IT MAY not be a complete success, but there are things to admire in Elizabeth. Shekhar Kapur's film is about a female figurehead (Elizabeth I, played by Cate Blanchett, left) struggling to gain purchase in a patriarchal society. It is at its most challenging as it traces the hardening of Elizabeth's soul, even as it encourages us to cheer on her triumphs. There is a chilling scene when the queen's handmaids undress her, and unscrew the rings from her fingers; it so strongly suggests Gothic horror that you wouldn't be surprised if they continued to dismantle their mistress digit by digit, limb by limb.
What's the connection between Elizabeth and the comic gangster movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels? Both feature footballers in supporting roles. Blink and you'll miss Eric Cantona in the former, but Vinnie Jones is the best thing about the latter - an oddly tender hard-nut.
Theatre Dominic Cavendish
TIMBERLAKE WERTENBAKER'S Our Country's Good (below), which follows the attempts of a young lieutenant to mount a production of Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer in an Australian penal colony, is a robust testament to the transformative power of theatre. It is also, in Max Stafford-Clark's revival, good, lewd fun, with prima-donna convicts and revolting officers driving Stephen Beresford's idealistic Ralph to distraction.
Young Vic, London SE1 (0171-928 6363) 7.30pm
The latest from Jonathan Harvey, Guiding Star, marks a return to form: a soapy comedy which addresses the legacy of grief left by the Hillsborough disaster and probes, with not a little sentimentality, our need to cling to the past.
Everyman Theatre, Liverpool (0151-709 4776) 8pm
Art Richard Ingleby
BRIEF ADVANCE warning of two excellent new shows, both opening tomorrow. The Hayward Gallery's stunning Addressing the Century (right) explores the twin worlds of art and fashion from turn-of-the-century Paris to the modern-day surrealism of Leigh Bowery and Mona Hatoum. All manner of beautiful and peculiar clothes alongside the designs which link them to the major movements of modern art.
Hayward Gallery, London SE1 (0171-921 0600) to 11 Jan 1999
And just around the corner from the Hayward, there will be a chance to see English & American Quilts, Jane Kasmin's impressive private collection of this most domestic art form. With all the thread trickery that passes for art these days, it's good to see an old-fashioned craft given the attention it deserves.
Morley Gallery, 61 Westminister Bridge Road, London SE1 to 29 Oct
Pop Tim Perry
EVER SINCE contributing tracks to the TwentyFourSeven movie soundtrack and the release of their critically-accepted debut album, Crazy on the Weekend, earlier this year, Nottingham's Sunhouse (right) have quietly built up a following for their rustic, bluesy rock. They're arguably an even smoother band live than on record, and embark on an 11-date headlining tour before hooking up with Bernard Butler for six support gigs later in the month.
Riverside, Newcastle (0191-261 4386) 8pm
Another band which is building momentum is Hefner, shortly to go on tour with fellow Essex croaker Billy Bragg. What sets them apart from the rest is an intelligent and acidic sense of humour. The - let's call it unusual - singing voice of Darren Hayman also adds a unique dimension.
Borderline, London W1 (0171-734 2095) 8pmReuse content