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The Independent Culture

British Figurative Sculpture. Sprightly round-up of contemporaries who work from the human figure. Flowers East, E8 (0181 985 3333). LAST WEEK, ends Tues. Today & Tues 10-6.

Canaletto. All you need to know about the painter's love for his native Venice. National Gallery, WC2 (0171 839 3321), to 11 Oct. Sun 12-6, Mon- Sat 10-6, Wed 10-8.

Effigies and Ecstasies. Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his Roman baroque contemporaries. A tiny show, but one with considerable power. Edinburgh National Gallery of Scotland (0131 556 8921), to 20 Sept. Sun 2-5, Mon-Sat 10-5.

Bruce Nauman. Noisy, belligerent video exhibition by a master of the medium. Hayward, SE1 (0171 960 4242). LAST DAY. Sun 1-4.

Patrick Heron. Retrospective of the masterful colourist, from his Thirties beginnings to recent flowery abstracts, inspired by his Cornish garden. Tate, SW1 (0171 887 8008). LAST DAY. Sun 10-5.50. TIM HILTON


Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks (Hutchinson, pounds 16.99). Proustian cogitations, masterful narrative and zestful pen-portraits. A beautiful near-masterpiece. JOHN MURRAY

The Giant O'Brien by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate, pounds 14.99). Glorious squalor among the body thieves and resurrectionists of Georgian London. SUE GAISFORD

Maurice or The Fisher's Cot by Mary Shelley (Viking, pounds 9.99). The literary discovery of the year: an unpublished children's story by the author of Frankenstein. See review, page 13. SUZI FEAY

Soho Black by Christopher Fowler (Warner, pounds 8.99). Zombies ate my filmstock - horror romp in London's creative square mile. TIM HAIGH

Casanova by Andrew Miller (Sceptre, pounds 14.99). Sensuous short novel about the great lover's only erotic failure. ELSPETH BARKER


Le Bossu (15). Philippe de Broca's costume drama is a cheerful, lavish, rip-roaring fancy-dress party. If it wasn't for a whiff of incest and occasional bursts of extreme violence, this would be near-perfect family entertainment. ABC Swiss Centre (0171 439 4470) 1.10 3.40 6.10 8.40; Curzon Mayfair (0171 369 1720) 3.00 5.30 8.15.

The Daytrippers (15). Greg Mottola's cranky family comedy is a fast- talking, well-observed ensemble piece which proves that the families who aren't dysfunctional are the weird ones. Liev Schreiber (as a pompous unpublished novelist) and Parker Posey (his sourpuss girlfriend) steal the show. ABC Swiss Centre (0171 439 4470) 1.10 3.10 5.10 7.10 9.10; Odeon Camden (0181 315 4229) 12.20.

Gadjo Dilo (18). Tony Gatlif's story of a young Parisian searching for his gypsy roots in Romania is full of sweet surprises. See it for its accomplished ethnographic film-making and try to ignore the absurdly melodramatic conclusion. Renoir (0171 837 8402) 2.10 4.20 6.30 9.00.

The Last Days of Disco (15). See review, page 5. ABC Tott Ct Rd (0171 636 6148) 1.25 4.10 6.45 9.20; Clapham Pic Hse (0171 498 3323) 1.15 4.00 6.30 9.00; Odeons Camden (0181 315 4229) 12.45 3.20 6.05 8.50, Kensington (0181 315 4214) 1.20 4.05 6.50 9.35; Richmond Film Hse (0181 332 0030)1.15 3.45 6.15 8.45; Ritzy (0171 737 2121) 1.15 3.50 6.25 9.05; Virgins Chelsea (0870 907 0710) 12.30 3.00 6.30 9.10, Haymarket (0870 907 0712) 1.00 3.30 6.00 8.30; Warner (0171 437 4343) 1.30 4.0 6.30 9.00; Whiteleys (0990 888990) 11.10 2.50 4.25 7.00 9.30.

Zero Effect (15). Bill Pullman has a sly, anaemic sexiness as an updated Sherlock Holmes, and his performance is a virtuoso display of affectation, insecurity, genius and vanity. But 22-year-old Jake Kasdan (son of Laurence) should really take the credit: his script is witty, and his handling of detective conventions is easy and unmannered. Remember his name. Warner (0171 437 4343) 1.35 4.15 9.30. MATTHEW SWEET


Lee Evans. The man who's turned the cock-up into an artform. Thanks to appearances in such movies as The Fifth Element, Funny Bones and the upcoming There's Something About Mary, Evans now has the kind of comedy pulling power matched only by Eddie Izzard and Billy Connolly. Apollo, W1 (0171 494 5586), 14 Sept to 21 Nov. JAMES RAMPTON


The Divine Comedy: Fin de Siecle (Setanta). Sophisticated, tart orchestral Coward-ice with a new sincerity and social conscience.

Dar Williams: End of the Summer (Razor & Tie). Grown-up folk-rock from one of the most thoughtful and fun songwriters around.

Fun Lovin' Criminals: 100% Colombian (Chrysalis). Not the step forward we hoped for from the hipster kings of New York, but an undeniably cool breeze for a hot Summer (or a dreary Autumn). NICHOLAS BARBER

Walton: Belshazzar's Feast & Symphony No1 (EMI). A dynamic Symphony and, at times, a breathtaking Belshazzar. MICHAEL WHITE

Ahmad Jamal Trio: Cross Country Tour 1958-1961 (Chess). A re-release of Jamal's Live at the Pershing album of 1958 - a pop hit of its day, with the legendary Chicago Club set complemented by later live recordings. Hypnotic repetitions and free-floating melodies.

Rita Marcotulli: The Woman Next Door (Label Bleu). A hommage Truffaut's film, the pianist's rich, strong and resonant compositions are the music of your dreams. PHIL JOHNSON


Cool Heat Urban Beat. An invigorating collaboration between Rennie Harris's Hip Hop Troupe, Pure Movement, and the jazz-dance trio Urban Tap. The result is hair-raising chemistry. Peacock, WC2 (0171 863 8222), Tues to 27 Sept. CLIFFORD BISHOP


Closer. Patrick Marber's searing follow-up to Dealer's Choice establishes him as the leading playwright of his generation. The new cast is Imogen Stubbs, Tom Mannion, Lloyd Owen and Kate Ashfield. Lyric, WC2 (0171 494 5045), to 31 Oct. Mon-Sat 7.30. M: Wed & Sat 3.00.

Copenhagen. Michael Frayn turns nuclear physics during the Second World War into a fascinating detective mystery - powerfully staged by Michael Blakemore - in the best new play this year. With Matthew Marsh, Sara Kestelman and David Burke. Cottesloe, SE1 (0171 452 3000), in rep to 24 Oct. Wed-Sat 7.30. M: Sat 2.30.

Mr Puntila & his Man Matti. Top of the range drama as the surrealist comedy duo the Right Size take on Brecht, in a new version by award-winning playwright Lee Hall. Now touring nationwide before a three-week run at the Almeida in October. Liverpool Everyman (0151 709 4776), to 12 Sept. Tues-Sat 8.00.

Oklahoma! Trevor Nunn's answer to Guys and Dolls has terrific performances from the young leads, Hugh Jackman and Josefina Gabrielle. It's three and a quarter hours of sheer pleasure. Olivier, SE1 (0171 452 3000), to 3 Oct. Mon-Sat 7.15. M: Wed & Sat 2.00.

Major Barbara. Peter Hall's inspired revival of Shaw's 1905 play about poverty and the arms trade. The ever-suave Peter Bowles delivers arguments as lethal as the weapons he manufactures. Piccadilly (0171 369 1734), in rep to 26 Sept. Mon-Sat 7.45. M: Thurs 2.30 & Sat 3.00. ROBERT BUTLER


The Ice Storm (15). Ang Lee's mournful film about the disintegration of two suburban families during Thanksgiving, 1973. Despite the period details, there's a modern morality at work. Sigourney Weaver and Joan Allen are excellent, but the plaudits go to the young stars, especially Christina Ricci. DENNIS LIM