The London Jazz Festival opens, Maggie Smith returns, Vermeer illuminates the everyday, and how a cast of just four take on Ben Hur. Marianka Swain fires up her chariot for next week on theartsdesk
theartsdesk.com

12/11/2015

Pick of the Week: by Marianka Swain

Downton may have limped over the finish line, but there’s good news for those craving a Maggie Smith fix: she’s back on the big screen in Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van. Jostling for position is Steve Jobs, Aaron Sorkin’s take on another trailblazing maverick.

Soul Artist of the Year Jarrod Lawson opens the London Jazz Festival at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, while the Royal Opera unveils a world premiere from Georg Friedrich Haas, Morgen und Abend. Ellie Nunn explains how Measure for Measure – the problem play du jour – inspired a rollicking new musical at Jermyn Street Theatre in which she will star, and, following global hit The 39 Steps, playwright Patrick Barlow conquers Ben Hur with just four actors at the Tricycle.

There’s magic of a different kind from Derren Brown in Miracle, Dawn French’s one-woman show arrives in the West End, and, at Sadler’s Wells, German choreographer Sasha Waltz marks the centenary of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with Sacre. Finally, discover a right royal treat at the Queen’s Gallery, where Vermeer and fellow 17th-century Dutch artists find the beauty and wisdom in the everyday.

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Marianka

London Spy, BBC Two

Penned by Tom Rob Smith, the author of Soviet-era thriller Child 44, London Spy imparts unexpected spin to the espionage...

The Force of Destiny, ENO

Verdi’s dark tale gets even darker in this new staging from Calixto Bieito. He updates the story to the Spanish Civil War, a setting with...

Waste, National Theatre

Do scandals have a sell-by date? When it comes to sex and politicians, the answer is no. The tabloids, and the news-hungry...

Brooklyn

Saoirse Ronan, emerging decorously into womanliness in Brooklyn, deserves a stack of awards nominations for her portrayal of...

Alexander Calder, Tate Modern

Sculpture that moves with the gentlest current of air! Sculpture that makes you want to do a little tap dance of joy! Or maybe the Charleston...

Elf, Dominion Theatre

This new family musical, based on the popular 2003 Will Ferrell film, has rightly been censured for its extortionate seating prices, hosting...

Benedetti, LSO, Gaffigan, Barbican

A full house for a premiere performance: Wynton Marsalis bucks the trend in contemporary music. He’s an established name, more...

10 Questions for Maria Schneider

Maria Schneider is one of the luminaries of contemporary jazz. The composer, arranger and bandleader, together with her 18-piece orchestra...

Tamerlano, Barbican

The curse of Tamerlano strikes again. The last time London saw Handel’s darkest and most sober opera was in 2010. Graham Vick’s...

theartsdesk Radio Show 11

Peter Culshaw's latest global round-up of new music and reissues features the usual spendidly earbending eclectic selection...

All This Week's Reviews

CD of the Week

Jeff Lynne's ELO - Alone in the Universe

There's something reassuringly resistant to modernity about Jeff Lynne. In much the same way that his cast iron Brummie accent and demeanour...

DVD of the Week

Death of a Gentleman

Death of a Gentleman begins as a hymn to Test cricket, and becomes an elegy, as its makers cross the globe in a deceptively...

 
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