What to see this week in the UK
Five of the best … films
The Irishman (15)
(Martin Scorsese, 2019, US) 208 mins
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino stride through this autumnal gangster drama with effortless panache. Pacino plays notorious union leader Jimmy Hoffa; De Niro is the ruthless mafia killer who befriends then murders him. Scorsese is working on an epic scale here, with Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci drafted in as ageing mob bosses, plus extensive use of “de-ageing” CGI effects for flashback scenes.
Sorry We Missed You
(Ken Loach, 2019, UK) 101 mins
This is a heartbreaking and anger-inspiring drama about the gig economy, and the way it traps families in a vicious cycle of debt and despair. Kris Hitchen and Debbie Honeywood are revelatory in the lead roles of a delivery driver and care worker, successfully putting a human face on the issues in characteristic Loach style.
Meeting Gorbachev (PG)
(Werner Herzog, André Singer, 2019, UK/Ger/US) 90 mins
It is fair to say that, for the past couple of decades, Werner Herzog’s documentary work has outperformed his dramas. But this encounter with the former Soviet president is rather obviously less eccentric than previous documentary highlights such as Grizzly Man, with Gorbachev discussing how the USSR unravelled, and Herzog ruminating on the threat of nuclear annihilation.
(Roland Emmerich, 2019, Chi/US) 138 mins
The battle of Midway was the decisive second world war confrontation between US and Japanese fleets in 1942, six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Now, disaster master Roland Emmerich is stepping up to tell the story, with Ed Skrein and Aaron Eckhart among the military types on show and Woody Harrelson (of all people) as naval commander Admiral Nimitz.
Doctor Sleep (15)
(Mike Flanagan, 2019, US) 152 mins
Stephen King famously loathed Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining; this “sequel” is actually an adaptation of King’s novel that follows up events at the Overlook hotel decades later, centring on Danny Torrance who is now grown into adulthood (and played by Ewan McGregor).
Five of the best … rock & pop
West Londoner Shura’s 2016 debut album, Nothing’s Real, came with a review from her mum. “It gets better with every listen,” read the blurb on the sticker. It’s a maxim that could easily refer to her ambitious follow-up, this summer’s Forevher, a slowburn, gently percolating pop album loosely charting the start of a long-distance relationship. Mum knows best, basically.
Roundhouse, NW1, Thursday 14; touring to 18 November
Musician, poet, and activist Jamila Woods’s music is about celebration. Her debut album Heavn was an ode to her home town of Chicago, while its follow-up Legacy! Legacy! shines a light on black artists including Basquiat. But it is also about celebrating the self, so expect a near-religious communal experience.
Leeds, Saturday 9; Manchester, Sunday 10; Bristol, Tuesday 12; Brighton, Wednesday 13; London, Thursday 14 November
Since forming in 1979, Mali’s Tinariwen ensemble have steadily built up a global fanbase, alchemised by free-flowing live shows and the critical success of albums that fuse desert rock with western African styles. It is a sonic soup that has recently been augmented by the world-weary likes of troubadours Mark Lanegan, Warren Ellis and Cass McCombs.
Dublin, Monday 11; Manchester, Wednesday 13; London, Thursday 14 & Friday 15 November
The story goes that when 19-year-old West Sussex native Peters was young, she wanted to be an author. Somewhere along the line she turned that passion for storytelling into songwriting, building up an online fanbase via her YouTube channel. Her recent EP, It’s Your Bed Babe, It’s Your Funeral, pairs choice lyrical Taylor Swift-isms with a lilting way with a melody.
Nottingham, Wednesday 13; London, Thursday 14 November
Cécile McLorin Salvant
Wynton Marsalis once said of Cécile McLorin Salvant: “You get a singer like this once in a generation or two.” The audacity, imagination, versatility and timing of the Florida-born French-Haitian vocalist dazzlingly testifies to that. She joins the teeming Jazz Voice spectacular for the multi-gig opening night of the 10-day-long EFG London jazz festival.
Royal Festival Hall, SE1, Friday 15 November
Three of the best … classical concerts
Huddersfield contemporary music festival
This year, Britain’s pre-eminent showcase for new music has as its composer-in-residence Hanna Hartman, whose works frequently use sounds from everyday objects alongside conventional instruments. Her Hurricane Season is one of more than 20 pieces receiving their world premiere. There are others from Ann Cleare, Naomi Pinnock, Jürg Frey and Georg Friedrich Haas, while the opening concert, given by soprano Juliet Fraser and the Sonar Quartett, includes the first UK performance of Increshantum by Heinz Holliger.
Various venues, Friday 15 to 24 November
ENO’s disappointing Orpheus season ends with Philip Glass’s 1991 work, the first of a trilogy of operas he based on films by Jean Cocteau. Cocteau’s original French text, one of the beauties of the score, has been translated into English by Netia Jones, with Nicholas Lester as Orphée and Sarah Tynan as Eurydice.
London Coliseum, WC2, Friday 15 to 29 November
The Art of the Étude
As well as providing a potted modern history of the piano study, Tamara Stefanovich’s three-part recital includes new pieces written for her by Milica Djordjević and Vassos Nicolaou, before ending with Rachmaninov’s Études-Tableaux and Ligeti’s late, technique-stretching studies.
Barbican Centre: Milton Court Concert Hall, EC2, Sunday 10 November
Five of the best … exhibitions
The Turner prize and Oscar winner has photographed every Year 3 class in London in formal group portraits that add up to a snapshot of a generation. Did he somehow know when he planned this public statement about youth, hope and the future of Britain that it would open during a general election campaign? Vote McQueen.
Tate Britain, SW1, Tuesday 12 November to 3 May
Prix Pictet 2019
The theme of this year’s prize for socially and ecologically aware photography is Hope, a challenge to today’s apocalypticism. The shortlist is: Shahidul Alam, Joana Choumali, Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Rena Effendi Lucas Foglia, Janelle Lynch, Ross McDonnell, Gideon Mendel, Ivor Prickett, Robin Rhode, Awoiska van der Molen and Alexia Webster.
Victoria & Albert Museum, SW7, Thu to 8 December
Leonardo: Experience a Masterpiece
The National Gallery’s Virgin of the Rocks gets a digital makeover and high-tech analysis. This painting is enigmatic even by Leonardo’s standards. There was no traditional source for showing Mary, Jesus, John the Baptist and an angel in a remote grotto, and the portrayal of Jesus and John as babyhood friends is borderline heretical. Even though only the angel is undoubtedly his own brushwork, this is the most unforgettable painting in the gallery.
National Gallery, WC2, Saturday 9 November to 12 January
George IV: Art & Spectacle
George IV was viciously portrayed as a glutton by Gillray in his own lifetime but he is also remembered as selfish, corrupt and crass. In fact, the bon viveur who ruled as regent for his ill father before becoming king is widely regarded as Britain’s worst monarch, but his era was a national golden age with victories at Trafalgar and Waterloo, and the likes of Turner, Austen, Constable, Blake, Byron and Keats flourishing.
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, SW1, Friday 15 November to 3 May
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh
When Howard Carter peered into the forgotten tomb of a little-known pharaoh in 1922 it turned out to be crammed with beautiful artistic masterpieces in alabaster, wood and, oh yes, gold. This selection from the greatest archaeological haul of all time precedes the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza next year, where Tut’s treasures will be the centrepiece.
Saatchi Gallery, SW3, to 3 May
Five of the best … theatre shows
The Boy in the Dress
David Walliams’s popular children’s book – about a young lad who loves dresses just as much as he loves football – is being adapted for the stage by Mark Ravenhill, who will be sure not to make things too schmaltzy. Gregory Doran directs and there are songs from the Entertainer himself, Robbie Williams, and collaborator Guy Chambers.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, to 8 March
Touching the Void
Prepare to have your senses dazzled and, perhaps, your love of climbing knocked right out of you. David Greig has adapted Joe Simpson’s gripping memoir about two friends who find themselves stranded on a remote mountain in the Andes, their friendship and survival skills pushed to the very limit. War Horse’s Tom Morris directs.
The Duke of York’s, WC2, Saturday 10 November to 29 February
This new musical will feature a slew of songs from hit-maestro Max Martin, who has written for Britney Spears, Pink, Katy Perry and Ariana Grande. The final song list is a mix of classics such as … Baby One More Time as well as lesser-known gems. The show picks up at the end of Shakespeare’s doomed romance and sees Juliet put aside the dagger and forge a new beginning. Miriam Teak-Lee stars and Luke Sheppard directs.
Shaftesbury Theatre, WC2, to 28 March
All three of Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays are being bundled up into one epic piece of theatre. The drama will chart the entire Wars of the Roses, from Henry VI’s doomed coronation through to his inevitable demise (plus a fierce guest appearance from Joan of Arc). With Richard III starting this week, this wraps up a long season of history plays that started with Henry IV in May. Ilinca Radulian and Sean Holmes, both lively theatre-makers, will co-direct.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, SE1, to 26 January
My Cousin Rachel
Anyone who saw Roger Michell’s recent film adaptation of this superb thriller, starring Rachel Weisz, will be keen to see how this one plays out onstage. The novel was written by Daphne du Maurier and is spooky and sexy in equal measure. The story unfolds in Cornwall, where Countess Rachel Sangalletti has come to reclaim the home of her recently deceased husband – but is Rachel everything she claims to be? Helen George takes the lead role.
Theatre Royal, Bath, Wednesday to 23 November
Three of the best … dance shows
Dorrance Dance: Myelination and Other Works
Tap dance for the 21st century. Having learned from the masters of American rhythm tap, Michelle Dorrance brings artistic curiosity and damn good taste to her artform. Myelination’s title refers to the speedy transmission of nerve impulses, and the dancers skitter so swiftly across the floor they’re almost gliding.
Sadler’s Wells, EC1, Thursday 14 to 16 November
Cardiff dance festival
Two weeks of top-class contemporary dance, mostly small in scale but full of ideas, including a piece celebrating the Welsh passion for rugby by National Dance Company Wales; a sweatily intimate and acrobatic duet from Jan Martens; and the talented young dancers of Rambert2.
Various venues, to 24 November
Ballet Black: Triple Bill
Mthuthuzeli November revisits a landmark of South African history in Ingoma: the story of 60,000 black miners on strike in the 1940s. There are also short and zingy pieces by Martin Lawrance and Sophie Laplane.
Theatre Royal Stratford East, E15, Saturday 9; Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds, Friday 15 to 16 November