Alice Jones' Arts Diary: London Road's creator turns the page and prepares to take the stage again


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The Independent Culture

Best known for recording the words of real people and turning them into theatre, Alecky Blythe, the creator of London Road, is returning to her roots as an actress.

She will play a “slightly moody” PA in You Can Still Make a Killing, Nicholas Pierpan's new play about City workers, at Southwark Playhouse next month. Blythe, who went to Mountview drama school, hasn't appeared on stage since 2006. “I only started making theatre to advertise myself as an actress,” she says. “I'd spent seven years knocking around the fringe and I thought I could make work that was more interesting than anything I was auditioning for, and not getting.” Her first play, Come Out Eli, won a Time Out award in 2003; soon after she stopped acting to focus on writing. Why return? “It was six years since I'd done any acting. I'd had a difficult time on a piece which I found creatively quite deadly. I felt I'd got away from my starting point,” says Blythe. “It's difficult to move on after something like London Road. I thought doing something different might inform my own writing. And I don't have to worry about the script.”

Finally, Macaulay learns the art of domestic bliss...

It's what happens when you leave a young star and his pals home alone with a box of paints. Macaulay Culkin has converted his New York apartment into a studio and this week staged his first show, at Le Poisson Rouge gallery in the city. Culkin formed his art collective – Three Men and a Baby, or 3MB – with Adam Green and Toby Goodshank of The Moldy Peaches two years ago. Since February, they have been working on a series of large-scale hallucinogenic pieces, among them a portrait of Kurt Cobain as a computer hacker, the cast of Seinfeld pictured naked on the set of Wheel of Fortune and a childish take on the famous Dogs Playing Poker. “We use a lot of iconography from cartoons... Things that make us laugh a lot of the time,” says Culkin in a film on the gallery's website. “The sillier and funnier, the better.”

The mystery virtues of The Beatles' Christmas turkey extolled anew

When it first aired on BBC1 on Boxing Day in 1967, The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour went down like day-old turkey sandwiches. “We don't say it was a good film. It was our first attempt,” said Paul McCartney in response to the critical drubbing. “If we goofed, then we goofed. It was a challenge and it didn't come off.” Now, as with most 1960s things, the film has been “reassessed”, and with a restored version set for release next month, a new Arena documentary (on BBC2 on 6 October) will explore its genius. Among those extolling its virtues are Martin Scorsese. “It wasn't cinema – it was something else,” he says. “It's just what Godard had said at the time, you know, every picture should have a beginning, middle and an end, it just doesn't have to be in that order.” Cool, man.

Krister's latest role could leave fans cold

Krister Henriksson, aka the original Wallander, comes to the West End in April to star in Hjalmar Soderberg's Doktor Glas. The play will be performed in Swedish with surtitles and has won rave reviews at Sweden's National Theatre. But might following a largely unknown 1905 drama with themes of infidelity, abortion and euthanasia be a bridge too far for Scandi fans?