Pick of the Week: by Sebastian Scotney

The best way to start the month that makes you shiver? Alan Carr (the stand-up comic, not the guy who stops you smoking) might just have found it: his debut as podcaster from 1 February, Life's a Beach, is all about holidays and escapism. First episode guest: Romesh Ranganathan.

In film, Netflix has two star-studded films: in The Dig, Sutton Hoo is being excavated by Ralph Fiennes, Carey Mulligan and Lily James; and Penguin Bloom stars Naomi Watts and Andrew Lincoln, finding solace in an injured magpie chick. Aw. 

In theatre we’ll be reviewing a starry Sunday night reading of the Restoration comedy Love in a Wood from Jermyn Street Theatre, with Linda Bassett, Danny Sapani and Nancy Carroll.

“It is a curious story...” This week’s operatic adventure is a new Turn of the Screw from OperaGlassWorks. Ghosts will be putting the frighteners on Wilton's Music Hall, conducted by John Wilson.

In dance, we have Dancing Nation, a day-long digital festival featuring new works and audience favourites from ballet, contemporary and hip hop, with Akram Khan and Natalia Osipova. 

In books, there’s Francis Spufford’s Light Perpetual, a nimble exercise in speculative fiction, plus debut writer Alice Ash’s hauntingly weird collection of short stories, Paradise Block.

And there's always TV to fall back on, especially the last series of French cop show Spiral (BBC4).

All this is brought to you as ever with the unblunted enthusiasm of our great team of critics at theartsdesk.

Sebastian Scotney

Russell T Davies's deep and shapely drama about the impact of AIDS on 1980s London

Anticipated debut is a persuasive, sweet-natured, poetic listen

Two composers add up to one compelling drama, as ETO cuts its cloth to suit the times

Funny, sincere and completely charming Kiwi comedy about unexpected pregnancy

Much exciting music being made by, and written for, this talented young quartet

Simon Blackwell delves into fraternal mind games


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