tue 16/04/2024

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
Ludicrous plotting and a tangled skein of coincidences hold no terrors for the makers of this frequently baffling French drama. Nonetheless, its story of a bizarre cult, a...
Aleks Sierz
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
I’ve never been one for school reunions, but even if I had kept in touch with former classmates I think that American playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s The Comeuppance might,...
Thomas H Green
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
VINYL OF THE MONTHLondon Afrobeat Collective Esengo (Canopy)The weather has not been kind to the UK lately, pelting it daily with endless drizzle and gloom. So wrap your ears...
India Lewis
Tuesday, 16 April 2024
Artist and writer, Heather McCalden, has produced her first book-length work. The Observable Universe examines, variously, her familial history, the death of her parents to AIDS,...
Gary Naylor
Monday, 15 April 2024
Lockdown feels more like a dream now: empty streets; bright, scarless skies; pan-banging at 8pm. Did it all happen? One part of our brains insists that it did; another resists...
Helen Hawkins
Monday, 15 April 2024
Shakespeare’s plays have ever been meat for masher-uppers, from the bowdlerising Victorians to the modern filmed-theatre cycles of Ivo Van Hove. And Sir John Falstaff, as Orson...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 15 April 2024
At a time when conflicts in the Middle East are reaching fever pitch, Emel Mathlouthi represents hope. Her new album MRA, is...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 14 April 2024
Brazzaville is on the north side of the Congo River. It is the capital of the Republic of the Congo. Kinshasa is on the...
Joseph Middleton
Saturday, 13 April 2024
Everyone needs friends and everything is connected. As we throw the doors open on to the 2024 Leeds Lieder Festival I am...
Katie Colombus
Saturday, 13 April 2024
For a singer so often sampled in electronic dance music, it’s a high-end twist to replace synth, claps and bass drum with...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 13 April 2024
 Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 National Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda (NSO)I’m old enough to remember the BBC...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 13 April 2024
After a long period of relative inactivity, the last five years has had A Certain Ratio getting the bit between their teeth...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 12 April 2024
Sam Taylor-Johnson has fashioned her biopic of Amy Winehouse with great care and affection, but sometimes, as she shows her...
David Nice
Friday, 12 April 2024
Purple patches flourished in the first half of this admirable programme: it could hardly have been otherwise given Sheku...
Veronica Lee
Friday, 12 April 2024
Spoofing movies or movie genres has been done before, but Six Chick Flicks goes the extra mile. It's a funny, frenetic and...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 12 April 2024
Alex Garland’s fourth movie as writer/director is a chilling glimpse of an American dystopia, fortuitously timed for the run...
Graham Rickson
Friday, 12 April 2024
The Teachers’ Lounge should really have been translated into English as The Staffroom, but that’s a minor gripe. Focussing...
Tom Carr
Friday, 12 April 2024
For the past almost two years, Maggie Rogers has taken an unexpectedly special place in my heart and musical tastes. Upon...
Boyd Tonkin
Thursday, 11 April 2024
“Site-specific” performance locations rarely come more atmospheric, or evocative, than this one. Beyond the East India Dock...
 

★★★ GUNTER, ROYAL COURT Jolly tale of witchcraft and misogyny

★★★ CARMEN, ROYAL OPERA Strong women, no sexual chemistry and little stage focus

★★★ CASSIE AND THE LIGHTS, SOUTHWARK PLAYHOUSE Warm, funny and moving ensemble play about three sisters finding a way to live

★★★ RIPLEY, NETFLIX Highsmith's horribly fascinating sociopath adrift in a sea of noir

PAUL JESSON The actor on survival, strength, and the healing potential of art

TALLINN MUSIC WEEK Art-pop, accordions and a perfect techno hideaway

★★★★★ DAPHNIS ET CHLOE, TENEBRAE, LSO, PAPPANO, BARBICAN All details outstanding in the lavish canvas of a giant masterpiece

★★★ JULIA HOLTER, EARTH THEATRE Loosening up can take time

★★★ BLU-RAY: HAPPY END Technically brilliant black comedy hasn't aged well

★★★★ FABIANA PALLADINO - FABIANA PALLADINO A remarkably sleek and sophisticated debut

disc of the day

Album: EMEL - MRA

Tunisian-American singer's latest is fired with feminism and global electro-pop maximalism

tv

Anthracite, Netflix review - murderous mysteries in the French Alps

Who can unravel the ghastly secrets of the town of Lévionna?

Ripley, Netflix review - Highsmith's horribly fascinating sociopath adrift in a sea of noir

Its black and white cinematography is striking, but eventually wearying

Scoop, Netflix review - revisiting a Right Royal nightmare

Gripping dramatisation of Newsnight's fateful Prince Andrew interview

film

Back to Black review - rock biopic with a loving but soft touch

Marisa Abela evokes the genius of Amy Winehouse, with a few warts minimised

Civil War review - God help America

A horrifying State of the Union address from Alex Garland

The Teachers' Lounge - teacher-pupil relationships under the microscope

Thoughtful, painful meditation on status, crime, and power

new music

Album: EMEL - MRA

Tunisian-American singer's latest is fired with feminism and global electro-pop maximalism

Music Reissues Weekly: Congo Funk! - Sound Madness From The Shores Of The Mighty Congo River

Assiduous exploration of the interconnected musical ecosystems of Brazzaville and Kinshasa

classical

First Person: Leeds Lieder Festival director and pianist Joseph Middleton on a beloved organisation back from the brink

Arts Council funding restored after the blow of 2023, new paths are being forged

Classical CDs: Nymphs, magots and buckgoats

Epic symphonies, popular music from 17th century London and an engrossing tribute to a great Spanish pianist

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Philharmonia Chorus, RPO, Petrenko, RFH review - poetic cello, blazing chorus

Atmospheric Elgar and Weinberg, but Rachmaninov's 'The Bells' takes the palm

opera

Carmen, Royal Opera review - strong women, no sexual chemistry and little stage focus

Damiano Michieletto's new production of Bizet’s masterpiece is surprisingly invertebrate

La scala di seta, RNCM review - going heavy on the absinthe?

Rossini’s one-acter helps young performers find their talents to amuse

theatre

The Comeuppance, Almeida Theatre review - remembering high-school high jinks
Latest from American penman Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is less than the sum of its parts
Player Kings, Noel Coward Theatre review - inventive showcase for a peerless theatrical knight
Ian McKellen's Falstaff thrives in Robert Icke's entertaining remix of the Henry IV plays
Cassie and the Lights, Southwark Playhouse review - powerful, affecting, beautifully acted tale of three sisters in care
Heart-rending chronicle of difficult, damaged lives that refuses to provide glib answers

dance

MacMillan Celebrated, Royal Ballet review - out of mothballs, three vintage works to marvel at

Less-known pieces spanning the career of a great choreographer underline his greatness

Carmen, English National Ballet review - lots of energy, even violence, but nothing new to say

Johan Inger's take on Carmen tries but fails to make a point about male violence

WAKE, National Stadium, Dublin review - a rainbow river of dance, song, and so much else

THISISPOPBABY serves up a joyous tapestry of Ireland contemporary and traditional

Books

Heather McCalden: The Observable Universe review - reflections from a damaged life

An artist pens a genre-spanning work of tender inconclusiveness

Dorian Lynskey: Everything Must Go review - it's the end of the world as we know it

Authoritative account of how the apocalypse has always been just around the corner

Andrew O'Hagan: Caledonian Road review - London's Dickensian return

Grotesque and insightful, O’Hagan’s broad cast of characters illuminates a city’s iniquities

visual arts

Jane Harris: Ellipse, Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine MÉCA, Bordeaux review - ovals to the fore

Persistence and conviction in the works of the late English painter

Sargent and Fashion, Tate Britain review - portraiture as a performance

London’s elite posing dressed up to the nines

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