Table of Contents
Going Out : Cinema
The Bad Guys
You’re familiar with this format, which pops up in everything from Armageddon to The Suicide Squad: a bunch of dubious ne’er-do-wells must band together and do good for a bit. Riffing on heist movies in the same way that Shrek riffed on fairytales, there’s enough in this animated comedy to keep parents as well as kids amused.
Isabelle Fuhrman has been one to watch ever since her supremely creepy turn as the child star of Orphan (2009), and in this award-winning thriller, she’s finally found an adult role that makes full use of her intensity and presence, playing an obsessive novice rower at an elite university. Think Whiplash with boats.
Fancy something a little bit different? How about a mixture of dance and animation, with choreography from Dutch National Ballet artistic director Ted Brandsen and music from the BBC Concert Orchestra, in a visually innovative reworking of the classic comic ballet about a bloke who falls for a lifesize doll.
Filmed by the seaside in Kent, based on Deborah Kay Davies’s 2010 novel, True Things About Me, and starring the always impeccable Ruth Wilson and Tom Burke, Harry Wootliff’s follow up to her well-received debut Only You is a study in female desire and the desperate places it can lead. Catherine Bray
Going Out: Gigs
5 April to 27 May; tour starts Hastings
As a subtle integrator of devious art music and old-school jazz drive, saxophonist-composer Trish Clowes has become a key presence in genre-bridging contemporary music. Clowes and her skilful quartet My Iris, including guitarist Chris Montague, launch her lockdown-composed album A View With A Room on this long UK tour. John Fordham
6 & 7 April; tour starts Manchester
Despite releasing four EPs since he first emerged in 2014, London rapper and poet Kojey Radical only dropped his debut album, Reason to Smile, last month. It feels like the perfect distillation of his lyrical prowess and penchant for genre-hopping – jazz, hip-hop and neo-soul all get a look in. This tour is the perfect victory lap.
7 to 18 April; tour starts London
To celebrate the success of February’s fourth album, Give Me the Future, which became their third UK chart-topper, Bastille head out on a UK arena tour. As purveyors of widescreen, hands-in-the-air pop, expect their pin-sharp choruses to ricochet off the walls with the same precision as the accompanying lasers. Michael Cragg
The Handmaid’s Tale
Coliseum, London, 4 to 14 April
Poul Ruders’ operatic take on Margaret Atwood’s celebrated dystopian novel received a mixed reception when English National Opera (ENO) gave its British premiere in 2003. Now ENO is presenting it again, this time in a staging by the company’s artistic director Annilese Miskimmon. Kate Lindsey heads the cast as Offred. Andrew Clements
Going Out: Stage
Lyric Theatre, London, 7 April to 14 May
Mike Bartlett has written a contemporary restoration comedy to celebrate the opening of theatres post (ish) pandemic. It’s set in a modern-day London teeming with sex, hypocrisy, parties and power, and it stars Rachael Stirling.
The Great Middlemarch Mystery
Various venues, Coventry, 7 to 10 April
This promenade riff on George Eliot’s masterful novel is part of Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture. Performed in various locations across the city and weaving through the characters’ criss-crossed lives, the show is part immersive theatre and part mystery game. Miriam Gillinson
Jungle Book Reimagined
Curve Theatre, Leicester, to 9 April
Akram Khan made his stage debut, aged 10, as Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli. Decades on, and now an internationally acclaimed choreographer, Khan revisits The Jungle Book and transforms it into a cautionary tale of climate change and mankind’s threat to nature. Collaborators include composer Jocelyn Pook and actor-director Andy Serkis. Lindsey Winship
Johnny White Really-Really
Signature Brew, London, 7 April
Impeccably offbeat – as the archly double-barrelled stage name suggests – this unassuming standup finds weirdness in life’s minutiae and mundanity in a series of surreal, lyrical flights of fancy (eg the overly long laughter at the speeches at Tom from Tom and Jerry’s wedding). Rachel Aroesti
Going Out: Art
Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts
Wallace Collection, London, 6 April to 16 October
If you wondered where Disney animators got the idea for the living tea cups in Beauty and the Beast, here’s your answer. These and other Disney creations owe a lot to the Rococo, the hedonist style that flourished in pre-revolutionary France. The Wallace Collection has some of the world’s best examples.
Newlands House Gallery, Petworth, to 14 August
This German-born artist who came to Britain as a child refugee and who lost his parents to the Holocaust has created some of the earthiest, most deeply incised images of London, as well as faces whose expressive anguish is massed up in thick ridges of paint and pain.
Serpentine North, London, to 29 May
Four artists collaborate with people from Barking and Dagenham to create socially engaged art about work, systemic racism, care and austerity. Sonia Boyce, Helen Cammock, Ilona Sagar and Rory Pilgrim have taken the title of their project from a series of radical plays that were on BBC radio from 1957-64.
The Witch’s House
Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh to 17 April
Scotland’s witch trials and executions in the 1500s and 1600s recently elicited a national apology from Nicola Sturgeon. This exhibition by painter Ilona Szalay reclaims those maligned women in a sensual exploration of autonomous female space. Her gothic paintings are frank and intimate, and have something in common with Tracey Emin’s watercolours. Jonathan Jones
Staying In: Streaming
The House of Maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell is now infamous for sex trafficking young girls for her former partner Jeffrey Epstein, but her crimes can also be viewed within the context of another notorious, incredibly rich man: her father, Robert. This documentary series chronicles the disturbing legacy of the Holocaust survivor who became one of Britain’s foremost media moguls.
Raised By Wolves
There are high-concept setups, and then there’s the premise of this Ridley Scott-produced US sci-fi, which – essentially – follows two androids raising a group of human children on a distant planet after the Earth was destroyed by war. This second series returns to Kepler-22b, where AI continues to struggle against flawed humanity.
Travel Man: 48 Hours In…
After a whopping nine series with Richard Ayoade at the helm, the significantly less oddball Joe Lycett takes over as the eponymous globetrotter, guiding comedians through a roster of post-lockdown mini-breaks. He kicks off with James Acaster in the Basque Country, and for subsequent episodes will be joined by Aisling Bea, Mo Gilligan and Katherine Parkinson.
Abi Morgan’s satisfyingly soapy legal drama returns, with high-powered divorce lawyer Hannah (Nicola Walker) attempting to navigate her own apparently amicable split from barrister Nathan (Stephen Mangan). But it soon transpires that an acrimony-free divorce is easier said than done – even for breakup experts. RA
Staying In: Games
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Out 5 April, PC, Xbox, PS4/5, Nintendo Switch
A new comedic toytown take on all nine main Star Wars movies, replete with visual gags and bursting with infectious love for the source material.
Moss Book II
Out now, PlayStation VR
Do you have a PlayStation VR headset sitting around? This beautiful fantasy adventure game about a brave wee mouse, the sequel to one of the best virtual reality games yet made, will have you dusting it off. Keza MacDonald
Staying In: Albums
Let’s Eat Grandma – Two Ribbons
Out 8 April
Known for their intense, finish-each-other’s-sentences relationship, childhood friends Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth explore the idea of separation and reconnection on this third album. The swirling art-pop of single Happy New Year unpicks unanswered questions, while the slow-burn title track exalts the power of friendship.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love
The mega-selling slap-bass apologists return with an album marked by reunions. Not only does this 12th studio outing find them reconnecting with super-producer Rick Rubin, it’s also their first album since 2006’s Stadium Arcadium to feature linchpin guitarist John Frusciante. Suffice to say, it sounds exactly like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
PUP – The Unravelling of PUPTheBand
The Toronto noise merchants return with the follow-up to 2020’s charmingly-titled EP of off-cuts, This Place Sucks Ass. While songs like the pummelling lead single Waiting and the Killers-esque Matilda continue their knack for celebrating the cathartic release of pure anger, the joyously odd Robot Writes a Love Song adds a dose of humour.
Banks – Serpentina
Out 8 April
When she first emerged in 2013, Californian Jillian Banks fit perfectly into the then burgeoning alt-R&B scene, even supporting a pre-pop the Weeknd on tour. On her fourth album she continues her move away from that sub-genre’s clipped emotions, prowling mischievously around The Devil and sounding delirious on the excellent Holding Back. MC
Staying In: Brain food
Long Live My Happy Head
A deeply affecting film telling the story of Scottish artist Gordon Shaw, who creates autobiographical comics documenting his diagnosis with a brain tumour at 32. As he approaches his 40th birthday, we follow Shaw as he navigates the pandemic.
This long-running, short-form BBC podcast series provides daily episodes on historical events, as told by the people who were there. Witnesses recount everything from the shocking 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia to 70s Italian feminist campaigns.
The Honest Broker
Critic Ted Gioia’s newsletter is a treasure trove of essays on lesser-known but formative musicians, opinions on the music industry, and playlists of excellent new tracks. Begin with his piece on Amy Winehouse as a jazz singer. Ammar Kalia