WEEK IN REVIEW
Saturday 08 March 1997
Cameron Crowe of Singles fame directs a new vehicle for Tom Cruise who plays a sports agent who loses his job and gains a conscience. The film has nabbed Oscar nominations for Cruise and Best Picture and done boffo box-office in the US.
139 mins, Cert 15, Empire Leicester Square and on general release
John Lyttle pinpointed the movie's masterstroke to be transforming "a star's tardy market repositioning into a sign of the times: white collar, out of work". "It's the screenplay that stands out ... has both sharpness and bite in its incidentals," praised The Guardian. "Cruise gives a good performance but it hardly warrants an Oscar nomination," sniffed The Times. "A happy-clappy fraud of a film ... Forrest Gump with beauty and brains," sneered the Standard. "Lauded elsewhere as a witty moral fable [it] is, in fact ... deeply reactionary fare," snarled Time Out. "A high-decibel fanfare for the status quo," concluded the FT.
Crowe's script and direction gives Cruise the chance to grow up and act.
Orpheus and Eurydice
Lesley Garrett and Michael Chance sing in Martha Clarke's ENO staging of the 1762 version of Gluck's opera complete with happy ending, conducted by Jane Glover and designed by John Conklin in a co-production with the New York State Opera.
At the Coliseum, London WC2 (0171-632 8300) until 19 April.
Edward Seckerson eulogised over "its wonderfully subdued colourations ... beautifully mirrored in the ... texture of her staging." Not so Jane Glover's conducting in which "a greyness pervades". "Arty farty," snorted the FT. "Achieves the almost miraculous feat of turning one of the most harrowingly emotional operas into a limp little affair," withered The Guardian. "I quite liked Clarke's attempt to free Gluck from the neo-classical tag: no Ionic pillars or white togas," smiled The Telegraph. "Honest, beautiful simplicity in this big space ... there is nothing monochromatic about Jane Glover's conducting," asserted The Times.
A weak ending from all departments spoils an otherwise strong evening.
Women on the Verge of HRT
Marie Jones's part-populist, part-propagandist new play about menopausal women has songs by Neil Martin. The West End opening after its premiere in Northern Ireland in 1995. Jones also stars with Eileen Pollock under Pam Brighton's direction.
At the Vaudeville, London WC2 (0171-836 9987). Booking until 31 May.
Paul Taylor found it "an enjoyable but patchy comedy". "Hardly great but it undoubtedly offers honest, professionally outspoken entertainment on a subject which could cause complacent men in the audience a few hot flushes of their own," mused The Telegraph. "Deeply provincial ... merely a soft feelgood core ... Menopausal defiance, when given ballad treatment, turns into marshmallow," frowned the FT. "It's a forceful, pugnacious evening but, at the end, I had the feeling that in telling a West End audience that women over 40 should have a full, rich sex life, it was preaching to the converted," preached The Guardian.
The flipside of the Cliff Richard experience. A refreshing change from all the "Boy's Own" new plays.
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
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Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic
The Hateful Eight trailer: Teaser for Quentin Tarantino film leaks early
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile