, designed by Moi Tran, consists of a sparsely furnished but spacious room,...
Nick Hasted
Wednesday, 06 December 2023
The Boxing Day release of Michael Mann’s first feature in eight years, Ferrari, finally follows up Blackhat, a Chris Hemsworth-starring cyber-thriller dismissed on its 2015...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 05 December 2023
Folklore tends to depict Dublin as a convivial and picturesque city, with a bar on every corner full of revellers on wild stag weekends, but that’s not what we find in Kin. This...
Bernard Hughes
Tuesday, 05 December 2023
There’s a game called Whamageddon, where people see how deep into December they can go without hearing “Last Christmas”. I’m...
Helen Hawkins
Tuesday, 05 December 2023
Kwame Owusu’s 55-minute one-hander does just what it says on the tin: it features a young student who dreams he is drowning...
Helen Hawkins
Monday, 04 December 2023
A sun deck with seven pale-green padded loungers is the latest setting for the latest National Theatre premiere from ...
David Nice
Monday, 04 December 2023
If ever a marriage was made in heaven, it would have to be the one between Lucy Crowe’s beleaguered Queen Rodelinda and...
Gary Naylor
Monday, 04 December 2023
It’s 2012 and the London Olympics might as well be happening on the Moon for Jen and Stacey. In fact, you could say the same...
Natalia Franklin Pierce
Monday, 04 December 2023
Despite my double-barrelled surname (my parents weren't married when I was born – so I was given both their names), a career...
Liz Thomson
Monday, 04 December 2023
Down memory lane, taking us back some six decades to the Buffalo Springfield, the latest Neil Young album's almost 50...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 03 December 2023
Myriam Gendron's debut album Not So Deep As A Well was originally released in 2014 by Feeding Tube, a US label run by the...
Nick Hasted
Saturday, 02 December 2023
There’s a thread of bright magic running through British cinema, from Powell and Pressburger through Nic Roeg, Derek Jarman...
Graham Fuller
Saturday, 02 December 2023
As the title character in Eileen, set in a miserable Massachusetts backwater in the days before Christmas 1964, Thomasin...
Aleks Sierz
Saturday, 02 December 2023
It’s an elementary fact that Dickens sells at this time of year — look at all the perennial Christmas Carols sprouting up...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 02 December 2023
Fallen Leaves is Aki Kaurismäki’s 20th film, the one the Finnish director made after he said he’d retired from cinema...
Kieron Tyler
Saturday, 02 December 2023
The realisation that Shirley Hurt is the name assumed by Canada’s Sophia Ruby Katz for recording helps explain why her debut...

★★★★ INFINITE LIFE, NATIONAL THEATRE Beguiling new comedy about a world of pain

★★★ MACBETH, THE DEPOT War in a warehouse scores on its beautiful line readings & spectacle

★★★ DREAMING AND DROWNING, BUSH THEATRE Dense and intense monologue about Black queer identity

★★★ TURNER PRIZE, TOWNER EASTBOURNE Four contestants strike a sombre mood

★★★★★ POWELL AND PRESSBURGER: IN PROSPERO'S ROOM A magical day at Derek Jarman’s Dungeness cottage, dancing with the ghosts of Shakespeare, Powell and Pressburger

★★★★ £1 THURSDAYS, FINBOROUGH THEATRE Beautifully delivered by two sensational leads 

MARIA CALLAS AT 100 La Divina electrifying in live performances spanning 15 years

★★★★★ FALLEN LEAVES Aki Kaurismaki returns to the cinema with a touching tale of love


★★★ PETER PAN GOES WRONG, LYRIC THEATRE Adult panto delivered as jolly chaos


disc of the day

Album: Gregory Porter - Christmas Wish

Hallelulah: Christmas gets the Gregory treatment


Kin, BBC One review - in Dublin's not-so-fair city

Superb cast and powerful writing fuel this gripping gangland drama

Boat Story, BBC One review - once upon a time in Yorkshire

New Williams brothers thriller is violent, far-fetched and extremely watchable

The Crown, Season 6, Netflix review - royal epic in a vain search for authenticity

It looks like news photos coming to life, but the dialogue and concept still jar


Blu-ray: Blackhat

A Chris Hemsworth-starring, bone-jarringly physical cyber-thriller is the Michael Mann that got away

Powell and Pressburger: In Prospero's Room

A magical day at Derek Jarman’s Dungeness cottage, dancing with the ghosts of Shakespeare, Powell and Pressburger

Eileen review - a dank fairytale film noir

A naive prison worker crushes on a chic colleague in William Oldroyd's disturbing thriller

new music

Album: Gregory Porter - Christmas Wish

Hallelulah: Christmas gets the Gregory treatment

Album: Neil Young - Before and After

Another one for Young completists

Music Reissues Weekly: Myriam Gendron - Not So Deep As A Well

The surprise reappearance of the Canadian stylist’s interpretations of Dorothy Parker’s poems


Natalie Dessay, Philippe Cassard, Milton Court review - flashes of magic

More downtime than expected in an intelligent programme

Paul Lewis, Wigmore Hall review - Schubert sonatas revisited

A meditation on how the pianist handles what he calls 'inconsequentiality'

Voces8 Foundation Choir and Orchestra, Smith, Voces8 Centre review - joyous Christmas music by Bach

Seasonal greatest hits selection with a spotlight on spectacular trumpeting


Rodelinda, The English Concert, Bicket, Saffron Hall review - perfect team helps us stay the long Handel course

Saffron Hall celebrates its 10th anniversary in the greatest possible style

Gazzaniga's Don Giovanni, Royal College of Music review - a modest one-acter overloaded

Good young singers get more opportunities than the actual work offers

Jephtha, Royal Opera review - uncomfortable sacrifice oratorio not seismic enough

Sobriety and darkness eclipse Handel's dramatic vividness, despite strong performances


The Homecoming, Young Vic Theatre review - Pinter's disturbing masterpiece is given a low-key revival
Unsettling investigation of patriarchal family and sexual relationships has uneven force
Dreaming and Drowning, Bush Theatre - dense and intense monologue about Black queer identity
Terrific showcase for writer-director Kwame Owusu and his performer
Infinite Life, National Theatre review - beguiling new comedy about a world of pain
Annie Baker delivers a richly satisfying piece about hungry women


The Dante Project, Royal Ballet review - brave but flawed take on the Divine Comedy returns

Hell and Purgatory get vivid if diffuse music from Thomas Adès, but Heaven is pallid

The Limit, Linbury Theatre review - a dance-theatre romcom that lacks both rom and com

An attempt to amplify a playscript with dance suggests the play should be left to speak for itself

Anemoi / The Cellist, Royal Ballet review - a feast of music in a neat double bill

Rachmaninov and Elgar take the laurels in a brace of prize-winning one-act ballets


Trevor Noah: Off the Record, O2 review - welcome return to standup for the polyglot motormouth

Back on tour, the former TV host has lost none of his charisma and charm


Anne Michaels: Held review - one story across time

Fragments span the genration gap in this daring family saga of inheritance and trauma

Ishion Hutchinson: School of Instructions review - learning against estrangement

A vivid eulogy for the Jamaican soldiers of the British West Indies Regiment

Jesse Darling: Virgins review - going straight

A Turner Prize-nominee turns his hand to poetry with this visceral first collection

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