Arts

Rupert Graves and Colin Mcfarlane in Pinter's 'hilarious sketch' Victoria Station. Photo: Marc Brenner

One masterpiece, one dud and one interesting rediscovery: Pinter Five reviewed

19 January 2019 9:00 am

One masterpiece, one dud, and one interesting rediscovery. That’s Pinter Five. Victoria Station is a hilarious sketch which might have…

‘March’, 1939, by Grant Wood

The joy of prints

19 January 2019 9:00 am

Artists’ prints have been around for almost as long as the printed book. Indeed, they have similar origins in Gutenberg’s…

Philipp Fürhofer's handsome and often ingenious designs for the Royal Opera's overcomplicated new production of The Queen of Spades. Photo: ROH 2018 / Catherine Ashmore

Never quite pivots from thesis to drama: Royal Opera’s Queen of Spades reviewed

19 January 2019 9:00 am

We increasingly accept the collision between life and art. Whether we’re puzzling over the real identity of Elena Ferrante, choosing…

Pounds of flesh: Takayasu throws Takakeisho to the ground to win the 2018 Kyushu tournament in Fukuoka

The balletic, bum-baring rituals of sumo

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Dance critic Louise Levene investigates the balletic, bum-baring rituals of sumo

Divine comedy: Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy

The best tribute possible to the greatest comics ever: Stan & Ollie reviewed

12 January 2019 9:00 am

You mess with Laurel and Hardy at your peril. Their fan base is essentially the entire world. Samuel Beckett adored…

Neil MacGregor shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron a model of the new Humboldt Forum. Photo: Carsten Koall / Getty Images

Neil MacGregor’s intense, impassioned new radio programme is shamelessly anti-Brexit

12 January 2019 9:00 am

I suspect that whether or not you admire Neil MacGregor’s latest series for Radio 4, As Others See Us (produced…

Doors drummer John Densmore and Police percussionist Stewart Copeland. Photo: BBC / Somethin’ Else Sound Directions Ltd / Nico Wasserman

According to BBC4, what was one of the 'most important inventions in modern music'?

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Here’s a tricky quiz question for you. What word completes this sentence from a BBC4 documentary on Friday: ‘The world…

Pro-Trump propaganda at the Donmar Warehouse by Lynn Nottage. Photo: Johan Persson

A masterpiece of pro-Trump propaganda: Sweat at the Donmar Warehouse reviewed

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Sweat, set in the Pennsylvanian rust belt, looks at a blue-collar community threatened by a factory closure. The script uses…

‘The Artist with his Wife Margaret and Eldest Daughter Mary’, c.1748, by Thomas Gainsborough

It’s hard to think of finer images of children than Gainsborough’s

12 January 2019 9:00 am

When he knew that he was dying, Thomas Gainsborough selected an unfinished painting from some years before and set it…

Writers of some of the best-loved programmes in British television history: Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement

Dick Clement on Porridge, Kirk Douglas and having seven projects on the go

5 January 2019 9:00 am

Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais are still going strong after more than 50 years. James Walton discovers their secret

Serial's Sarah Koenig

How did the BBC’s podcast Unexpected Fluids ever get made?

5 January 2019 9:00 am

You may have noticed the flood of podcasts that’s been pouring out of the BBC since the launch of its…

The triumph of hope over experience: the Peanuts gang

Comparing Peanuts to existentialism is an insult – to Peanuts

5 January 2019 9:00 am

For the hundredth, possibly the thousandth, time, Lucy van Pelt offers to hold the football for Charlie Brown so he…

A horror show that appeals to the intellect but not the gut: The Tell-Tale Heart reviewed

5 January 2019 9:00 am

The Tell-Tale Heart is based on a teeny-weeny short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The full text appears in the…

January as you would wish it: Royal Ballet’s Les Patineurs reviewed

5 January 2019 9:00 am

The Royal Ballet’s Les Patineurs is January as you would wish it. No slush, no new-year sales, no streaming chest…

Flat-out fabulous: Emma Stone as Abigail Hill in The Favourite

I don’t just recommend you see The Favourite. I command it

5 January 2019 9:00 am

The Favourite is a period romp set during the reign of Queen Anne, but it’s not your average period romp.…

‘The Nativity’, 1470–75, by Piero della Francesca

The fascinating story behind one of the best-loved depictions of the Nativity

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Martin Gayford tells the fascinating story behind one of art history’s best-loved depictions of the Nativity

Charles J. Tebbutt at Littleport, January 1893, unknown photographer

A short history of ice skating

15 December 2018 9:00 am

In landscape terms, the Fens don’t have much going for them. What you can say for them, though, is that…

The people have not forgotten me: the exiled Empress of Iran interviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

The widow of the Shah of Iran was painted by Warhol and assembled the greatest collection of art outside of Europe. Will Heaven meets her

King's College Choir rehearsing for the Christmas Eve 'A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols'. Photo credit: Geoff Robinson Photography / REX / Shutterstock

All hail Mrs C.F. Alexander, author of 'Once in Royal David's City'

15 December 2018 9:00 am

In this 200th anniversary of the birth of Mrs C.F. Alexander, author of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, all of…

True stories: Gary Kemp in 1971

Gary Kemp on pop, Pre-Raphaelites, politics and playing Pinter

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Gary Kemp is enjoying a comeback. He talks to Michael Hann about pop, the Pre-Raphaelites, politics and playing Pinter

Practically perfect in every way: Joel Dawson and Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns

I had my spite at the ready – but had to put most of it away: Mary Poppins Returns reviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

So, Mary Poppins returns, and I was, of course, primed to be spiteful, as is my nature. Not a patch…

The Royal Ballet's Nutcracker. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

You’ll have shivers down your spine and tears in your eyes: Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker reviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Not another Nutcracker, I thought on the way to the Opera House. Haven’t we had our fill of Sugar Plums?…

Sensational: the cast of Seussical

I couldn’t wait to escape this opaque, witless horror show: True West reviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Sam Shepard was perhaps the gloomiest playwright ever to spill his guts into a typewriter. The popularity of his work…

Sheridan Smith and Alison Steadman in Jimmy McGovern's Care. Photo: BBC / LA Productions / Dan Prince

Could it be that Jimmy McGovern was getting into the festive spirit? No... Care reviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Jimmy McGovern’s one-off drama Care (BBC1, Sunday 9 December) began with a loving grandmother called Mary having a lovely time…

Apollo 8 on its launch pad in December 1968. Photo: AP / REX / Shutterstock

Remembering the 1968 Apollo mission – when the world was reaching to the future rather than drawing in

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Take yourself back to (or try to imagine) Christmas 1968; a year full of disturbances, dashed hopes and extreme violence…