From The Batman to Hannah Gadsby: a complete guide to this week’s entertainment | Culture7 min read
Going Out: Cinema
The casting couldn’t be juicier: who wouldn’t want to see Robert Pattinson, one of our most unpredictable actors, opposite the none-more-charismatic Zoë Kravitz (above) and always intriguing Paul Dano? The fact that they happen to be playing the Bat, the Cat and the Riddler in Gotham City’s seedy underworld is almost incidental to the appeal.
The Sanctity of Space
Mountaineers turned film-makers Renan Ozturk and Freddie Wilkinson combine archive, self-portrait, endurance reportage and a celebration of the great outdoors in this ambitious, adventurous documentary that takes a sideways look at what really motivates explorers of the planet’s loftiest and most forbidding environments.
Ali & Ava
From director Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant) comes a story of an unexpected romance, which flowers between Claire Rushbrook’s Ava and Adeel Akhtar’s Ali. The Rainer Werner Fassbinder classic Ali: Fear Eats the Soul feels like an influence, with the contemporary Bradford setting proving an invigorating new context.
A portrait of British counterculture icon Don Letts, the eponymous “rebel dread”. To some audiences, this doc will make for a nostalgic trip down memory lane, while for others its archives and recollections will fill provide valuable missing information on a key component of a London scene that included the likes of the Clash, Sex Pistols and Rough Trade’s Jeanette Lee. Catherine Bray
Going Out: Gigs
5 to 11 March; tour starts Bristol
Restless art-pop experimentalist Yves Tumor (above) released one of 2020’s best albums in the shape of Heaven to a Tortured Mind, a rock record that swapped early noise experiments for heaving, carnal anthems. While that sound continued on last year’s excellent The Asymptotical World EP, sonic shape-shifting is also a fundamental part of their DNA.
Country 2 Country festival
11 to 13 March; The O2, London; The OVO Hydro, Glasgow; 3 Arena, Dublin
The annual arena-based hoedown returns, slightly later than planned, but boasting a heaving lineup of country music greats. Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker and Luke Combs headline across the three days and three cities, with support from the likes of Kip Moore and American Idol season 10 winner, Scotty McCreery. Michael Cragg
The Golden Cockerel
Hackney Empire, London E8, 5 March; touring to 30 May
The centrepiece of English Touring Opera’s spring touring programme is a new production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s final opera, a satire on imperial expansionism and military incompetence based on a poem by Pushkin. The Golden Cockerel is directed by James Conway and conducted by ETO’s new music director Gerry Cornelius, with Grant Doyle as the dozy emperor Dodon. Andrew Clements
Pizza Express Jazz Club, London, 5 March; Ronnie Scott’s, Sun, 6 March
UK pianist-composer Nikki Iles has long been a gifted interpreter of American legend Bill Evans’ piano genius, and a visionary bandleader, too. These gigs for 80th-celebrating bassist Dave Green and vocal star Norma Winstone (5 March) and her own 18-piece big band (6 March) showcase both formidable talents. John Fordham
Going Out: Art
White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, 9 March to 14 April
Today we imbibe street art all the time, barely considering if it’s any good, but this powerful German artist showed how simple graffiti forms (above) can be genuinely expressive. This exhibition focuses on the visceral, primitivist paintings of cavorting stick figures the pseudonymous Penck did in the early 1980s after escaping East Germany.
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, to 29 May
This is a joyous encounter with Renaissance art, free from phoney reverence or heavy academicism. It’s fun for everyone and genuinely beautiful. Crivelli painted ripe trompe l’oeil fruits that burst in on his religious scenes and upstage the saints. His bejewelled canvases look amazing in a “white cube” contemporary space.
Jesse Darling: No Medals No Ribbons
Modern Art Oxford, 5 March to 1 May
Warped metal ladders stretch around the gallery like broken rollercoasters. Drunken sandbags and sacks of sprouting vegetation lie around the floor. Darling’s installations depict a world in chaos. And this is as it should be, for they strive to expose the weakness and mutability of the political and social order.
South London Gallery,9 March to 5 June
If you’re a fan of the French TV comedy Call My Agent, regular cast member Thibault de Montalembert appears in this film installation based on Eugène Ionesco’s play La Leçon. It shows an absurdist language lesson in which Theobald herself appears, meditating on her loss of her French mother tongue. Jonathan Jones
Going Out: Stage
National Theatre, to 9 April
Alecky Blythe, writer of the extraordinary verbatim musical London Road, has created another work made up entirely of real-life interviews. Our Generation will weave together five years of conversation with 12 young people from across the UK.
Dundee Rep, to 19 March
The Scottish premiere of Lucy Kirkwood’s dazzlingly thoughtful play. Two retired nuclear scientists are holed up in an isolated cottage as the world crumbles. What are they hiding from and will their past catch up with them? Miriam Gillinson
Touring 6 to 19 March, starts Manchester
Few standup shows have had an impact as seismic as Gadsby’s 2018 Netflix special Nanette, which unsparingly deconstructed the ways comedy can exacerbate trauma. In comparison, the Australian’s latest show, Body of Work, is an exercise in joy: taking in observations on marriage and the hypocrisy of Jeff Bezos. Rachel Aroesti
Dance Reflections festival
Various London venues, 9 to 23 March
A buzzy new festival featuring now-classic works such as Lucinda Childs’s Dance and Trisha Brown’s Set and Reset, alongside a crop of European artists. Lyndsey Winship
Staying In: Streaming
BBC iPlayer, 8 March
At last: a proper TV vehicle for the inimitable comic talents of poet-standup Tim Key. Created by the Gibbons brothers (known for their work on all things Alan Partridge), the show follows the titular protagonist as he attempts to prosecute the highly insouciant Thomasine (Daisy May Cooper) in 1640s East Anglia.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
Apple TV+, 11 March
Based on Walter Mosley’s novel, this lightly sci-fi drama stars Samuel L Jackson as a ninetysomething man with dementia who undergoes an experimental medical procedure that allows him to remember his life in perfect detail – a superpower he uses to investigate the recent death of his nephew. RA
ITV, 7 March
A woman, returning to her south London home, is stunned to find it occupied by new owners. That’s the compellingly weird premise of this thriller about marital and monetary strife, starring Tuppence Middleton and Martin Compston.
The Andy Warhol Diaries
Netflix, 9 March
Take away the carefully constructed image, the talent for hype-building and the self-conscious mystery, and what’s left? This documentary from super-producer Ryan Murphy aims to unearth the man behind the Warhol brand via journal entries and rarely seen footage. RA
Staying In: Games
Have a Nice Death
Out Tue, PC
The Grim Reaper heads out to deliver some death himself, to compensate for his employees’ laziness (above). An expressive, beautifully animated action game.
Out now, consoles, PC
A charming, beautifully soundtracked adventure about a hapless Russian cosmonaut on an alien planet, with a classic-animation aesthetic and a sharp sense of humour. Keza MacDonald
Staying In: Albums
Nilüfer Yanya – Painless
A sense of modern disquiet permeates London alt-pop practitioner Yanya’s music. On 2019’s rave-reviewed, genre agnostic debut Miss Universe she explored spurious wellness culture, while on this follow-up Yanya (above) turns her gaze inward, unpicking relationship breakdowns and loneliness over a refined sonic palette of angular guitars and scuzzy drum machines.
Stromae – Multitude
Belgian superstar Paul Van Haver, who has collaborated with the likes of Kanye West, Lorde and Coldplay, returns with his first album in nine years. While playful lead single Santé celebrates the unsung heroes of lockdown, complete with dance routine, sky-scraping follow-up L’enfer tries to find hope in the fog of depression.
Dolly Parton – Run, Rose, Run
After helping fund the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, country music titan Dolly Parton returns to music for her 48th (!) album. Showcasing her penchant for lyrical storytelling, the 12-track album is a companion piece to Parton’s novel, co-authored with James Patterson, which focuses on an up-and-coming singer-songwriter on the run.
Guided By Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral
In their near 40-year career, the prolific indie rock heroes have featured 32 different members in their lineup and recorded 35 studio albums. Last year they chucked out two albums, while in 2020 it was three. Crystal Nuns Cathedral marks their first of 2022 and features the rollicking Never Mind the List. MC
Staying In: Brain food
Tue, 8pm, Sky Arts
Director Bernadette Wegenstein films one of classical music’s foremost female conductors, Marin Alsop (above), in this engaging documentary tracing her path through a male-dominated industry to become Leonard Bernstein’s protege and ultimately train the next generation of stars.
Me Reading Stuff
Artist Robyn O’Neil hosts this short-form, esoteric podcast that does what it says on the tin: plays out her choice of poems, literature and letters. The joy lies in O’Neil’s impeccable taste and delivery, meandering from Nabokov to Creeley.
Launched in 2009 as a way for hip-hop fans to note down their favourite lyrics, website Genius.com has since become not only a repository of almost every popular recorded lyric but also hosts fascinating, granular analysis. Ammar Kalia