Scotsman critics’ choice: Five must-see shows on this week

Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom

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THE Scotsman’s arts critics round up their must-see films, theatre and concerts for the next week

POP: Joanna Newsom

Over the past decade, Californian singer/harpist Joanna Newsom, right, has started to accrue a level of critical respect and partisan cult appeal one would more readily associate with the likes of Björk and PJ Harvey. She writes obliquely, makes a stylised sound and operates outside the mainstream, yet should be entirely at home in a concert hall setting. Although the harp is at the centre of what she does, her current album Divers is an impressive showcase of orchestral arrangement with Newsom’s offbeat storytelling swimming enigmatically above the swell. Fiona Shepherd

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 2 March, 0141-353 8000

ART: Grey Gardens

As part of the Scotland-wide Festival of Architecture, this show celebrates a smattering of Scotland’s important modernist buildings, and draws wider links between architects, artists and their love of concrete – from Peter Womersley, whose studio for designer Bernat Klein is one of the country’s most significant 20th century buildings, to Edward James, whose concrete garden in New Mexico has had a lasting influence on artists and designers. The show also includes work by Martin Boyce and the pioneering work of his onetime teacher David Harding as the “town artist” for the new town of Glenrothes. Moira Jeffrey

Dundee Contemporary Arts, until 1 May, 01382 909900

THEATRE: Iphigenia In Splott

“What gets me through is knowing I took this pain/And saved all of you from suffering the same.” Iphigenia was the daughter of Agamemnon sacrificed to save the Greek fleet; Effie is a girl living in Splott, Cardiff, who is often blind drunk at 11:30 in the morning. But in Gary Owen’s searing verse monologue – superbly directed by Rachel O’Riordan of Sherman Cymru, formerly of Perth Theatre, and now on tour – these two stories come crashing together; in a performance of a lifetime from Sophie Melville as Effie, below, and a modern myth that, in the words of one critic, “feels like the start of a revolution.” Joyce McMillan

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 3-5 March, 0131-228 1404

CLASSICAL: BBC SSO: MacMillan’s Violin Concerto

It’s slightly enigmatic but like most music by Sir James MacMillan his Violin Concerto – dedicated to the memory of his mother – is rich, evocative and utterly distinctive. It receives its Scottish premiere on Thursday, performed by the wonderful Russian violinist Vadim Repin, and the BBC SSO. Donald Runnicles also conducts music by Debussy and Beethoven. Ken Walton

City Halls, Glasgow, 3 March, 0141-353 8000; Perth Concert Hall, 4 March, 01738 621031

FILM: Human Highway (Director’s Cut)

If the name of the director Bernard Shakey isn’t familiar, chances are you’re not a die-hard Neil Young fan, but that’s the pseudonym Young has been using over the years to direct concert films, movies and documentaries – none of which are more intriguing-sounding than Human Highway, a psychedelic Cold War satire, first released in 1982, and starring Young, Dean Stockwell and Dennis Hopper. This director’s cut – showing as part of Glasgow Film Festival – has never been screened in the UK before. Alistair Harkness

Glasgow Film Theatre, today, 0141-332 6535 / glasgowfilm.org/festival/

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