Five of the best … films
Sonic the Hedgehog (PG)
(Jeff Fowler, 2019, US/Jap/Can) 99 mins
It’s finally here, after a fiasco of a trailer that caused jaws to drop across the globe and forced the designers back to the drawing board. Can Sonic become the first half-decent video game adaptation (a list that sadly does not include the fleetingly promising Detective Pikachu)? The ultra-fast blue hedgehog has plenty of scope for kid-friendly action and funnies, so the chances are pretty good.
(Bong Joon-ho, 2019, South Korea) 132 mins
They did it: Parasite brought the house down at the Oscars last weekend, winning four awards and securing a place in history as the first non-English-language film to win the top prize. So it’s a virtually compulsory cinema visit now to see a masterly satire-turned-horror film that has pertinent points to make about late-stage capitalism.
(Autumn de Wilde, 2020, UK) 125 mins
The Jane Austen novel, which in the 1990s powered the careers of both Gwyneth Paltrow and Alicia Silverstone, is reinvented for another generation. Visually arch, and with more than a touch of Wes Anderson, this has Anya Taylor-Joy as the wannabe matchmaker of the title, and Beast’s Johnny Flynn as the hunky Mr Knightley. Miranda Hart is also on hand as the ever-yacking Miss Bates, as is Bill Nighy as Emma’s father Mr Woodhouse.
The Lighthouse (15)
(Robert Eggers, 2019, Can/US) 109 mins
Still hanging on in there, ignoring its Oscar shutout, is this reliably berserk study of two lighthouse keepers – Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson – confined together on a New England lighthouse in the 19th century. Suffice to say, things do not go smoothly. Director Robert Eggers, best known for The Witch, throws in one rogue element after another to keep us on our toes. Filmed in black-and-white, it looks great, too.
(Jerry Zucker, 1990, US) 126 mins
This blockbusting afterlife romcom, directed, unexpectedly, by Jerry Zucker, is wheeled out for Valentine’s Day. The reason for its success is not hard to isolate: it zeroes in on the heartstrings with lethal accuracy in a tale of murder, grief and protection from beyond the grave.
Five of the best … rock, pop & jazz
Matty Healy and co’s delayed fourth album, Notes on a Conditional Form – originally due this month, now out in April – continues the band’s refusal to be pigeonholed, veering from People’s noisy emo to new single Me & You Together Song’s Busted-esque strumalong. Expect a few more genres to be unironically showcased at these arena shows.
Nottingham, Saturday 15; Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunday 16; Leeds, Monday 17; Bournemouth, Wednesday 19; London, Friday 21 February; touring to 3 March
Fresh from touring with fellow alt-pop practitioner Shura, Devon’s Rosie Lowe heads out on another jaunt in support of last May’s second album, YU. While her debut album, 2016’s introspective Control, was mainly recorded at 3am, its follow-up lets more light in, with highlight The Way a sun-drenched ode to falling in love.
Manchester, Saturday 15; Brighton, Tuesday 18; London, Wednesday 19; Bristol, Thursday 20 February
Burned out by label politics, financial woes and a lack of self-confidence following 2014’s Otherness album, Kindness, AKA Adam Bainbridge, focused instead on other people’s projects. Collaborations with Blood Orange, Solange and Robyn eventually led them back to the studio, with last year’s typically languid third album, Something Like a War, the result.
Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, Tuesday 18; Yes, Manchester, Thursday 20; EartH, N16, 22 February
Guernsey brainbox Alex Crossan, who trades as producer and multi-instumentalist Mura Masa, takes his grunge-inspired second album Raw Youth Collage (RYC) on the road. Expect guest vocalists, controlled mayhem and the songs from his hip-hop and dance-inspired 2017 self-titled breakthrough to be heavily reworked.
Alexandra Palace, N22, Thursday 20; O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 22 February
Imelda May, Lisa O’Neill, Radie Peat et al: Imagining Ireland
Imelda May’s recent return to the soulful directness of her origins in blues and jazz makes her a fitting headliner for this gig’s theme of Irish women “speaking up, speaking louder”. Edgy yet traditional folk singers Lisa O’Neill and Radie Peat and young singer-songwriter Soak also join the powerful bill.
Barbican Hall, EC2, Friday 21 February
Three of the best … classical concerts
Nixon in China
The 1987 premiere of Nixon in China, with its almost Verdian depiction of Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972, was one of the landmark moments of 20th-century music theatre. A new generation of stagings of John Adams’s first opera has shed fresh light on the score. One of those, directed by John Fulljames, was first seen in Copenhagen last year and now comes to Scottish Opera, with Eric Greene as Nixon, Mark Le Brocq as Mao Tse-Tung and Julia Sporsén as Pat Nixon. Joana Carneiro conducts.
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tuesday 18 to 22; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, 27 & 29 February
François-Xavier Roth is a familiar figure here as a guest conductor but this appearance is with the Cologne orchestra he’s led as music director since 2015. Their contribution to the Beethoven anniversary celebrations is an interpretation of the famous academy concerts that Beethoven put on in Vienna in the 1800s. It includes his Emperor Concerto and extracts from orchestral pieces and piano sonatas, alongside modern works by BA Zimmermann, Helmut Lachenmann and Francesco Filidei; a specially commissioned score by Isabel Mundry binds it all together.
Royal Festival Hall, SE1, Friday 21 February
The Sixteen, recorder player Michala Petri, Florilegium and the Academy of Ancient Music headline at Bath’s annual weekend of all things baroque. Harry Christophers’s group sing Purcell and Domenico Scarlatti; Petri plays Bach’s flute sonatas; and Florilegium mix his trio sonatas with Couperin; while there’s Handel, Corelli, Torelli and a Bach cantata in the AAM’s programme.
Various venues, Thursday 20 to 22 February
Five of the best … exhibitions
Bookish conceptual artist Miller grew up in Yorkshire, and this home ground retrospective is full of nostalgia for his 1970s childhood here as well as the old paperback covers that inspire his art. Paintings of orange Penguin books and blue Pelican books abound. He uses their titles to explore memories of the Yorkshire landscape.
York Art Gallery, to 31 May
After one of her projects went viral, American artist Haley Morris-Cafiero got trolled by online thugs who commented on her appearance. So she tracked down their profile photos and dressed up as them. In her new work The Bully Pulpit she masquerades as her own trolls in crude costumes and prosthetic disguises.
TJ Boulting, W1, to 14 March
Alan Davie and David Hockney
In the early 1960s, Hockney was a pop supernova, bringing humour and brilliance to British art. His unprecedented paintings of modern life featuring Typhoo tea, Cliff Richard and men in love had an untroubled, honest eye for a new era. This show mixes his optimistic young art with the much angrier, more troubled and introverted early paintings of Alan Davie.
Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, Saturday 15 February to 31 May
Lines of Beauty
Drawing reached mind-boggling peaks of excellence in Renaissance and baroque Europe, winning recognition as an art in its own right. Rulers and aristocrats were proud to show off their albums of sketches. One of the greatest collections still in private hands belongs to the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth House. This exhibition gives a taste of its wonders. Get up close to the likes of Rembrandt, Rubens and Poussin.
Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, to 25 May
We Will Walk
Anything that came to hand was useful in the fight for civil rights in the 1960s. African-American artists in the south evolved such strategies as the “yard show” – a temporary exhibition outside your own house created with found stuff. This exhibition juxtaposes political quilts and haunted guitars with moving photos and includes Bessie Harvey and Freeman Vines.
Turner Contemporary, Margate, to 3 May
Five of the best … theatre shows
Caryl Churchill’s intense, intellectual plays can sound a bit intimidating for some, but put them on stage and they are such a thrill. Here is writing that makes the theatre buzz with mysterious energy and tension. A Number, from 2002, is about a father and son – and genetic cloning. Polly Findlay’s production stars Roger Allam and Colin Morgan, who plays three versions of the same character.
Bridge Theatre, SE1, to 14 March
Back to the Future
Great Scott! Marty McFly and Dr Emmett Brown are going back to the future – only this time they are doing it on stage. This musical has been adapted by the film’s creative team and will include new music from Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri. The show opens in Manchester ahead of a West End run.
Opera House, Manchester, Thursday 20 February to 17 May
The Realistic Joneses
Will Eno’s work has always been seriously smart and decidedly quirky. The Realistic Joneses is his first mainstream hit but it is still pleasingly bizarre. Eerie, funny, truthful writing, it is about two couples and neighbours who are both called Jones. In true Beckettian style, the gang don’t get up to an awful lot. But as night falls and they sit and chat, meaning builds and the atmosphere darkens. Simon Evans directs Sharon Small, Clare Foster, Corey Johnson and Jack Laskey.
Theatre Royal: Ustinov Studio, Bath, to 7 March
The Upstart Crow
The hit BBC TV series showed that a comedy about Shakespeare could, actually, be quite fun. Now Ben Elton’s show is theatre-bound and will feature David Mitchell in his West End debut, alongside Gemma Whelan, Helen Monks and Mark Heap. The play picks up after Will has just produced Measure for Measure, which didn’t go down a storm. Can he pen a hit and secure his reputation? (Spoiler: yes.)
Gielgud Theatre, W1, to 25 April
I, Cinna (the Poet)
Tim Crouch’s writing is a draw in whichever medium he chooses: he co-wrote Toby Jones’s TV series Don’t Forget the Driver but he is also an exceptionally inventive playwright. This is his fifth play in a series about Shakespeare’s minor characters. I, Cinna focuses on the poet in Julius Caesar, who is mistaken for someone else and torn to pieces by an angry mob. Will the young audience in the theatre help Cinna rewrite his story?
Unicorn Theatre, SE1, to 29 February
Three of the best … dance shows
Royal Ballet: Dances at a Gathering / The Cellist
One of the best storytellers in ballet, Cathy Marston gets her first main stage commission for the Royal Ballet, The Cellist – and about time, too. It is a one-act work inspired by the life of cellist Jacqueline du Pré, and comes in a double bill with Jerome Robbins’s 1969 Dances at a Gathering.
Royal Opera House, WC2, Monday 17 February to 4 March
Scottish Dance Theatre: Antigone, Interrupted
A new solo for Solène Weinachter, who was hugely impressive in Lost Dog’s Juliet & Romeo. SDT’s artistic director Joan Clevillé transforms Sophocles’s Antigone into a tale for today, exploring the body as a tool for resistance.
Perth, Sat; Edinburgh, Thursday 20 to 22 February; touring to 30 May
Message in a Bottle
A dance version of a jukebox musical, set to the songs of Sting. Choreographer Kate Prince (best known for feelgood hip-hop with ZooNation), turns Fields of Gold, Roxanne and the rest into the backdrop for a story about the adventures of three exiled siblings.
Peacock Theatre, WC2, to 21 March
Main composite image: (clockwise from top left), A Number; Parasite; Rosie Lowe; Sonic the Hedgehog