When my brother and I were teenagers growing up in the arse end of nowheresville — Bromsgrove to its friend — we were mainly looked after by Nanny VHS.
It’s been too long since I saw The Merry Widow. I have been thinking that for some time, and the superb new production of it by Opera North only made me feel that we should be able to go to more performances of it than we get a chance to. It has been newly and wittily translated by Kit Hesketh-Harvey, and the production is in the safe hands of Giles Havergal, with set and costume designs by Leslie Travers.
I couldn’t wait for this one. Nina Raine’s debut play Rabbit was a blast. With exquisite scalpel-work she dissected the romantic entanglements of a quartet of posh young professionals. Her new effort, Tribes, opens on similar terrain. A family of bourgeois Londoners are seated around the dinner table punishing each other with rhetorical flick-knives. Dad and Mum are writers. Ruth is a jobless soprano. Dan is wasting his youth smoking skunk and writing an impenetrable thesis on linguistics.
So, a funny thing happened on the way home from the screening: I bumped into Paul Whitehouse, who has a cameo in Burke and Hare, and congratulated him on an extremely convincing tumble he takes down two flights of stairs (it hits just the right note, somewhere between the pantomime and The Exorcist).
Sometimes an exhibition does what it says on the tin. The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy, the Ashmolean’s first major show post-revamp, is such an exhibition.
In an upstairs room in an unfrequented corner of Zurich’s Kunsthaus, there is a portrait of one of the unsung heroes of modern art.
In May 1904 a young artist called James McBryde wrote excitedly to his great friend M.R. James. ‘I don’t think I have ever done anything I liked better than illustrating your stories. To begin with I sat down and learned advanced perspective and the laws of shadows...’
Andrew Lambirth meets Leon Kossoff, an artist of few words who prefers to let his work speak for itself
There have been the usual moans about the BBC spending £100,000 on coverage of the Chilean miners.
A rare but threatened species, in dire need of a campaign to save it from extinction, could be heard on Saturday night.
Once upon a time, in America, a group of dancers and performance artists gathered in the Judson Church Theater and challenged long-held artistic tenets.
Thank God for the critics.
Red is not a very good film and neither does it try to be.
Andrew Lambirth finds the National Gallery’s new exhibition on Canaletto and his contemporaries both illuminating and enjoyable
The Singapore Symphony Orchestra is like a teenage athlete just about to hit peak form. This could be one of the great orchestras of the 21st century.
One surefire sign of maturity is the acceptance that you have friends who are more talented than you are.
One of the few professional stand-up comics I’ve met who wasn’t bitter, twisted, malign, graceless, grumpy, chippy, egomaniacal and slightly to the left of Stalin is Mark Billingham.
Jude Kelly missed a trick when she set off in search of that very British creation, the battleaxe, for this week’s Archive on 4.
Regime change at Hampstead Theatre. The era of special measures is over and Ed Hall, son of Sir Peter, has taken charge. Hall’s debut show is daring in its complete lack of audacity.
The Dance Umbrella season has always been a unique window on international choreography, as well as a great platform for national talent.
In the first retrospective of his work for nearly 40 years, Peter Lanyon (1918–64) is given the kind of recognition long his due.