Five of the best … films
The Day Shall Come (15)
(Chris Morris, 2019, US/UK) 88 mins
Chris Morris returns with a characteristically secretive affair filmed under the radar. As with Four Lions, he sets his sights on domestic terrorism; this time the locale has shifted to the US and is inspired by the FBI sting on the Liberty City Seven. Marchánt Davis plays a preacher who is egged on by FBI agent Anna Kendrick to display incriminating behaviour. It all swiftly spirals out of control.
Gemini Man (12A)
(Ang Lee, 2019, Chi/US) 117 mins
Not actually a remake (although it sounds like one), this sees Ang Lee dipping his toe in the mainstream sci-fi waters he last tried in 2003’s Hulk. It is also a comeback of sorts for Will Smith: he plays a retired government assassin and his younger clone. De-ageing tech, the film industry’s current fad, plays a big role here as Smith confronts his younger self.
Dolemite Is My Name (15)
(Craig Brewer, 2019, US) 118 mins
Second comeback of the week: Eddie Murphy, still reeling from a pretty bad few decades, plays the lead in a Netflix biopic of Rudy Ray Moore, the standup comic best known for the series of films in which he starred as foul-mouthed pimp Dolemite. The comedy pegs Moore as a brash huckster in the right place at the right time; but even he could not have foreseen the blaxploitation revival of the 1990s that gave him cult fandom.
(Todd Phillips, 2019, Can/US) 122 mins
After praise for its beautifully scuzzy rendering of Gotham City, critics are now turning on Phillips’s Joker origin story. Although Joaquin Phoenix is still being mentioned as a possible Oscar contender, most of the ruckus is around a perceived shallowness. The fuss has not stopped it from becoming a box-office powerhouse, though.
Suzi Q (15)
(Liam Firmager, 2019, Australia) 98 mins
Suzi Quatro grew up in Detroit and in the mid-1970s became a pop pinup with her boyish looks and grown-out mullet, which helped her score a string of hits in the UK, such as If You Can’t Give Me Love and Stumblin’ In. Quatro was very much a forerunner for female rockers, and a queue of them – from Joan Jett to KT Tunstall – line up to sing her praises.
Five of the best … rock & pop
Sean Nicholas Savage
Here are some facts about genre-agnostic Canadian troubadour Sean Nicholas Savage: he co-produced a song on Solange’s A Seat at the Table; he’s released 13 albums in 11 years; he has an aversion to cheap plastic (“You could call it a reverse fetish,” he says). He is also very good, and potentially playing in a city near you this coming week.
YES: Basement, Manchester, Monday 14; Rough Trade, Bristol, Wednesday 16; St Matthias Church, N16, Thursday 17 October
Twenty-three-year-old R&B newcomer Olivia Nelson’s route into music is a well-trodden one: having written a clutch of songs as a teenager, she chucked them on SoundCloud and waited for people to take notice. Since then, she’s channelled the attention into two excellent EPs, with the recent Back to You showcasing a supple voice and a penchant for throwback jams.
Colours, N1, Tuesday 15 October
Festival season is not over just yet! Manchester’s biggest multi-venue musical pileup returns with a poster-stretching lineup of more than 100 acts, mainly of the guitar-adjacent variety, with Alex Turner’s mate Miles Kane headlining. More interesting fare comes via louche stoners Easy Life, the returning the Big Moon and absolutely ludicrous art-rockers HMLTD.
Various venues, Manchester, Saturday 12 October
Having mastered the love ballad (at one point, couples couldn’t stop getting engaged at his gigs) Canadian crooner Caesar ditched the mushy stuff on this summer’s second album, Case Study 01, favouring science metaphors to work through ideas around death and spirituality. Bring your partner just in case, though, obvs.
Manchester, Sunday 13; Birmingham, Monday 14; London, Wednesday 16 October
Morten Schantz Godspeed
“The ghost of Weather Report dances freely here,” was Downbeat magazine’s welcome for Morten Schantz’s Godspeed, an amalgam of volatile borrowings from the fusion legends plus Chick Corea and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The London show sees percussionist Marilyn Mazur, composer Kathrine Windfeld and Mikkel Hess’s folk-jazz-electronica group join Schantz for a Sounds of Denmark Revisited festival date.
Watermill Jazz, Dorking, Tuesday 15; Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, W1, Wednesday 16 October
Three of the best … classical concerts
The Mask of Orpheus
The centrepiece of English National Opera’s Orpheus season is the first full staging of Harrison Birtwistle’s masterpiece since its premiere in 1986. With an intricately structured libretto by Peter Zinovieff and a score of tremendous power and originality, The Mask of Orpheus is a complex exploration of the contradictory myths around the Orphic legend, a non-linear narrative in which each of the three main characters, Orpheus, Eurydice and Aristaeus, is portrayed by three singers. This new ENO production is conducted by Martyn Brabbins and directed by Daniel Kramer.
Coliseum, WC2, Friday 18 October to 13 November
A “dialogue between the 19th century and today”, incorporating songs from Schumann’s Dichterliebe as well as 16 newly composed numbers by Bernard Foccroulle, Zauberland is a collaboration between playwright Martin Crimp and director Katie Mitchell. It involves a soprano (Julia Bullock), pianist (Cédric Tiberghien) and four actors to tell the story of a young refugee trying to reach a magic land of peace and security.
Royal Opera House: Linbury Theatre, WC2, Tuesday 15, Wednesday 16 & Friday 18 October
Thanks to some dedicated recording projects, Vivaldi’s operas are almost certainly more familiar today than they have been for 250 years, although stagings are still rare. Irish National Opera is touring a production of one of the best known, Griselda, on which Vivaldi worked with the dramatist Goldoni to rewrite the libretto. The production is conducted by Peter Whelan and directed by Tom Creed.
Galway, Saturday 12; Letterkenny, Tuesday 15; Sligo, Thursday 17; touring to 27 October
Five of the best … exhibitions
Nam June Paik
The first artist ever to make truly memorable video art gets a well-deserved Tate celebration. You will not find projected films here but art made with television itself as both a means of communication and a physical object. Nam June Paik started as a dada provocateur and never stopped subverting everyday life in the TV age.
Tate Modern, SE1, Thursday 17 October to 9 February
The medievalist art movement that stormed Victorian Britain was fixated on women – and their hair. From floating in baths of icy water to having affairs with Rossetti to becoming artists themselves, this show reveals the contribution of women including Evelyn de Morgan and Elizabeth Siddal.
National Portrait Gallery, WC2, Thursday 17 October to 26 January
Inspired By the East: How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art
Islamic influence on western art began with the theory of perspective, which 15th-century Italians adopted from Arab mathematics. In turn, that new kind of art was taken to Istanbul by Gentile Bellini, one of the first Europeans to sympathetically portray Ottoman style and customs. This exhibition surveys the west’s artistic fascination with Islam and finds value in lush Victorian “Orientalism”.
British Museum, WC1, to 26 January
The Enchanted Interior
An exhibition that reveals the dark side of domesticity. Victorian art often portrayed women shut inside richly furnished homes or fantasy interiors. Their comfortable but enclosed lives mirror those of 19th-century, middle-class women. Paintings by the likes of Edward Burne-Jones and William Holman Hunt illustrate that, while Victorian and 21st-century female artists resist it.
Laing Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, Saturday 12 October to 22 February
Shot in Soho
In the 1960s, this small London district steamed with what Francis Bacon called a “gilded gutter life”. It was postwar Britain’s closest thing to Bohemia. Bacon and photographer John Deakin recorded its wild side. That heritage still exists and Soho remains a joy to photograph. Its communities are documented here by snappers including Corinne Day, Anders Petersen and Daragh Soden.
Photographers’ Gallery, W1, Friday 18 October to 9 February
Five of the best … theatre shows
Alice Birch is such an exciting writer – and physically incapable of writing a boring play. Her work is formally explosive and fired up by passion, anger and compassion. For her latest play, she is collaborating with the campaigning theatre company Clean Break to explore the impact of the criminal justice system on women and their families. Maria Aberg directs.
Donmar Warehouse, WC2, to 30 November
There Are No Beginnings
Leeds Playhouse reopens after a £16m redevelopment with a new play from local writer Charley Miles in its new third studio space. It is set during the late 70s, when serial killer Peter Sutcliffe was at large. The play is based on interviews with local women and the cast includes Julie Hesmondhalgh.
Leeds Playhouse: Bramall Rock Void, to 2 November
A History of Water in the Middle East
British-Egyptian Sabrina Mahfouz’s latest play explores interlocking identities, on a personal and national level, and is inspired by her childhood spent around the Thames, Tees, Nile and Essequibo. The work explores the ripple effect between co-dependent nations; how the water of the Middle East has enabled British power through the ages, and how Britain still affects the lives and landscapes of the Middle East today. Stef O’Driscoll directs.
Royal Court: Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, SW1, to 16 November
Royal Court: Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, SW1, to 16 November
A Museum in Baghdad
In 2016 Hannah Khalil wrote Scenes From 68* Years, a fascinating series of vignettes about everyday life in Palestine. Now Khalil is writing about Iraq for the RSC; specifically, she is exploring the role that two women – Gertrude Bell and Ghalia Hussein – played in founding and preserving a museum in Baghdad. What importance does a museum have against the backdrop of war, and what should we aim to preserve?
Royal Shakespeare Theatre: Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, to 25 January
Cyrano is getting about a bit at the moment. James McAvoy plays him next year, but first up is a new production from Tom Morris. He is the director behind War Horse and the recent Touching the Void, so this show should have real flair. Peter Oswald has written the adaptation and Tristan Sturrock plays Cyrano, the romantic soldier and poet cursed with the looks of a clown.
Bristol Old Vic, Saturday 12 October to 16 November
Three of the best … dance shows
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance: Staging Schiele
Egon Schiele’s fascinatingly twisted nudes are the inspiration for Shobana Jeyasingh’s latest work, going beyond the shapes of bodies to explore the (also possibly twisted) relationship between the artist and his models. It is yet another premiere for the DanceHouse, quite the hub of contemporary dance these days.
Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich, Friday 18 & 19 October
Jonathan Goddard & Lily McLeish: While You Are Here
Dissolving the borders between dance and theatre, this is a “play for dance” written by Eve Leigh, and choreographed and directed by Goddard and McLeish. A small cast tackle a big concept, a set-up that takes place over eight millennia.
The Place, WC1, Tuesday 15 & Wednesday 16 October
Hope Hunt & the Ascension Into Lazarus
Belfast choreographer Oona Doherty got rave reviews in Edinburgh this summer and here is a chance to see her 2016 solo, a portrait of disaffected male youth, bringing together keenly observed movement and blistering energy.
The Yard Theatre, E9, Monday 14 to Wednesday 16 October