sat 27/02/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Sebastian Scotney
Saturday, 27 February 2021
The clever programming of the “Unwrapped” series has been transformational for the reputation of Kings Place. Ever since the Bach series in 2013 these year-long sequences of...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 27 February 2021
 The Way of Light – The Music of Nigel Hess (Orchid Classics)You’ve probably heard Nigel Hess’s music without realising it. He’s scored multiple RSC productions and has...
Kieron Tyler
Saturday, 27 February 2021
Flock ends with “Solarised”, a glorious five-plus minutes excursion into retro-futurist pop with the artistic smarts of Saint Etienne and Stereolab. Snappy, toe-tapping drums and...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 26 February 2021
One of the sadnesses of covid is that films like Judas and the Black Messiah have been held over for release in the hope that cinemas will reopen. Immersive, intense...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 26 February 2021
Everyone (well, almost everyone) can tell a joke. But being a comic – holding an audience rapt, getting a roomful of strangers to like you and laugh at your material – takes real...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 26 February 2021
As the events of last year made clear, the police have a problem with race on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK, BAME people are more than twice as likely to die in police...
Mark Kidel
Friday, 26 February 2021
John Benjamin Power (formerly half of Fuck Buttons) opens his new opus with glittering synth arpeggios – reminiscent of the...
Daniel Lewis
Thursday, 25 February 2021
Joseph Andras wastes no time. “Not a proud and forthright rain, no. A stingy rain. Mean. Playing dirty.” This is how his...
Laura De Lisle
Thursday, 25 February 2021
I’ll admit, I’ve never been a fan of murder mysteries. Patience is not one of my virtues; if I can’t work something out in...
Thomas H Green
Thursday, 25 February 2021
A decade ago, Alice Cooper reconnected with his roots. He created a sequel to his 1975 album Welcome to my Nightmare with...
Veronica Lee
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Lockdown has been mostly pants for live performers, comics included. There was that brief foray into open-air performances...
Miranda Heggie
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Returning to the Wigmore Hall for another socially distanced concert, Edinburgh-born guitarist Sean Shibe brought a...
Laura De Lisle
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
In her 15-year career, Plaistow-born Andi Osho has worked in theatre, TV and stand-up, and is the only contestant to have...
Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Frànçois Marry’s sixth album as Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains evokes warm days spent lounging in fields of clover...
Tom Birchenough
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
The four monologues that make up Barnes’ People were filmed in the grand surroundings of the Theatre Royal, Windsor, and...
David Nice
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Young performers seeking platforms for their careers have had it especially rough over the past year, most slipping through...
Boyd Tonkin
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Havana, 1993. Far away, the fall of the Soviet empire has suddenly stripped Fidel Castro’s Cuba of subsidy and protection,...
Tom Birchenough
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
There’s a striking interview among the extras for this Criterion edition of Russian director Larisa Shepitko’s fourth and...
Adam Sweeting
Monday, 22 February 2021
Belfast-based thriller Bloodlands comes from the pen of first-time TV writer Chris Brandon, though he may find some of his...

★★★★ STAND UP AND DELIVER, CHANNEL 4 Comedians teach celebrities stand-up

★★★★ KARLA SUÁREZ: HAVANA YEAR ZERO Maths, phones and mysteries in down-at-heel Cuba

★★★★★ JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH Powerful biopic restores Civil Rights story

★★★★ SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE CASE OF THE HUNG PARLIAMENT Playful interactive show casts audience members as amateur detectives 

★★★ ALICE COOPER - DETROIT STORIES 50+ years into his career the veteran shock rocker's latest is contagiously entertaining

★★★★ BLANCK MASS - IN FURNEAUX Healing the disorientation of pandemic times

★★★★★ TYPICAL, SOHO THEATRE ONLINE Powerfully poetic and painful

THEARTSDESK Q&A: ANDI OSHO Actor and comedian on her debut novel 'Asking for a Friend'

disc of the day

Album: Jane Weaver - Flock

The idiosyncratic singer-songwriter embraces poppiness and dance grooves


Stand Up and Deliver, Channel 4 review - how to make a comic

Comedians teach celebrities the art of stand-up

Bloodlands, BBC One review - ghosts of the Troubles return to poison the present

James Nesbitt stars in Chris Brandon's dark and twisty thriller

Framing Britney Spears, Sky Documentaries review - the rollercoaster ride of the former teen icon

The struggle to survive the sexism and savagery of showbusiness


Judas and the Black Messiah review - powerful biopic

Well crafted biopic brings another key episode in America's civil rights history into the light

Blu-ray: The Ascent

Rich insights into Larisa Shepitko's final masterpiece in a new Criterion edition

Blu-ray: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson's tragi-comic European epic returns

new music

Album: Jane Weaver - Flock

The idiosyncratic singer-songwriter embraces poppiness and dance grooves

Album: Blanck Mass - In Furneaux

Healing the disorientation of our pandemic times

Album: Alice Cooper - Detroit Stories

50+ years into his career the veteran shock rocker's latest is contagiously entertaining


Tony and the Young Artists, Royal Opera/Liebeslieder Waltzes, Blackheath Halls online review - love and joy

Much-needed platforms for talented youth to make its way in difficult times

Der Freischütz, Bavarian State Opera online review – marksmen as marketeers

Tcherniakov’s staging heightens the psychological drama, but his feminist angle falls flat

Hansel and Gretel, Scottish Opera online - bewitching feast for ears but not eyes

Rhian Lois and Kitty Whately excel as babes in the cheap wood of a cut-price production


Typical, Soho Theatre online review - powerfully poetic and painful
Film version of 2019 monologue about institutional racism is brilliant
Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament review – choose-your-own whodunnit
Playful interactive show casts audience members as amateur detectives
Barnes' People, Original Theatre Company online review - intriguing quartet of monologues revived
Jemma Redgrave and Adrian Scarborough excel in Peter Barnes radio solos brought to screen


Best of 2020: Dance

In a perilous year, bright ideas and perseverance sometimes prevailed

The Nutcracker: an end-of-year obituary

It's been a rough ride for the seasonal cash cow. Here's how ballet companies coped

The Seven Deadly Sins, Opera North online review - viscerally thrilling

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's indictment of capitalism in a vibrant new production


Joseph Andras: Tomorrow They Won't Dare to Murder Us review - injustice and tenderness in the Algerian War

This thriller-ish debut revives the only European executed in the French-Algerian conflict

theartsdesk Q&A: Amina Cain on her first novel and her eternal fascination with suggestion

The American writer discusses 'Indelicacy' and characters who are flawed and unfixed

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