Week in review

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Fever Pitch




Tight Roaring Circle


critical view

on view

our view

Colin Firth, lust object of Bridget Jones et al, stars in Nick Hornby's screenplay of his engrossing, beautifully written autobiographical bestseller about the excitement and excesses of fandom and a life devoted to the fortunes of Arsenal FC. The film also stars Ruth Gemmell and Mark Strong, with David Evans directing.

Adam Mars-Jones detected a bad case of "Arsenal syndrome: the throwing away of opportunities, compulsive repetition of basic mistakes." "I am horribly intrigued by how a supposedly witty feat of literary handstanding has turned into a movie that lies flat on its face gasping for air," puzzled the FT. "Strictly second division... it's still amusing enough in a `funny old game' kind of way," decided Time Out. Faithful and true to the spirit of the book, argued Late Review. "Veers uncomfortably between contemporary laddishness and a shrewd cultural nostalgia," observed The Guardian. "The film's sheer friendliness is its most endearing feature... ebullience, generous heart and delight in the follies of life," smiled The Times. "Puts provocative ideas across clearly and sensitively," enthused The Telegraph.

Cert 15, 100 minutes. Odeon Marble Arch (0181-315 4216) and on general release.

From Mr Darcy to Mr D'Arsenal... deeply disappointing unless you're a life-long Arsenal fan. However, even if you (like me) have never been to a football match you should read Hornby's book.

Ben Elton's stage version of his bravura satirical bestseller with Patrick O'Kane and Dena Davis as white trash killers imitating the screen violence of a Tarantino / Stone-style Oscar-winning film director (Danny Webb). Laurence Boswell directs the West End transfer of the hit Nottingham Playhouse production.

Paul Taylor preferred the novel but welcomed "such an enjoyable, intelligent, thought-provoking play... Patrick O'Kane gives an electrifying performance." "Elton's zinging, punchy thriller has a cartoon vigour but the moral purpose of Jacobean revenge drama... literally, a bloody good night out," cheered the FT. "Superb Danny Webb... Intellectually stimulating entertainment," affirmed The Telegraph. "Gripping, stimulating... Boswell's taut, crisp production... good for Ben Elton for giving us tough subjects to chew," nodded The Times. "It thrills on stage precisely because it adopts the sick humour, sickening violence and downright sexiness ... that Elton is satirising," declared The Standard. "Shoots from the hip and misses the target... a disappointing evening," sniffed The Guardian.

At the Apollo Theatre, London W1. (0171-494 5070).

A sharp-eyed, smart-mouthed, topical satire with teeth driven by the passion of Elton's arguments about responsibility. A shot in the arm for the West End but the film version - should it happen - will be even better.

Becks / Artangel, the organisation which set up Rachel Whiteread's House and the sensational HG, brought together composer Joel Ryan and choreographers Dana Caspersen and William Forsythe and put them in a vast Victorian engine shed where they built an installation of sound and light: a giant, white, bouncy castle.

John O'Reilly raved. "Pulsates with movement and the bursts of crescendos. The overall effect is what you imagine walking on the moon might be like... who said the sublime wasn't fun?" "Leave your shoes at the door and bounce yourself silly," grinned the Independent on Sunday. "All over the castle traditional British reserve gradually gave way to a surprising appetite for fun... the extraordinary state of relaxation it engenders," gloried The Times. "Titanic childishness... Sculpture? Installation? Game? Just what is it?" worried The Telegraph. "One of the dumbest works I've encountered in a long time," growled The Guardian. "Call me Mr Grumpy Trousers but I found myself hugely underwhelmed," announced The Sunday Times.

The Camden Roundhouse, London NW1 (0171-336 6803). To 27 April.

Put on a clean pair of socks and rush over. Warning: there is less to discuss here than meets the eye: this is art to take part in. It is also proof positive that not all arts sponsorship is for the safe and certain.