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The Independent Culture

A couple of years ago, Eleanor Bron - now gracing the beautiful Making Noise Quietly in the West End - turned in a fine performance as the long-suffering sister in a revival of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance at Nottingham Playhouse. The director was Tom Cairns (above). Until recently Cairns's interpretation of text was purely visual - he is a noted stage designer - but like many of his peers, he has been turning himself into what the industry calls "a hyphenate" ie a designer/director.

He directed a revival of Caryl Churchill's hilarious study of the gender agenda Cloud Nine, not to mention the warmly received TV adaptation of John McGahern's extraordinary novel Amongst Women. He's back amongst them with a revival of Wallace Shawn's play Aunt Dan and Lemon.

Shawn is something of a hyphenate himself. The author of My Dinner with Andre, The Fever and The Designated Mourner keeps popping up in classy Hollywood movies. He was the quasi-officious maitre d' in Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle, Alicia Silverstone's teacher in Clueless and he and Julianne Moore set the screen ablaze in the mesmerising Vanya on 42nd Street. Too bad he isn't in the return of his Eighties play.

`Aunt Dan and Lemon' is at the Almeida, London N1 (0171-359 4404) to 5 June