Review of the Week

THE FILM

Shine

THE PLAY

A Streetcar Named Desire

THE OPERA

Cherubin

The true story of the emancipation of a young pianist struggling beneath the tyranny of his father as written and directed by the Australian Scott Hicks. Already laden with awards.

Ryan Gilbey tossed aside cynicism: "Far more than the sum of your goosebumps." "Extraordinarily watchable... doesn't insult the intelligence," agreed the Guardian. "Shattering," gulped the Telegraph. "Uplifting... the first essential film of the new year," marvelled the Times. "Already in the 1997 Top Ten," yelled Time Out. "Doesn't make me take a shine to Shine," scoffed the Standard. "Rain Man meets Rachmaninov," snarled the FT.

Cert 12, 105 minutes. On general release.

Hugely emotional stuff.

Jessica Lange plays Blanche (for the third time) opposite Toby Stephens and Imogen Stubbs in Peter Hall's revival of Tennessee Williams's powerful, steamy tale of self-delusion, sex and repression.

Paul Taylor was unconvinced. "Lange comes over like an object lesson in healthy ageing." "Fails to do justice to a masterpiece," concurred the Telegraph. "I still find it hard to believe in her," worried the Guardian. "Finely judged, sensitive, witty, intelligent, stylish ... one of the great plays of the century," praised the FT. "Sustains the proper tension and, when the climaxes come, achieves the necessary intensity," admired the Times.

Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London SW1

(0171-930 8800).

Something is wrong when Stella (Imogen Stubbs) gives the best performance.

Tim Albery revives his colourful production of Massenet's comic sequel to Figaro with Susan Graham, Alison Hagley and Elizabeth Futral. Designed by Antony McDonald and conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.

Julian Anderson gloried in "a thing of joy, an evening of froth, bubble and excitement that should be seen without delay." "Blissfully sung and conducted superbly... Susan Graham wins all hearts with charismatic energy and gloriously rich, emotion-filled singing... magnificently entertaining," crowed the Standard. "Gardiner paces the piece to perfection ... unmissable," revelled the Times. "Elegant and even innocuously enjoyable," grumbled the Telegraph.

Ton't, 7, 10 & 14 Jan at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London WC2

(0171-304 4000)

Even better than first time round. Lush and lustrous, like overdosing on truffles.

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