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The Independent Culture

Laughter on the 23rd Floor


Gene Wilder is the star of a 1950s TV satire show written by a bizarre assortment of characters in Roger Haines's production of Neil Simon's autobiographical play, the latest in a stream of his comedies to hit these shores.

critical view David Benedict enjoyed "more successful gags than you have any right to expect". "Wilder can say more with a raise of the eyebrow than four pages of script. A must for comedy-lovers," applauded the Mirror. "Could transform Simon's British fortunes. You will laugh a lot," agreed the Times. "Wilder ... a masterclass of technique, timing and our viewcharm," saluted the Mail. "Dire's the word," growled the Standard.

on view At the Queen's Theatre, London W1

(0171-494 5590)

our view

Rolf Saxon runs Wilder a close second in this very American comedy. The MOVIE Lone Star overview John Sayles's epic crosses the thriller with the Western, interweaving plotlines about mysterious deaths and hidden family histories. With Chris Cotton, Elizabeth Pena and new Hollywood heartthrob Matthew McConaughey critical view Adam Mars-Jones admired its aims but our viewfelt "it badly needs a shot of adrenaline". "Stands head and shoulders above most recent American movies, cheered Time Out. "Sayles ... retains all his qualities of intelligence, political acuteness and narrative lucidity," judged Sight & Sound. "A richly textured epic," proclaimed the Times. "We can only wince at overviewthe didactic clumsiness," sighed the FT. on view Cert 15, 135 mins. At the Curzon West End (0171-369 1722) and across the country. critical view A sprawling but typically iconoclastic film from Sayles. The gig Metallica overview The biggest thing to have come out of San Francisco since Armistead Maupin, with whom they have precisely on viewnothing in common. The world's leading heavy metal combo have (gasp) shorn their locks and embarked on a UK tour. critical view Ryan Gilbey giggled at the heavy metal pomposity but "these songs linger in your ears long after the painful ringing has subsided". "An epic set," ejaculated the Express. "This relentless assault on the senses did somewhat undersell Metallica's more subtle, complex qualities," whispered the Times. "Crudely refined noise ... a worn-out pastiche of itself," snorted the Birmingham Post. on view Earls Court tonight, then Cardiff, Manchester and Sheffield on Mon, Tues and Wed. our view A tinnitus-inducing sound level and an electrifying finale.