overview The Kirov began a five-week London season with the British premiere of the characterful, comic four-act ballet about the innkeeper's daughter who wants to marry the barber, led by star dancers Igor Zelensky and Altynai Asylmuratova with Minkus's score in the hands of Viktor Fedotov.

critical view Louise Levene was transported. "Asylmuratova, whose witty Kitri is a heady cocktail of angel and minx ... who couldn't love a man who dances like this?" "Rationality cannot explain why it is such ecstasy to see the Kirov back in London, and just why I cried with joy," drooled The Telegraph. "As an exuberant, high-spirited, joyful and bustling spectacle, it presents a positive face for a company being revitalised," cheered The Standard. "The stage reels from the impact of four acts of virtuosic dancing ... a lusty and broadly animated ballet ... an infectious delight," clapped The Times. "Skitters from one over-clapped (and often clapped out) routine to the next," groused The Mail.

on view Further performances 25, 26 (mat & eve) at the Coliseum, London WC2 (0171-632 8300). Season ends 9 Aug.

our view Superbly danced and often hilariously funny. Let's hope the rest of the season lives up to this triumphant opening. ...TEXT: THE PLAY

The Weir Overview The latest in the continuing wave of Irish drama, Conor McPherson's new play (winner of the prestigious George Devine award) is a set of supernatural stories told one night in a quiet provincial pub. Ian Rickson directs Kieran Anhern, Brendan Coyle, Julia Ford, Gerard Horan and Jim Norton.

critical view Adrian Turpin was beguiled. "It moves in circles, its narratives striking against one another ... the kind of work that grows on second viewing - hard as it may be to imagine a better evening in the theatre." "A play full of the sadness of disappointed lives ... the most exciting evening in theatrical London," gasped The Guardian. "Beautiful ... Through a fabric embroidered full of details, the play makes us feel the transitory charm of life even while, no less powerfully, it tells us of life's wastefulness ... Ian Rickson, directing, could not make a better case for the play," revelled the FT. "When did you last see a decent ghost story in the theatre?" beamed The Times. "Sucks you in ... good stuff but not Brian Friel," observed The Mail.

on view The Royal Court Upstairs at the Ambassadors, London WC2 (0171-565 5000) to 26 July.

our view An impeccably acted evening of storytelling lit by flashes of insight.

THE EXHIBITION Overview Seurat's Bathers

An exhibition devoted to one of the National Gallery's most famous paintings, Bathers at Asnieres by Seurat, plus all the drawings and preparatory sketches. Seurat died at the age of 32, never knowing he would become the subject of Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George.

critical view Tom Lubbock declared "there wasn't more to Seurat than meets the eye ... Nothing heroic nor wretched, neither meaningful nor absurd, about humanity there is nothing to say." "Having achieved its most important task, which is to encourage us to view the Bathers with excitement, as if for the first time, the show sets busily about the business of providing the picture with a context," enthused The Sunday Times. "Cold and still, frozen at its core ... The show itself is beautiful and informative, the best so far in the Gallery's Sainsbury Wing," heralded The Telegraph. "That rare thing, an exhibition that restores one's faith in art history as an aid to aesthetic response and intellectual understanding," crowed The Standard.

on view Seurat and the Bathers, sponsored by Pearson, is at the National Gallery (0171-747 2885) to 28 Sept.

our view A well-put together and strangely revealing show which leads you to think, "Is that all there is?"

THE FILM Swingers

Overview Doug Liman's feature debut is a comedy about a struggling New York actor (played by the film's writer, Jon Favreau) who returns to dating after the collapse of his six-year relationship and heads off to LA, via Vegas, with his no-hoper mates including Vince Vaughn.

critical view Ryan Gilbey admired "this warm and witty American comedy ... Liman shot the picture quickly and cheaply, and it has a kinetic feel without seeming ragged." "It's fun to watch ensemble playing for a good director that makes your average Hollywood movie look totally fake," approved The Guardian. "Fresh and witty ... even those allergic to male camaraderie may take pleasure in Swingers," smiled The Times. "Too messily constructed to be an undiluted joy and snagged by a sense of complacency ... nonetheless a refreshing take on young men," nodded The Standard. "Ninety minutes spent learning how not to pick up girls ... this is what the movies were made for, isn't it?" noted Time Out. "You will never listen to the Bee Gees again in the same way," grinned the FT.

on view Cert 15, 96 minutes, all over London and on general release.

our view Ironic, painfully authentic fun. Favreau is so hip he's making guest appearances on Friends.

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