The Diary: River Phoenix; Arthur Darvill; Adam Fogerty; Kate MccGwire; Owen Sheers


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The Independent Culture

River remix

An exhibition of intimate portraits of River Phoenix has gone on show in Berlin. The show, at the Grimmuseum, features a series of photorealist paintings of the actor who died in 1993, aged 23. Some show the actor in Warholesque close-up, with platinum hair, against differently coloured backgrounds. Others are based on popular pictures of the late actor from the internet. "I painted them from press pictures but tried to infuse his spirit from my memory," explains the artist Javier Perés, an old friend of Phoenix. The Cuban-born art dealer is better known as the owner of Perés Projects, a gallery with artists such as Mark Titchner, Terence Koh and the late Dash Snow on its books. Last year, Perés presented the debut exhibition of James Franco in Berlin, during the film festival. The Hollywood actor has now repaid the favour. His re-edit of Phoenix's most famous film, My Own Private Idaho, retitled My Own Private River and using previously unseen takes from Gus van Sant's original shoot, had its European premiere at the show's opening last week. "We are now working together on a new project for early 2013," adds Perés.

New scores to settle

He's best known as Rory Williams, the male companion in Doctor Who, who frequently gets dragged in to the adventures of the Time Lord via his on-screen wife, Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan). Now, Arthur Darvill is returning to his roots – composing for the theatre. Darvill, who has previously written the scores for Ché Walker's plays The Frontline and Been So Long, is preparing to showcase a new work-in-progress at the experimental Nabokov Arts Club at Battersea Arts Centre. The piece is rumoured to be "a musical subversion of the Cinderella story". Jack Thorne is also expected to premiere new work at the late-night event on 2 March.

A heavyweight swing at Shakespeare

He introduced Lenny Henry to Shakespeare with great success, but can Barrie Rutter do the same with a rugby prop? The artistic director of Northern Broadsides has cast Adam Fogerty, a former heavyweight boxer and professional rugby player, in his production of Love's Labours Lost, which opens at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme next week. Once ranked third in Great Britain for boxing and a stalwart of St Helens and Halifax rugby teams, Fogerty, 42 and 6ft 3in tall, has appeared in several films, including Snatch and Man Machine, since leaving sport behind. He and Rutter became friends while he was playing for Halifax. Last year, the artistic director invited him to make his debut in a Shakespeare play. "I didn't realise how much fun there was to be had in Shakespeare," says Fogerty. "For me, it was like Chinese at first. You could have put me on a desert island and left me alone with it for 10 years and I still wouldn't have known what it was about. Barrie made everything clear." Later this year, Fogerty will appear in Walk Like a Panther, a new sitcom about a band of ageing wrestlers alongside Kasabian's lead singer, Tom Meighan, who is making his acting debut as a bodyguard.

Body art

The replacement hip joints of her late father (salvaged from his ashes), a necklace made from her son's milk teeth, a stuffed leopard's head and a Victorian vibrator are among the objects Kate MccGwire is sharing with the world this week. The artist has opened up her collection of curiosities and put it on show in a pop-up space at the sleek St Martin's Lane Hotel in London. The show, curated by the online magazine, also includes one of the artist's large-scale sculptures made from crows' feathers and will run to Sunday.

Bravo's new Worlds

Making one's West End debut is an ordeal but the actors of Bravo 22 Company have gone through more than most on their way to the Theatre Royal Haymarket's stage. The company is made up service men and women who have been wounded in war, including Rifleman Daniel Shaw, 20, who lost both legs in Afghanistan. On Sunday, the company will perform The Two Worlds of Charlie F, a new verbatim play about the after-effects of war by Owen Sheers. "A few of the guys have found the loud sound effects difficult in terms of triggering flashbacks, while others who swore never to put on a uniform again, are having to for the play," says Sheers. "They have to think of them as costumes instead."