Masks, sanitizer, social distancing? Who cares! Audiences are once again eagerly sharing space with performers. At the Brighton Festival, father and daughter folk royalty Martin and Eliza Carthy appear in East, inspired by music, ballads and legends from England's eastern seaboard. In London, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the LSO in Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky's Second Symphony in LSO St Luke's, while the Wigmore Hall launches a four-day celebration of its 120th anniversary with a day of music outdoors in Portman Square on May 30th.
At the Harold Pinter Theatre, Gemma Arterton, directed by Ian Rickson, stars in Walden, the first of three plays under the apt title RE: EMERGE dealing with urgent topics, including climate change. Across town, a GBS seventy-minute comic double bill, Shaw Shorts, directed by Paul Miller, presents How He Lied to Her and Overruled at the Orange Tree in Richmond.
At the cinema, Emma Stone exchanges her yellow La La Land dress for a black-and-white wig in the puppy-snatcher's backstory, Disney's Cruella, while Kelly Reichardt's lauded 1820s-set crime-and-friendship story, First Cow, also hits the big screen.
Curling up on the sofa hasn't gone out of fashion, however. On Channel 4, Lesley Sharp stars as policewoman Hannah Laing who discovers her son has become an informant reporting on a Croatian crime gang in the thriller Before We Die. There are new albums from Crowded House, Liz Phair and Greentea Peng.
And two debut novels provide challenging material:Assembly by Natasha Brown examines race and class from the viewpoint of a Black British woman and Absorbed by Kylie Whitehead, whose protagonist literally absorbs her boyfriend, raises questions about modern relationships, insecurity and wholeness.
Inside and out, theartsdesk is there.