The Independent


This weekend’s round-up of the best cultural obsessions from ‘Creed III’ and ‘Shirley Valentine’ to ‘The Woman in Black’


There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful this week. It’s March, spring is here, and the end of awards season is finally in sight. But before the culture desk gets wrapped up in Oscar-mania, there are plenty of exciting releases from across the arts to keep us entertaine­d. Our team of critics and editors have picked a

selection of the best cultural activities for this weekend, as part of our weekly Arts Agenda.

Art Jade Fadojutimi

There are just two weeks left to see this first major exhibition for the fastest-rising young British painter of recent times. The 30year-old London-born artist’s large, apparently abstract canvases fetch eye-watering prices but evoke otherworld­ly moods, with suggestion­s of hallucinat­ory forests in shimmering reds, pinks and purples. Hepworth Wakefield, until 19 March

Deutsche Borse Photograph­y Foundation Prize 2023

The cutting-edge photograph­y prize maintains its reputation for startling exhibition­s. Here, two well-establishe­d heavy-hitters – radical African-American videomaker Arthur Jafa and extraordin­ary self-portraitis­t Samuel Fosso from the Central African Republic – come up against younger women artists: Norwegian photo-collagist Frida Orupabo and Belgium’s Bieke Depoorter, who examines the relationsh­ip between sitter and snapper. Photograph­ers Gallery, until 11 June

Lucy Rie: The Adventure of Pottery

A major show with more than 100 works from one of the most popular British ceramicist­s of the past half-century. The timeless elegance of Rie’s clay vessels belies her often dramatic interactio­n with current events – from fleeing the Nazis to a late-career collaborat­ion with Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake. Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, until 25 June

Mark Hudson, chief art critic

Books Fiction: Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

This is the first novel from New Zealand author Eleanor Catton since her Booker Prize win for the epic historical saga The Luminaries a decade ago. With echoes of Macbeth, it follows a group of do-gooder “guerrilla gardeners” who plant crops on spare patches of land, before a billionair­e investor arrives on the scene offering to help with the cause. Read our review in Sunday’s monthly books column from chief books critic Martin Chilton.

Non-fiction: Don’t Think, Dear by Alice Robb

Ballet demands the rigid policing of female bodies and the continued staging of very old-fashioned stories. This fascinatin­g memoir from Alice Robb, who once trained to be a ballerina herself, explores whether an artform apparently founded on controllin­g women can ever be truly feminist.

Jessie Thompson, arts editor



Nominated for the Best Internatio­nal Feature award at this month’s Oscars, Lukas Dhont’s earnest and heartbreak­ing coming-of-age tale revolves around the ruptured friendship between two 13-year-old boys. Leo (Eden Dambrine) and Remi (Gustav De Waele) are inseparabl­e until their classmates begin to gossip about their perceived intimacy. Most affected is Leo, who decides to distance himself from his best friend. Close goes to brutal places but Dhont’s understand­ing of complex interperso­nal dynamics – particular­ly among the young – is striking. In cinemas

Creed III

The Creed series has been ticking along nicely since 2015, a Rocky spin-off saga that reliably delivers bloody knuckles, soulful brutes and gargantuan pectorals. Michael B Jordan returns in the starring role and also directs, while Jonathan Majors follows up his “far too good for this” role in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumani­a with something a little chewier. Here, he plays Creed’s childhood friend, who’s just been released from jail and pledges to face him in the ring. In cinemas

Empire of Light

Sam Mendes’s Empire of Light carries the whiff of dashed Oscar buzz, having slinked ignominiou­sly into cinemas in January and right back out again after poor reviews and paltry box office figures. Still, it’s worth your attention – an interestin­g if not always successful drama about two lonely people (Olivia Colman and Micheal Ward) finding one another among the reels of a Margate cinema. Streaming on Disney Plus

Adam White, features editor

Music Slowthai – Ugly

Mercury Prize-shortliste­d rapper Slowthai returns this week with his third album, Ugly. Where its predecesso­r Tyron left the emotional heavy-lifting to his collaborat­ors, this is a bristling deep-dive into Slowthai’s psyche, from the therapy-themed “F*** It Puppet” to the recklessne­ss of “Sooner”. You can hear about the album in Slowthai’s own words this weekend, in the Saturday Interview by Will Pritchard. Out Friday now

SZA at Madison Square Garden in NYC

Still riding high in the US charts with her second studio album SOS, SZA is bringing her eclectic, introspect­ive style to Madison Square Garden in New York. Five years since she broke

through with her Grammy-nominated debut Cntrl, she has asserted herself as a mainstream force while remaining defiantly undefinabl­e. She is consumed by thoughts of revenge on the salty “Kill Bill” (“I might kill my ex,” she croons over languorous beats), yet shows breathtaki­ng vulnerabil­ity on the acoustic “Special”. Maybe she’s sending out distress signals, but fans at her live shows will feel as though they’re the ones being saved. Saturday 4 March

Roisin O’Connor, music editor

Stage The Woman in Black

In the late Eighties, a stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s spooky novel got its first staging. Reviews were good enough to carry it to the West End (although this esteemed publicatio­n had one complaint: why was there no live dog?). Thirty-three years on, and many screaming rite-of-passage school trips later, and the production is set to close; its final spine-chilling performanc­e will be on Saturday 4 March. Fortune Theatre

Shirley Valentine

Sheridan Smith can do Chekhov, Rattigan and Elle Woods. But her return to the West End is the chance to see one of the performers of her generation in a role that could have been written for her. In this production of Willy Russell’s warm, witty 1986 one-woman play, she stars as a Liverpudli­an housewife who feels her life is passing her by, until she’s offered a surprise trip to Greece. The run has been extended due to demand, and Smith is giving the performanc­e of the year so far. Duke of York’s Theatre, until 3 June

Song From Far Away

Will Young earned an Olivier nomination for his 2013 performanc­e as the Emcee in Cabaret. For his decidedly thespian new role, he stars in Simon Stephens’s monologue about a man grieving the loss of his brother. Young has been winning strong reviews for his performanc­e, and the real-life

parallels are poignant; in 2020, his own brother Rupert took his own life. HOME Manchester, until 11 March

Jessie Thompson, arts editor

TV A Whole Lifetime

Some people say that, in a near-death experience, our whole lives flash before our eyes. Jamie Demetriou’s new one-off sketch show is a bit like that… if the flash was 60 minutes long. A Whole Lifetime charts a comic journey from the cosiness of the womb to a stint on a Love Island-esque series, to the loneliness of old age and the final departure of the soul from the shrivelled body. It’s a terrific, surreal adventure that fans of Demetriou’s Channel 4 hit Stath Lets Flats are sure to relish. Out on Netflix

Daisy Jones & The Six

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s much-loved 2019 novel, about a Fleetwood Mac-alike rock band, is brought to life in this new drama starring Riley Keough and Sam Claflin. All the music, formerly imagined in readers’ minds, has been written specially for the TV series. We’ll have to wait and see if the fictional tunes turn into real-life earworms. Out on Prime Video

George Michael: Outed

For the first time, George Michael’s inner circle discuss the days after the Wham! star was arrested for lewd conduct in a Los Angeles public toilet. They tell the story about how the pop icon refused to be ashamed under mounting pressure to reveal his sexuality, in one of the biggest scandals of the Nineties. It’s yet another case that shows how badly celebritie­s were treated by the media in that decade and, for that reason alone, is a crucial TV event. Monday at 9pm on Channel 4

Ellie Harrison, TV editor

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 ?? (Courtesy Jadé Fadojutimi, photo by Michael Brzezinski) ?? Jade Fadojutimi, ‘An Empathic Revo lu ti on’ ,2022.190x 170 cm, Acrylic, oil and oil pastel son canvas
(Courtesy Jadé Fadojutimi, photo by Michael Brzezinski) Jade Fadojutimi, ‘An Empathic Revo lu ti on’ ,2022.190x 170 cm, Acrylic, oil and oil pastel son canvas
 ?? (Getty) ?? Eleanor Cat ton, pictured after winning the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2013
(Getty) Eleanor Cat ton, pictured after winning the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2013
 ?? (Metro - Goldwyn - Mayer Studios) ?? M ichael B Jordan in ‘Creed III’
(Metro - Goldwyn - Mayer Studios) M ichael B Jordan in ‘Creed III’
 ?? (Getty) ?? Mercury Prize - shortliste­d rapper Slowthai
(Getty) Mercury Prize - shortliste­d rapper Slowthai
 ?? (Netflix) ?? Jamie Demetriou in ‘A Whole Lifetime’
(Netflix) Jamie Demetriou in ‘A Whole Lifetime’

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