Arts

Alexander Skarsgard as Becker in BBC1's The Little Drummer Girl

Lucky the director of Little Drummer Girl is an ‘auteur’ or you might call the first episode corny

3 November 2018 9:00 am

The Little Drummer Girl (BBC1, Sunday) is the new John le Carré adaptation from the production company that brought us…

A large cast is mostly led by shouty men, who lead shouty meetings: Mike Leigh’s Peterloo

It's like being trapped in an episode of Poldark: Peterloo reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

Mike Leigh’s Peterloo is one of those films where you keep waiting for it to get good, and waiting and…

A major modernist hiding in plain sight: composer Ennio Morricone at 91

‘Darmstadt taught me how to compose’: Ennio Morricone interviewed

27 October 2018 9:00 am

For all his commercial success, Ennio Morricone is a modernist of uncompromising seriousness, as Richard Bratby finds out

Stuffed doll in Edwardian-style black dress with stiletto through face, south Devon, England , 1909–13

The objects that sound witchiest on paper just look sad: Spellbound reviewed

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Just in front of me, visiting Spellbound at the Ashmolean last week, was a very rational boy of about seven…

English Touring Opera's handsome production of Dido and Aeneas. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

In praise of the English Touring Opera — a minor miracle of the arts world

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Wolverhampton; Workington; Blackburn; Sheffield; Lancaster; Hackney. Every year English Touring Opera does what our national opera company doesn’t: packs up…

The Maze Prison in 2006. Photo: REX/ Shutterstock

What are the writers of The Archers trying to achieve with the Freddie Pargetter story?

27 October 2018 9:00 am

‘I’m not here to rehabilitate,’ says Pamela, who teaches creative writing to prisoners in Northern Ireland. She doesn’t think of…

Sam Troughton and Claudie Blakley in Nina Raine's Stories. Photo: Sarah Lee

The Inheritance isn’t theatre — it’s mesmerically boring TV

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Stories by Nina Raine is a bun-in-the-oven comedy with a complex back narrative. Anna, in her mid-thirties, had a boyfriend…

Joseph Caley and Alina Cojocaru in English National Ballet’s Manon

Why does the English National Ballet bother taking Manon to the provinces?

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Like it or not, provincial ballet audiences love a story they can hum and any director planning to tour a…

Former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and his wife Anisa with his children (l-r) Maher, Bashar, Bassel, Majd and Bushra. Photo: Louai Beshara/ AFP/ Getty Images

How did mild-mannered eye doctor Bashar al-Assad end up a mass murderer?

27 October 2018 9:00 am

‘How did this mild-mannered eye doctor end up killing hundreds of thousands of people?’ someone wondered about Bashar al-Assad in…

Mercury rising: Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody

A succession of predigested clichés: Bohemian Rhapsody reviewed

27 October 2018 9:00 am

There is a moment in Bohemian Rhapsody when the screen swims with print. The reviews for Queen’s epic new single…

Gothic revival: Strawberry Hill House

Strawberry Hill revived

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Michael Snodin celebrates the splendours of Strawberry Hill revived

‘Children’s Games’,
1560, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Wonderful, overwhelming, once-in-a-lifetime display of Bruegels – get on a plane now

20 October 2018 9:00 am

‘About suffering’, W.H. Auden memorably argued in his poem ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’, the old masters ‘were never wrong’. Great…

The only ones to come out of Dogman well are the dogs

Bleak, unflinching, oppressive, violent – and magical: Dogman reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Matteo Garrone’s Dogman, which is Italy’s entry for the foreign language Oscar next year, is bleak, unflinching, oppressive, masculine (very),…

Sian Brooke and Alex Hassell in 'I'm Not Running'. Photo: Mark Douet

Women should boycott David Hare’s slanderous new play: I’m Not Running reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Sir David Hare’s weird new play sets out to chronicle the history of the Labour movement from 1996 to the…

When haddocks flirt, they sound like a motorbike revving up

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Flies buzzing, strange rustling, crunching sounds, and then the most chilling screech you’ll have heard all week. Vultures were feeding…

‘Pit Brow Lasses’, 2015, by David Venables

Women’s toplessness caused less offence to Victorians than their trousers

20 October 2018 9:00 am

‘They did not look like women, or at least a stranger new to the district might easily have been misled…

Kazuo Ishiguro winning the Booker Prize in 1989. Photo: Alex Lentati/ Associated Newspapers/ REX/ Shutterstock

An enjoyably gossipy whisk through half a century of fierce rivalries and bruised egos

20 October 2018 9:00 am

At the beginning of Barneys, Books and Bust Ups: 50 Years of the Booker Prize (BBC4), Kirsty Wark’s voiceover promised…

Going to the wall: ‘Jane Avril’, 1899, by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

Lautrec often made the stars in his posters look appalling – but they kept coming back

20 October 2018 9:00 am

You don’t need to be much of a psychologist to understand the trajectory of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Born to aristocratic…

Thrilling, heartbreaking music drama — you need to see it: Sarah-Jane Lewis as Annie with the chorus in ENO’s Porgy and Bess

Thrilling, heartbreaking music drama – you need to see it: ENO’s Porgy and Bess reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess springs to life fully formed, and pulls you in before a word has been sung. A…

Wilhelm Furtwängler shaking hands with Hitler after a concert in 1939. Photo: Ullstein Bild/ Getty Images

The truth about Wilhelm Furtwängler

20 October 2018 9:00 am

The morning after the first night of Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides in May 1995, I received a call from Otto…

Laudably perverse – maybe album of the year: Cypress Hill's Elephants on Acid reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Grade: A+ Easily album title of the year, maybe album of the year. A true bravura offering from these supposedly…

‘I go against my instincts to be just an actor’

‘I should just shut up’: Dominic West on #MeToo and the perils of talking politics

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Dominic West talks to Melissa Kite about #MeToo and the perils of discussing politics

‘Your Britain: Fight for it Now’, 1942, by Abram Games

Is modernist architecture not good for our health?

13 October 2018 9:00 am

Are our buildings killing us? Stephen Bayley reports

The ‘soul canoe’ from New Guinea is a sculpture as powerful as any by Brancusi

Full of fabulous, but baffling, things: Oceania reviewed

13 October 2018 9:00 am

At six in the morning of 20 July 1888, Robert Louis Stevenson first set eyes on a Pacific Island. As…

Radio 4 treats its radio listeners as second-best in favour of those who listen to podcasts

13 October 2018 9:00 am

How very odd of Radio 4 not only to release The Ratline as a podcast before broadcasting it on the…