- 1 Five of the best … films
- 2 Portrait of a Lady on Fire (15)
- 3 True History of the Kelly Gang (18)
- 4 Dark Waters (12A)
- 5 The Invisible Man (15)
- 6 Greed (15)
- 7 Five of the best … rock, pop & jazz
- 8 6 Music festival
- 9 Georgia
- 10 Alanis Morissette
- 11 Oh Wonder
- 12 Pee Wee Ellis, China Moses et al: Funk – A Music Revolution
- 13 Three of the best … classical concerts
- 14 Sir George Benjamin: A Duet and a Dream
- 15 Fidelio
- 16 The Year in Song
- 17 Five of the best … exhibitions
- 18 Aubrey Beardsley
- 19 Other Transmissions
- 20 Among the Trees
- 21 Richard Long
- 22 Barry Flanagan
- 23 Five of the best … theatre shows
- 24 Shoe Lady
- 25 United Queendom
- 26 A Little Space
- 27 The Mikvah Project
- 28 Mrs Puntila and Her Man Matti
- 29 Three of the best … dance shows
- 30 Crystal Pite & Jonathon Young: Revisor
- 31 Vincent Dance Theatre: In Loco Parentis
- 32 BalletBoyz: Deluxe
Five of the best … films
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (15)
(Céline Sciamma, 2019, France) 122 mins
The film that has been Parasite’s main rival on the world-cinema awards circuit for the last few months, this fevered romance involves an 18th-century painter and her subject: a young noblewoman whose mother is aiming to marry off to an aristocrat. The two eventually embark on a secret affair, in which the eponymous picture plays a significant, symbolic role.
True History of the Kelly Gang (18)
(Justin Kurzel, 2019, UK/Fra/ Australia) 125 mins
Justin Kurzel adapts Peter Carey’s celebrated novel chronicling the activities of Ned Kelly, Australia’s national-hero outlaw who robbed banks and took on the colonial authorities. George MacKay (as seen in 1917) picks up the baton from Heath Ledger and Mick Jagger, previous occupants of the role.
Dark Waters (12A)
(Todd Haynes, 2019, US) 127 mins
Todd Haynes, designer of exquisitely designed fables such as Far from Heaven, Carol and Safe, is perhaps not the first person you would expect to direct a full-on political thriller about chemical pollution in the water supply. But here he is, with Mark Ruffalo as the dogged lawyer going after the corporate giant DuPont after a small-town farmer reports his cattle are being poisoned.
The Invisible Man (15)
(Leigh Whannell, 2020, US/Australia) 124 mins
Reports of the demise of Universal horror’s “Dark Universe” after the almighty flop of the Tom Cruise Mummy appear to be exaggerated: here is a new iteration of the HG Wells character, directed by one of the driving forces behind the Insidious franchise. Considering the film’s amazingly low budget (most of which, you suspect, has been spent on star Elisabeth Moss), it can’t fail even if only Insidious addicts turn up.
(Michael Winterbottom, 2019, UK/US) 104 mins
Steve Coogan does a Richard Branson-meets-Philip Green turn – publicity-seeking, vulgar, curiously pathetic – in this mockumentary taking aim at the super-rich. Winterbottom is confident in the politics of his satirical tale; his proficiency with comedy is slightly less assured, but Coogan is a strong enough performer to take the strain.
Five of the best … rock, pop & jazz
6 Music festival
Returning for its sixth iteration, and its first in the capital, the prosaically titled 6 Music festival starts on Friday with the likes of Michael Kiwanuka, Brittany Howard and Sports Team. Saturday offers up Róisín Murphy and Kojey Radical, while Kim Gordon and Kate Tempest will be having a singsong on Sunday.
Various venues, NW1, Friday 6 to 8 March
It’s already been quite a big year for footballer-turned-session drummer-turned-one-woman-band Georgia Barnes, who followed a BBC Sound of 2020 placement with a Top 30 album, the dancefloor-friendly Seeking Thrills. But her songs work best in a live scenario, especially last year’s throbbing About Work the Dancefloor.
Cardiff, Tuesday 3; Glasgow, Wednesday 4; Manchester, Thursday 5; Liverpool, Friday 7; touring to 12 March
Ahead of May’s new album, Such Pretty Little Forks in the Road, Canada’s premier ironist is back celebrating her breakthrough, 1995’s angst-ridden Jagged Little Pill, which turns 25 this year. This one-off show is an acoustic precursor to September’s full-band UK arena tour (28 September to 4 October), featuring support from Liz Phair.
Shepherd’s Bush Empire, W12, Wednesday 4 March
In less than five years, the London-based duo comprised of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West have quietly become one of the UK’s biggest pop exports. Over the course of three albums, including this month’s UK Top 10 No One Else Can Wear Your Crown, they have played 318 headline shows and festivals in 45 countries, been sampled by rapper Lil Uzi Vert and supported Beck on tour. Quite good.
Glasgow, Tuesday 3; Manchester, Wednesday 4; Bristol, Friday 6; touring to 9 March
Pee Wee Ellis, China Moses et al: Funk – A Music Revolution
In co-writing the thunderously grooving 1967 hit Cold Sweat with James Brown, saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis helped trigger the morphing of soul music into funk. Fifty-three years later, Ellis takes a classy band including trombonist Dennis Rollins, rapper Lady Sanity and singers China Moses and Omar through classic jazz-funk history.
Brighton, Saturday 29 February; London, Sunday 1; Coventry, Monday 2; Nottingham, Tuesday 3; Gateshead, Wednesday 4 March
Three of the best … classical concerts
Sir George Benjamin: A Duet and a Dream
George Benjamin reached 60 a month ago, and the Philharmonia’s birthday tribute is conducted by the composer himself. It includes two of his own works: the counter-tenor song cycle on Andalusian texts, Dream of the Song (with James Hall as soloist); and Duet for Piano and Orchestra, played by its dedicatee, Pierre-Laurent Aimard. There’s music by Benjamin’s teacher Messiaen too, Le Merle Bleu from the Catalogue D’Oiseaux, plus Choral, by Benjamin’s close friend, the late Oliver Knussen, and it ends with Janáček’s Sinfonietta.
Royal Festival Hall, SE1, Thursday 5 March
When it comes to marking the birth of Beethoven, opera houses have little room for manoeuvre. There is only one opera, and while the more adventurous might opt for its first version, Leonore, it is generally the 1814 score, Fidelio, they settle for. The Royal Opera is no exception, and its new production, directed by Tobias Kratzer and conducted by Antonio Pappano, promises to be a season highlight, with a cast led by Jonas Kaufmann and Lise Davidsen.
Royal Opera House, WC2, Sunday 1, Tuesday 3 & Friday 6; to 17 March
The Year in Song
The University of York gives over its annual song day to the Schumanns, Robert and Clara, concentrating on the songs they composed in the year of their marriage, 1840. The first of the three programmes is Robert’s Myrthen, while the later ones include his Dichterliebe and Frauenliebe und Leben, songs from Clara’s Op 12 and 13, and settings by Brahms. Singers include Bethany Seymour and Gwilym Bowen.
The National Centre for Early Music, York, Saturday 29 February
Five of the best … exhibitions
Decadent drawings of pansexual frolics – often involving the god Pan – by the most radical artist Victorian Britain produced. Beardsley illustrated Oscar Wilde’s Salomé and was persecuted for his association with the author. Yet the beautifully delineated filth he left behind is a triumph over both censorship and the tuberculosis that killed him at 25.
Tate Britain, SW1, Wednesday 4 March to 25 May
“Outsider art” is one of the strangest ideas in modern culture. It at once praises the art of children, mentally ill people and others, and defines it as different from a norm. This show mixes pieces from the Whitworth’s collection with new art by Amy Ellison, Frances Heap, Joe Beedles, James Desser, Andrew Johnstone and John Powell-Jones that questions the category.
The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, to 14 June
Among the Trees
Landscape paintings have been bringing nature into the city since ancient times. Now the forests are vanishing, but this exhibition shows how artists crave the greenwood. Tacita Dean’s moving images of churchyard yews propped up in their senescence and Peter Doig’s fir-filled paintings reveal how the 21st-century imagination still dwells in the woods, an obsession traced here to Italy’s arte povera movement in the 1960s.
Hayward Gallery, SE1, Wednesday 4 March to 17 May
For more than half a century, Britain’s pioneer of earth-centred art has been walking through landscapes, leaving arrangements of sticks or stones, photographing what he sees and recording his journeys in terse texts. In galleries, he recreates the silent grandeur of the outdoors with mud drawings and stone circles. As our destruction of nature reaches crisis, Long looks more prophetic with every hike.
Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, to 23 May
This pioneer of conceptual art created provocative installations, then turned away from the avant garde to sculpt animals. Today, his bronze hares fit oddly well with the latest art world fashions. At a time when bronze figurative sculpture is being enjoyed by the likes of Tracey Emin, the magical creatures that leap through Flanagan’s world can be seen as art’s answer to folk-rock.
Waddington Custot Galleries, W1, Wednesday 4 March to 18 April
Five of the best … theatre shows
Vicky Featherstone directs Katherine Parkinson in EV Crowe’s latest play. That’s quite the trio of talent. Parkinson most recently played a career woman-turned-housewife in Laura Wade’s sharp comedy Home, I’m Darling. Now she is playing a conflicted mum whose life slides out of control after she loses a shoe. Intriguing.
Royal Court: Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, SW1, Wednesday 4 to 21 March
Les Enfants Terribles of Alice’s Adventures Underground fame are back with a new show. It is a site-specific piece set inside the state apartments of Kensington Palace, so you can be nosy and arty at the same time. The show is about Queen Caroline (George II’s wife) and Lady Henrietta Howard (his mistress). Whose story will you follow?
Kensington Palace, W8, to 30 March
A Little Space
The dance-led company Gecko creates such distinctive and evocative shows, and this time it is collaborating with Mind the Gap, one of Europe’s leading learning disability theatre companies. The drama is set inside an apartment block and is about the way we might feel embraced by – or disconnected from – the space in which we choose to live, drawing on the actors’ personal experiences. Visually surprising and deeply felt theatre.
Derby, Sat; Oxford, Tuesday 4 & Wednesday 5; Leeds, Friday 6 & 7 March; touring to 21 May
The Mikvah Project
Josh Azouz’s writing has something very special about it, verging on the spiritual. It helps that The Mikvah Project plays out in a real-life pool of water, which makes for a mesmerising spectacle. This gentle and compassionate play is about a teenage boy and an older man who meet at a special pool, a mikvah, to take part in the Jewish ritual of submerging in the water. Alex Waldmann and Josh Zare star.
Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, to 28 March
Mrs Puntila and Her Man Matti
A new Bertolt Brecht production doesn’t necessarily scream fun. But this gender-reversal adaptation has been written by Denise Mina, who promises a sinister, fast and funny piece of theatre. Mr Puntila becomes Mrs Puntila, the rich landowner who is kind to her servant only when drunk. Elaine C Smith and Steven McNicoll play the lead roles; Murat Daltaban from Istanbul’s DOT Theatre directs.
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, to 21 March
Three of the best … dance shows
Crystal Pite & Jonathon Young: Revisor
Choreographer Crystal Pite and actor-writer Jonathon Young’s last collaboration, Betroffenheit, was hailed by this paper as the best dance work of the 21st century. So the follow-up, a revision of Gogol’s farce The Inspector General with Pite’s company Kidd Pivot, has a lot to live up to. Expect an ingenious merging of theatre and dance.
Sadler’s Wells, EC1, Tuesday 3 to Thursday 5 March
Vincent Dance Theatre: In Loco Parentis
Charlotte Vincent is a choreographer of probing, political dance theatre that tackles vitally important issues beyond the theatre walls. Her latest work uses the testimonies of children in care to reflect on the universal need to be safe.
Worthing, Tuesday 3; Barnsley, Friday 6; touring to 31 March
The excellent all-male company’s 20th-anniversary tour has two premieres. There is a UK debut from Shanghai-based choreographer Xie Xin and a new work from Punchdrunk’s Maxine Doyle, featuring live music by saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi.
Glasgow, Sunday; Darlington, Thursday 5 March; touring to 23 May
Source: The Guardian