Five of the best … films
Sorry We Missed You (15)
(Ken Loach, 2019, UK) 101 mins
Well into his 80s, Ken Loach is still pumping out strident social-issue fables. Austerity and the gig economy has given Loach new material. He follows I, Daniel Blake with this agonising study of a delivery driver (played by Kris Hitchen) whose life descends into a vicious circle of self-destruction as he struggles to make ends meet.
Doctor Sleep (15)
(Mike Flanagan, 2019, US) 152 mins
Ewan McGregor stars in this film adapted from Stephen King’s follow-up novel to The Shining. McGregor is Danny Torrance, the son of Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance (who freezes to death in the Kubrick film). Torrance Jr, of course, has psychic powers (“the shining”) and has to see off a cult, the True Knot led by Rebecca Ferguson, who feed on kids with these abilities.
Brittany Runs a Marathon (15)
(Paul Downs Colaizzo, 2019, US) 104 mins
Jillian Bell makes a bid to become the new Melissa McCarthy with her breakout performance in this indie comedy that made a splash at Sundance, before being picked up by Amazon. Bell plays a hedonistic party girl who decides to get in shape for the New York marathon; as she gets fitter physically her life changes in ways she is not entirely happy with.
(Alejandro Landes, 2019, Col/Arg/Neth/Ger et al) 102 mins
Gruelling drama of teen soldiers on a mission in the Colombian jungle, part of a nameless faction in an unidentified civil war. Guarding an American prisoner, and kept in line by “the Messenger”, the group disintegrates in Conrad-meets-Lord of the Flies style: brawling, sleeping with each other, and generally coming undone at the seams.
Terminator: Dark Fate (15)
(Tim Miller, 2019, US) 128 mins
There is a lot riding on this: can the return of James Cameron (as a producer), Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger spark a revival in the underperforming man v machine franchise? Tim Miller, director of the smartmouth superhero flick Deadpool, has been installed in the director’s chair – to not a whole lot of effect, it has to be said. With Natalia Reyes as the girl menaced by terminators from the future, and Mackenzie Davis as the fighter helping her, this attempt at a greatest-hits rerun never really hits the heights.
Five of the best … rock & pop
Anna of the North
Norway’s Anna Lotterud, AKA Anna of the North, makes the kind of soothing, tactile electropop that Scandinavia still excels at. Since her 2017 debut, the slowburn Lovers, she has flexed her creative muscles, collaborating with the likes of Tyler, the Creator and Rejjie Snow, while also finding time to record her second album of pillow-soft pop, Dream Girl.
Heaven, WC2, Wednesday 6 November
Earlier this year, Nigerian Afro-fusion pioneer Burna Boy was so enraged by what he perceived to be a lowly placement on the lineup for Coachella he vented his fury on social media, referring to himself as an African Giant. That title now adorns his new album, his first to break the UK Top 20. He will be keen to prove himself further at these UK dates.
London, Sunday 3; Manchester, Wednesday 6; touring to 10 November
Bradford Cox and his band of merry-ish men head out on tour in support of their eighth album, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?, a rejection of nostalgia in the face of very grim reality. While musically it continues their pop phase (relatively speaking), Cox’s lyrics are as bleak as ever.
Dublin, Saturday 2; Roundhouse, NW1, Sunday 3; Brighton, Monday 4; Bristol, Tuesday 4; Manchester, Wednesday 6; Digbeth, Thursday 7 November
The breakout star of 2019 – even if her recent US No 1, Truth Hurts, was first released in 2017, and her new single, Good as Hell, made a small dent in 2016 – Lizzo arrives in the UK following a summer of festival-owning sets. Expect self-help mantras, sweat-tickling choreography and lashings of personality.
O2 Academy Brixton, SW9, Wednesday 6 & Thursday 7; O2 Academy Glasgow, Friday 8; touring to 11 November
Popular New York jazz-funk collective Snarky Puppy will always groove your socks off, but on their new album, Immigrance, they temper their discordant instincts with catchy hooks and climactic jamming, as deceptively slow-burning arrangements radiate their own eloquent glow.
Bournemouth, Wednesday 6; Nottingham, Thursday 7; Bristol, Friday 8 November
Three of the best … classical concerts
The Royal Academy has founded an annual residency in memory of Oliver Knussen, and the first composer to take on that role is the Dane Hans Abrahamsen, championed by Knussen as a conductor. Abrahamsen’s tenure begins with three days of events, comprising a Q&A with the composer (Wed) and a pair of concerts: a lunchtime programme including two chamber works for wind instruments, and a performance with the Academy Manson Ensemble conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth featuring ensemble works Winternacht, Märchenbilder and Wald.
Royal Academy of Music, NW1, Wednesday 6 to Friday 8 November
Sound and Fury
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra has a new composer-in-association, the British-born, US-resident Anna Clyne. Her three-year term is launched with a world premiere, Sound and Fury, inspired by the source of the title, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and by Haydn’s 60th Symphony, nicknamed “Il Distratto”.
The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Thursday 7; City Halls, Glasgow, Friday 8 November
The BBC Philharmonic certainly does its bit for composers from the north of England. Its latest commission is a violin concerto from Grange (professor of music at Manchester University), whose dark-hued music is always distinctive. The premiere of the concerto forms the centrepiece of the BBC Phil’s concert under Ben Gernon.
The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Saturday 2 November
Five of the best … exhibitions
In our time of meaningless rhetoric, insults that poison cyberspace and endless antagonistic debate, Newman’s exhibition Tongue-tied explores the absurdities of speech and the attractions of silence. Newman is best known as a performance artist but here shows drawings, watercolours and other works that speak for this dumb age.
Matt’s Gallery, SE16, Saturday 9 to 24 November
What would life be like on Venus, an intensely hot planet with no oxygen? That is one of the perspective-shifting questions asked in this futuristic installation, which turns a former gunpowder store into a biomorphic system of tubes and vents. Engravings and video haunt this uncanny architecture exploring queer and transgender identity.
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, W2, Friday 8 November to 9 February
A bequest from the late art dealer Karsten Schubert has given the Whitworth a superb collection of works on paper by the isolated, self-questioning genius who inspired Picasso and Braque to invent Cubism. Cézanne is the godfather of all truly modern art. This small but intense exhibition reveals how he took visible appearances apart until the theme of his nudes and mountains becomes perception itself.
The Whitworth, Manchester, to 1 March
Buddhist art has a 2,600-year history and ranges from expressive faces and sublime figures to such abstract monuments as stupa domes. A key phase in its development took place in ancient Afghanistan where classical Greek influences met Asian philosophy to shape a graceful, eloquent concept of art. This show looks at the global history of Buddhism and its images, with special emphasis on manuscripts in the Library’s collection.
British Library, NW1, to 23 February
Tracey Emin’s drawings of birth are dark expressionist nightmares. She contributes to this show along with Paula Rego, Boo Saville, Madeline Donahue and many more. Male artists often tend to pass over birth itself, preferring to paint smiling Madonnas looking after chubby babies to depicting the physical experience of bringing a child into the world. That gets ample correction here. Last chance to see.
TJ Boulting Gallery, W1, to 9 November
Five of the best … theatre shows
Death of a Salesman
Angels in America director Marianne Elliott continues her purple streak of hit theatre shows with a stunning remake of Arthur Miller’s iconic play, co-directed with Miranda Cromwell, starring Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Treme) as Willy Loman and Sharon D Clarke (Caroline, Or Change) as his wife. The cast is uniformly brilliant but it is Clarke’s final lines, and broken singing, that will really move you.
Piccadilly Theatre, W1, to 4 January
A spoonful of sugar in these troubled times, Mary Poppins swoops back into the West End following a UK tour. The book is written by Julian “Downton Abbey” Fellowes and this is directed by Richard Eyre, with choreography from Matthew Bourne. Zizi Strallen will play Mary, and Petula Clarke, at the tender age of 86, will be feeding the birds.
Prince Edward Theatre, W1, to 3 May
Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran
This Fringe First-winning show lands in Manchester. Co-created by Javaad Alipoor and Kirsty Housley, it follows Alipoor’s hit show The Believers Are But Brothers, offering a high-energy ride through the champagne-soaked, social-media-obsessed lives of the Iranian elite. The production is a little rough around the edges but there’s something in its chaotic thrust that feels horribly pertinent.
HOME, Manchester, Saturday 2 November
Deep Night, Dark Night
The candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – a stunning, almost spiritual venue – will host a series of spooky tales for Halloween and beyond. Taking Shakespeare’s work as inspiration, writers including Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Sami Ibrahim and Diana Evans will delve into London’s dark past. The shows will be separated into two different bills, and the first programme is guaranteed to feature a story from (yes!) Jeanette Winterson. Suitable for ages 12 and upwards.
Shakespeare’s Globe: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, SE1, to 5 December
Soho’s brand new Boulevard Theatre has a revolving stage and, more surprisingly, revolving balconies. The venue’s first show is a musical about love, loss and spectres from Dave Malloy, writer of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. The director is Bill Buckhurst, who was behind the small-scale production of Sweeney Todd, which started out in a London pie shop and wound up in New York.
Boulevard Theatre, W1, to 4 January
Three of the best … dance shows
Lady Magma: The Birth of a Cult
Probably the most exciting young choreographer in UK dance right now, Belfast-based Oona Doherty’s acclaimed works Hope Hunt and Hard to Be Soft focused on the foibles of the working-class male. Her latest, Lady Magma, turns its attention to women, in a 70s-infused paean to wild femininity and ecstatic Dionysian ritual.
The MAC, Belfast, Saturday 2 November
Carlos Acosta’s Havana-based company returns to the UK in Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, set to music by the Rolling Stones. New works by Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg and upcoming Cuban Raúl Reinoso, plus Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s seductive Faun, complete the programme.
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Saturday 2 November
Igor & Moreno: Beat
This duo first grabbed our attention with a delightfully minimal duet, Idiot-Syncrasy, featuring the two dancers jumping up and down on the spot. Beat has a similarly stark proposition: one DJ, one dancer and a metaphor about the optimism and disappointment of the millennial generation.
The Place, WC1, Saturday 2 November
Main composite image: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg; Kerry Brown/AP; Emma McIntyre/Getty Images