Artist of the week
included the artist Peaches and rapper turned pianist Chilly Gonzales – fellow Canadians who lit up the margins of the early 00s with mischief. Feist had also spent time in one of Canada’s longestrunning indie bands, Broken Social Scene; her own solo work, across six albums, has consistently used the springboard of delicate vocals and intricate guitar to explore a wide range of moods, often wrongfooting expectations. One of the best passages on offer tonight is In Lightning, a full-band outing from Multitudes in which her expressive vocals are offset by heavy percussion, fidgety rimshots and stormy atmospheres – the very antithesis of her more pensive, polite work. “Mother” and “bereaved daughter” became the latest two Feists to toss on to the pile of identities. During the pandemic, she locked down with her baby daughter, adopted in 2019, and her abstract expressionist artist father, Harold; he died suddenly in 2021. At one point, Feist confides that the emoji she now uses most often is “shrugging woman”, given all that she – and we – have been through. A lively discussion ensues about what the emoji means, and whether it’s an absolution of responsibility. (Feist confides that she also likes to think of it as “a little brunette tree, waving at the other trees”.) At its best, then, this is a gig heroically unlike normal gigs. Feist’s brave production – in association with Rob Sinclair, who designed David Byrne’s knockout American Utopia performances of 2018 – packs in much emotion, and some genuinely audacious stagecraft. Less impressive is the conceit in which Kyle allegedly filches a notebook from someone in the crowd, with Feist fretting about looking inside it. She needn’t have been concerned – it’s clearly her own notebook, with her lyrics in it. Emotion and stagecraft act in tandem, though, when Feist wells up unexpectedly while tuning her guitar, telling us about her musician uncle, a mentor who supported the young Leslie when she was in a high-school hardcore band, offering words of wisdom when her first-ever appearance in Manchester went badly. He is gone now; we raise our glasses to his memory. Feist launches into Become the Earth, a Multitudes song that takes comfort in the return of dust to dust. As layers of disembodied Feist vocals amass, suddenly the big-screen live feed shows the venue we are standing in completely empty, with no one there. The footage cuts to an empty stage, and a microphone with no singer – a chilling, beautiful moment whose effects will linger long in the memory. After the loss of her best friend, the CameroonianAmerican singersongwriter finds consolation and catharsis on the dancefloor Laura Kuenssberg: State of Chaos BBC Two My Mum, Your Dad ITV/ITVX Wilderness Amazon Prime Video Welcome to Wrexham Disney+ Who could forget the political turbulence after Brexit? Even through my hot, salty remainer tears, I couldn’t help noticing that Westminster going into complete meltdown made for riveting television. Now Laura Kuenssberg has produced a three-part BBC Two docuseries covering this tumultuous era: State of Chaos. As BBC political editor for seven years, Kuenssberg has attracted criticism for being “too close” to the Tories, but is there a sulphurous (and illogical) whiff of sexism about that? As with her weekend politics show, Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, isn’t it her job to form connections with those in power? It’s evident from the start that Kuenssberg has pumped her contacts list hard. While she doesn’t appear to have landed interviews with any of the “five prime ministers in six years”, the screen churns with Westminster bigwigs (including Philip Hammond, Sajid Javid, Amber Rudd and William Hague), Brexiters (yup, Nigel Farage) and what Kuenssberg calls Westminster’s “real cast list”: aides – civil servants and advisers who don’t usually talk on camera and may feel a strange urge to tell the truth. Some interviewees have a ties loosened/off-duty look, like they’re a few tumblers of plonk in at the office party and ready to vent. Others come across like buckpassing arsonists protesting that the matches provided weren’t damp enough to stop them from starting the fires. Others relive their glory days: Jacob Rees-Mogg, the UK’s premier Victorian performance artist, carps about “anti-democratic” ploys; Steve Baker smirks about plotting to bring down Theresa May. Nadine Dorries trashes May, like a sly cat delivering a dead mouse as an offering to Boris Johnson. The second and third episodes cover the pandemic and Johnson’s downfall, so start steeling yourself for footage of “bad boy” chief aide Dominic Cummings scuttling around like Gollum styled by Millets. Watching the opener, I kept thinking, why did we let this shower of solipsists and gas lighters anywhere near power? And frankly, State of Chaos’s core message (that no one knew what to do about Brexit) is hardly a revelation. But what gripping television – even with rather too much indulgent footage of Kuenssberg lurking, hovering, snuffling out stories (we get it, Laura: you were there). While obviously Tory-dominated, the newsy pace brings to mind the 2021 docuseries The result is a window into a dark, critical time, featuring key players, many of whom, for their own good, should probably now stop talking. Davina McCall’s new 10-part ITV dating show, My Mum, Your Dad (adapted from a US format), made me realise something fundamental about myself: I’m a complete hypocrite. Hearing about what’s been dubbed “middle-aged Love Island”, I felt that duty of care should be paramount. These fortyand fiftysomethings, battered and bruised by life, should be treated with compassion. Now it’s here, shown over consecutive week nights, and – voilà! – the mature lonely hearts, residing in a country retreat, are fully clothed and handled with sensitivity. The tone is eHarmony meets Magic FM, and McCall’s empathy dial is switched to the max. Wounds and scars (one man lost his beloved wife to cancer) are rightly respected. Even the “twist” (their progeny holed up together, secretly dictating who their parents date) is offset by the kids being absolutely lovely. Unfortunately, it’s (cough) a little dull. I appreciate I may have dating show burnout: I’ve become conditioned to expect industrial flirting in swimwear, lashings of fake drama and savage dumpings at fire pits. As the aforementioned hypocrite, I’ve certainly got a nerve complaining about MMYD being done as respectfully as I hoped it would. Still, there’s a limit to watching nice people engage in polite conversation about their “journeys”. We were promised “middle-aged Love Island”, not TV Horlicks. That said, four episodes in, feelings are growing and a prickle of rivalry is setting in. On Amazon Prime Video, the sixpart Wilderness (based on the novel by BE Jones, scripted by Marnie Dickens) is a glamorous, overblown thriller that thinks it’s a long-lost Bette Davis epic. It stars Jenna Coleman as Liv, a wronged wife plagued with bad thoughts about her handsome, cheating husband Will (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). We know Liv has bad thoughts, because we never stop hearing them, via Coleman’s omnipresent anguished (occasionally droning) voiceover. Liv has been devoted to Will, to the chagrin of her embittered mother (Claire Rushbrook). When the couple embark on a relationship-rescue US road trip, Liv starts to consider some very dark options. Wilderness seems to allude to the trip, the marriage and Liv’s psychological state all at once. Two episodes in, Will is so slimy and awful, you wouldn’t judge Liv for giving him a cheeky shove into a handy ravine. The tone is similar to The Undoing or Chloe, but it’s scuppered by melodramatic overkill and unlikely coincidences. Subtract the road trip element and Wilderness is a solid posh kitchen island thriller: silly, improbable, but deeply moreish. The end of the first series of Welcome to Wrexham must have shocked Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. The Hollywood actors and unlikely purchasers of Wrexham AFC sought to lift the ailing Welsh club out of non-league football – why had this failed to happen in real life? Fire the scriptwriters. With this second 15-part show, if you’re aware of football (or even Google) you know the on-pitch outcome. Elsewhere, it’s another deep dive into the lives of players and locals (including a touching look at autism). There’s also a visit from Charles and Camilla, an episode about the female team, and glimpses of Reynolds and McElhenney going pale at the cost of replacing stands. Sometimes there’s too much synthetic cooing over how Welcome to Wrexham has boosted the community. As a card-carrying snarky Brit, I object to my buttons being so brazenly pressed. WTW needs to work as a documentary (OK, a football docusoap) and not a soft-focus promotional film. That said, it’s still a lovely series, with a big, pumping heart, even if it is floating in glutinous syrup. Barbara Ellen’s best of the rest The Morning Show (Apple TV+) Series three of the glossy drama about a TV network, starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, and Jon Hamm as a tech zillionaire. Brace yourselves for some disorienting shark jumping (space rocket missions, cyberattacks) in the opening episodes. Living Next Door to Putin (BBC One) A thought-provoking documentary, in which Katya Adler (below) travels across eastern Europe looking into how the war in Ukraine is affecting people in Russia’s other neighbouring countries. Jamie Cooks the Mediterranean (Channel 4) Jamie Oliver’s life must be a blur of cooking and filming, but at least the nibbles look decent. In this vibrant new series on traditional and innovative Mediterranean cuisine, he first travels to Greece for a tasty meze of TV delights.