HomeArts & EntertainmentArtOur weekend arts and culture picks, from Paramore to Derren Brown

Our weekend arts and culture picks, from Paramore to Derren Brown

Welcome back to Arts Agenda, the weekly round-up from the culture editors and critics at The Independent.

Whether it’s a good book you’re after, or an eye-opening gallery recommendation, we’ve got you covered. Maybe it’s a rowdy gig – or a transcendent play. Perhaps you just want to stay in and watch some telly. Whatever your preference, you’ll find some sage tips from our experts below.

This week’s picks include a “life-enhancing” show on Abstract Expressionism at the Whitechapel Gallery, recommended by chief art critic Mark Hudson, a book of short stories by recent Best of Young British Novelists listee Saba Sams, chosen by arts editor Jessie Thompson, and the predictably gruesome reboot of the Evil Dead franchise, as seen by features editor Adam White. Music editor Roisin O’Connor has positive things to say about indie folk-rock artist Waxahatchee, while TV editor Ellie Harrison flags the new special from magic maestro Derren Brown.


Hilma af Klint & Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life

Af Klint, the recently discovered Swedish mystical painter, feminist and abstract art pioneer, meets an absolute don of classic Modernism, Piet Mondrian, in one of the most eagerly awaited exhibitions of the year. Their surprising similarities – both started with landscape and things of the spirit – and massive differences are fascinatingly explored. Tate Modern, until 3 Sept

Mondrian’s ‘The Red Cloud’

(Kunstmuseum Den Haag)

RIP Germain: Jesus Died for Us, We Will Die for Dudus!

This young British artist-to-watch turns expectations of Black culture on their heads in a series of sinister and often grimly funny immersive installations. Providing a scholarly glossary of “street” terms is a brilliant touch. ICA Gallery, until 14 May

Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940-70

There are just two weeks left to catch this glorious celebration of the undersung contribution made by women to the most macho of 20th-century art movements, Abstract Expressionism. While artists from as far afield as Korea, Mozambique and Iran bring distinctive cultural elements it’s the sense of global kinship in exuberant brushwork and joyous colour that makes this show a life-enhancing experience. Whitechapel Gallery, until 7 May

Mark Hudson, chief art critic


Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

Succession, The White Lotus, The Menu and Triangle of Sadness: stories about the superrich are definitely A Thing right now, and here comes another (very good) one. Jenny Jackson, editor of brilliant writers such as Gabrielle Zevin, Katherine Heiny and Kevin Kwan, has penned an intensely readable, witty debut novel about a family of one per centers. Pineapple Street charts the fortunes – figuratively and literally – of the Stockton family, in one of the most compulsive pageturners of the year.

Send Nudes by Saba Sams

The Granta Best of Young British Novelists list, issued last week, caused some head-scratching. It had previously been the terrain of established star authors such as Zadie Smith and Ian McEwan, but this time round gave us 20 writers who were little heard of. My personal pick of the list is 26-year-old Saba Sams, who may not yet have published a novel but has released a collection of unique and daring short stories. “Blue 4eva”, which won the BBC National Short Story Award last year, is an Aftersun-esque tale of a bittersweet summer holiday, where you can almost smell the sun cream and disappointment.

Jessie Thompson, arts editor


Evil Dead Rise

No body part leaves unscathed in this revival of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise, which scalps, stabs, dismembers and – in one particularly wince-inducing sequence – cheesegrates its way through a cast of relative unknowns. Alyssa Sutherland plays a stressed Los Angeles mum possessed by a demon from the depths of hell, leading her rock-musician sister and three kids to try and curtail the resulting horror. In cinemas now

Lily Sullivan in ‘Evil Dead Rise’

(Studio Canal)


Chris Evans and Ana de Armas appear to have achieved anti-chemistry in this action comedy that reunites the pair four years after Knives Out. They play a couple set up on a blind date, who fall in love in a day, only to have their romantic plans scuppered when it turns out that De Armas’s character is a spy. Clips released so far feel as if these otherwise incredibly charismatic A-listers shot their scenes separately against green screen, before they were awkwardly stitched together in post-production. What happened here? Streaming on Apple TV+ now

A Thousand and One

This haunting drama anoints R&B supernova turned actor Teyana Taylor as Hollywood’s next great movie star. She plays Inez, fresh from jail and tossed back onto the streets of early-Nineties Harlem, who steals back her son from foster care and tries to start afresh. AV Rockwell’s directorial debut hurdles through the years from there, the fraught consequences of her choices contrasted with an increasingly gentrified New York City. If the film drifts slightly whenever it leaves Taylor’s side, it’s only because she’s such an electrifying presence – all grit, pent-up rage and cheekbones. In cinemas now

Adam White, features editor


Waxahatchee, New Century Hall, Manchester

Waxahatchee’s most recent solo album, Saint Cloud, was one of the best of 2020. On singles including the plaintive “Fire” and the plain-speaking “Can’t Do Much”, she leaned into a country-Americana sound of woozy guitar strums and pared-back percussion. In her five-star review, Alexandra Pollard wrote of how the singer, real name Katie Crutchfield, tempered “luscious melodies… [with] a lingering unease, sentimentality by steeliness”. In recent weeks she’s been bringing those fantastic songs, along with others from her back catalogue, on tour, with forthcoming dates including shows in Manchester, Dublin and Belfast. Friday 21 April

Paramore, Utilita Arena, Birmingham

The pop-punk heroes have landed in the UK following the release of their latest record This Is Why, which critic Helen Brown praised as a “heartfelt outburst of 21st-century angst” in her February 2023 review. Expect plenty of rowdy singalongs to past hits, too, including frontwoman Hayley Williams’ gravity-defying belt on “All I Wanted”. Saturday 22 April

Roisin O’Connor, music editor

Paramore’s latest album, ‘This is Why’, was released to strong reviews earlier this year

(Getty Images for Live Nation)


The Secret Life of Bees

Based on Sue Monk Kidd’s bestselling 2001 novel, this new musical has the recipe for a hit: the book is by Lynn Nottage, the writer of acclaimed play Sweat, while Spring Awakening composer Duncan Sheik has composed the music. Set in the 1960s American South, it tells the story of teenager Lily and her family’s maid, Rosaleen, who, in escaping their abusive home, find themselves working on a honey bee farm. I fell a bit in love with this show; it’s a joyful, inclusive crowdpleaser. Almeida Theatre, until 27 May

Eleanor Worthington-Cox and Rachel John in ‘The Secret Life Of Bees’

(Marc Brenner)

Dancing at Lughnasa

Siobhan McSweeney! Ardal O’Hanlon! Derry Girl Louisa Harland! Conversations With Friends star Alison Owen! The cast of this Brian Friel revival at the National Theatre is a thing of joy. Directed by Josie Rourke, it’s about the five Mundy sisters, living in poverty in the fictional town of Ballybeg in 1936. As the local festival of Lughnasa unfolds, their lives appear to be on the cusp of change. National Theatre, until 27 May

Jessie Thompson, arts editor



Bill Hader is back with a final season of this satire/crime caper that’s both hilarious and nail-bitingly thrilling in equal measure. The new season picks back up with Hader’s hitman-turned-thesp behind bars for the murder of police officer Janice Moss – and he’s spiralling. Our critic Louis Chilton gave the show’s swansong five stars, calling it “as bold and unpredictable as ever”. First two episodes of season four are available on NOW

Behind bars: Bill Hader as Barry Berkman in ‘Barry’


Derren Brown: Showman

When the illusionist’s show hit the London stage last December, the spectacle was heralded as “mind-blowing” and “sobering”. One reviewer asked: “How the f*** did he do that?” Now, for the first time, the event is being televised. The content of Showman remains a closely guarded secret, but you can expect to be amazed – and quite possibly hypnotised. Sunday at 9pm on Channel 4


Niamh Algar (Calm with Horses) leads the cast of this medical thriller as smart, stoic doctor Lucinda Edwards. The drama kicks off while she’s on a nightmare shift that ends in the death of an opioid overdose victim, Edith Owusu. Despite the support of her medical supervisor, Dr Leo Harris (James Purefoy), Edith’s grieving father (Brian Bovell) demands an inquiry into Lucinda’s actions on the night. Sunday at 9pm on ITV

Ellie Harrison, TV editor

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