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The Independent Culture
THE PLAY

The Count of Monte Cristo / The Tower

This week appears to be Alexandre Dumas week. The Nuffield Theatre presents Ken Hill's roistering adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, while Sinead Cusack is the wicked woman at the dark heart of the erotic melodrama The Tower at the Almeida, which boasts a full-length score from the happily ubiquitous Jonathan Dove.

Nuffield Theatre Southampton, 7.30pm (01703 671771)

Almeida Theatre, London N1, 7pm (0171-359 4404)

THE FILM

The Neon Bible

If your idea of cinema is headlong action then you might be advised to stay home, but Gena Rowlands delivers a typically jaw-dropping performance and Terence Davies's films are mesmerising and genuinely original.

Scunthorpe Screen, 7.30pm, (01724 860190)

THE DANCE

The Nutcracker

Of all the versions currently on display, this one is the real McCoy. Peter Wright pays the work the great compliment of treating it seriously. John MacFarlane's designs are gilded without being glitzy and the whole affair proves that family entertainment can abide by the highest standards.

The Hippodrome, Birmingham (0121-622 7486)

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