What to see this week in the UK
Five of the best … films
The Lighthouse (15)
(Robert Eggers, 2019, Can/US) 109 mins
Eggers, who emerged to considerable acclaim with The Witch, pulls off the trick again with this Melvillian chiller about 19th-century sea dogs holed up in a New England lighthouse. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson put in storming performances, creating a miasma of fear and delusion. It is filmed in wonderful monochrome, adding to an atmosphere of dark secrets from a creaking past.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PG)
(Marielle Heller, 2019, Chi/US) 109 mins
Audiences unfamiliar with the US kids’ TV presenter Mister Rogers were alerted to his existence by the 2018 doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. Now we get the dramatised version from Can You Forgive Me?’s Heller, in which a (fictional) journalist tries to do a hatchet job on him. Tom Hanks turns in a classic Tom Hanks performance.
Queen & Slim (15)
(Melina Matsoukas, 2019, Can/US) 132 mins
The film-maker behind Beyoncé’s Formation music video makes her feature-directing debut with this lovers-on-the-run thriller that plants itself in Black Lives Matter territory. It opens with a cop pulling over an African-American couple (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith); after an altercation, the cop is dead and the pair go on the lam, becoming celebrities for their defiance.
Richard Jewell (15)
(Clint Eastwood, 2019, US) 131 mins
Eastwood is a master at disguising conservative messaging inside rage-against-the-machine thrillers. Here he picks the story of a security guard mistakenly accused of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing after discovering the device, and whose name was leaked to the media as a suspect. Paul Walter Hauser plays Jewell but, in a Trumpian vein, Eastwood’s real targets are the reporters and security agencies.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (15)
(Terry Gilliam, 2019, Spain/Bel/Fra/UK/Por) 133 mins
Having abandoned his first attempt to film this long-planned adaptation in 2000, Gilliam has finally managed it. Adam Driver plays a commercials director returning to Spain, where he shot a student film a decade earlier; the elderly cobbler he had cast as Quixote (Jonathan Pryce) now thinks he is the fictional knight. Will it be worth the long wait?
Five of the best … rock, pop & jazz
Carly Rae Jepsen
Since her 2011 ode to tentative telephonic communication, Call Me Maybe, shifted more than 18m copies worldwide, Carly Rae Jepsen has settled comfortably into something approaching cult status. Expect the biggest cheers to be reserved for songs from 2015’s chart-unbothering Emotion, Pitchfork’s 47th best album of the 2010s, no less.
O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, Friday 7; O2 Academy Brixton, SW9, 8 February
When he emerged at the start of the century, Devendra Banhart was hailed as the leader of the freak folk revival, before eventually getting lost down a self-consciously kooky cul-de-sac. Recent album Ma, his 10th, saw him return to solid songcraft, focused around the idea of passing down insights to children he’s yet to have.
O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, W12, Tuesday 4 February
While she has collaborated with forward-thinking, leftfield pop heavyweights Charli XCX and Sophie, Germany’s Kim Petras seems much happier accentuating pop’s here and now. Across a handful of singles and two full-length albums, she has flitted between heartburst electro-pop and trap-adjacent ballads, constantly anchored by the 90s pop classicism that she grew up with.
Dublin, Tuesday 4; Glasgow, Wednesday 5; Birmingham, Friday 7; touring to 11 February
Syria’s musical polymath started his career as an in-demand wedding singer before some of his early recordings were released by a US indie label. His cult status led to collaborations with the likes of Björk and Four Tet, while his latest album, the techno-inspired To Syria With Love, was released on Diplo’s Mad Decent label. A suitably unpredictable live show awaits.
London, Thursday 6; Cambridge, Friday 7 February
Lewis Wright & Kit Downes
Intimate conversations between a vibraphone and a piano might sound more like ingredients for thoughtful serenity than visceral thrills, but the vibes maestro Lewis Wright and his childhood friend Kit Downes nail both. Inspired by Chick Corea and Gary Burton’s famed partnership, they show just how vivacious “chamber-jazz” can get.
Milton Keynes, Tuesday 4; London, Thursday 6; Brighton, Friday 7 February
Three of the best … classical concerts
Alice’s Adventures Under Ground
When Gerald Barry’s witty take on Lewis Carroll’s Alice books received its European premiere in a concert staging at the Barbican in 2016, it seemed a perfect match between composer and subject matter. But the speed with which the narrative unfolds, eliding scenes so that the whole story is over in less than an hour, made it hard to imagine how it might work in a full staging. Director Antony McDonald has taken up the challenge; the first run of his production, with Thomas Adès conducting, is double-cast, with Claudia Boyle and Jennifer France alternating in the role of Alice.
Royal Opera House, WC2, Tuesday 4, Thursday 6, 8 & 9 February
London Sinfonietta: Kagel
The latest of London Sinfonietta’s Turning Points series is devoted to the utterly distinctive world of the influential Mauricio Kagel. Directed by Tim Hopkins and conducted by Jack Sheen, the programme frames instrumental works with larger-scale pieces – Presentation for actor and ensemble, and Fürst Igor Stravinsky for bass voice and ensemble. What they all convey is Kagel’s refusal to accept traditional boundaries between musical performance and theatre.
Kings Place, N1, Saturday 1 February
Psappha: In the Light of Air
With its lighting effects and specially designed percussion, and preceded by a short Buddhist mindfulness meditation, Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s four-movement ensemble piece is worlds away from the other half of Psappha’s programme, Schoenberg’s nervy, expressionist masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire, in which soprano Claire Booth is the soloist.
Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester, Thursday 6 February
Five of the best … exhibitions
Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium
Hey kids, put down your video cameras; painting is back in. This exhibition holds that it is being revived because figurative painting engages well with 21st-century political concerns. But maybe people just like using that squishy stuff? Michael Armitage and Cecily Brown feature.
Whitechapel Gallery, E1, Thursday 6 February to 10 May
The new figurative art includes drawing as well as painting. Bauer makes graphic works that include melancholy portraits and tragic nautical scenes. In this exhibition, he ranges across art history, from Géricault to Hokusai. But the suffering of migrants on today’s Mediterranean sees marine romanticism crashing into reality.
De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, Saturday 1 February to 10 May
British Baroque: Power and Illusion
Seventeenth-century Britain was torn apart by civil war, yet with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 came a fascinating cultural period. Charles II was a libertine who favoured the sensual portraitist Peter Lely to depict his mistresses. His interest in flesh rather than spirit was shared by a generation of pioneering scientists. Meanwhile, astronomer Christopher Wren translated Isaac Newton’s cosmos into architecture.
Tate Britain, SW1, Tuesday 4 February to 19 April
Filthy Lucre: Whistler’s Peacock Room Reimagined
Darren Waterston’s installation pays a perverse tribute to James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s decadent Victorian masterpiece the Peacock Room, which was decorated with extravagant, abstract gold and blue birds. Filthy Lucre recreates it with a dark twist. The gold has melted, the peacocks are killing each other, a painting now portrays a grotesque ape. Fun but slight.
Victoria & Albert Museum, SW7, to 3 May
Author Philip Roth had a fascinating relationship with art. He and his friend, the painter Philip Guston, put narrative back into culture; Guston abandoning abstraction for pungent images, Roth escaping from postmodernism into storytelling. So this show, named after a Roth novel, is a nice idea, with the likes of Ed Ruscha exploring the fiction that is America.
Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, WC1, to 14 March
Five of the best … theatre shows
Poet in da Corner
This show is all kinds of unlikely yet somehow works brilliantly. Debris Stevenson’s semi-autobiographical story combines spoken word, grime and dance, with music mixed live on stage. It tells the story of Londoner Stevenson’s Mormon upbringing – and the inspiration she found in Dizzee Rascal’s music. It returns to the Royal Court after rave reviews in 2018.
Royal Court: Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, SW1 to 22 February; touring to 4 April
Death of England
This is a heavy-hitting combo. Rafe Spall stars in a one-man show written specially for him by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams. Spall stars as Michael, a man in mourning for his late father, who decides to confront his dad’s troubling legacy during an explosive eulogy. The show initially appeared as a microplay on the Guardian website.
National Theatre: Dorfman, SE1, to 7 March
A Monster Calls
A children’s show by Sally Cookson? Pretty much unmissable. The director has the knack of capturing the essence of a story with simplicity and flair. This is an adaptation of Patrick Ness’s novel about a 13-year-old boy struggling to cope with the consequences of his mother’s illness. Can a storytelling monster help him face his fear? It bagged the 2019 best entertainment and family Olivier award and is a total delight.
Chichester Festival Theatre, Thursday 6 to 15 February; touring to 6 June
This show marks Roxana Silbert’s directing debut as artistic director of Hampstead Theatre. It is a new play from a relatively new name, Al Blyth. Inspired by – or perhaps horrified by – the Edward Snowden scandal, Blyth has written an espionage thriller set in GCHQ. In an age of surveillance, how do we get the balance between privacy and liberty right? The cast includes Sarah Woodward and Evening Standard award nominee Rona Morison.
Hampstead Theatre, NW3, to 7 March
I Think We Are Alone
Frantic Assembly – one of our most vibrant theatre companies – is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The festivities include a new play by Sally Abbott, who penned The Coroner for TV. It is a play about (you guessed it) loneliness, and a craving for connection, no matter where it might come from. It is co-directed by Kathy Burke and Scott Graham, and designed by Morgan Large, who created such a joyous set for last year’s Joseph in the West End.
Theatre Royal: The Lyric, Plymouth, Monday 3 to 8 February; touring to 16 May
Three of the best … dance shows
Russell Maliphant Dance Company: Maliphantworks3
When choreographer Russell Maliphant reunited on stage with his dancer wife Dana Fouras in 2018, performing together for the first time in 15 years, it was one of the year’s dance highlights. Here the pair reprise that duet, along with a new live work and two dance films by photographer Julian Broad.
The Coronet Theatre, W11, Thursday 6 to 22 February
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance: Material Men Redux
Jeyasingh’s revival of her 2015 duet is based around two virtuoso performers: bharatanatyam dancer Sooraj Subramaniam and hip-hopper Shailesh Bahoran. Through film, text and dance, Jeyasingh explores the men’s shared family histories.
Leicester, Tuesday 4; Aberystwyth, Thursday 6 February
Cowpuncher My Ass
Holly Blakey usually choreographs uber-cool music videos and fashion campaigns where everyone looks intensely bored and androgynously gorgeous. Here she brings her stylings to the stage with gender-fluid cowboys, heroes and outlaws, and music by Mica Levi.
Queen Elizabeth Hall, SE1, Friday 7 & 8 February