The Independent Recommends

Film Xan Brooks

KEN LOACH cuts away the exotic foreign frills evident in both Land and Freedom and Carla's Song in My Name is Joe, (left) highlighting the thwarted hopes and pinched horizons of Glagow's DSS landscape. Powering it forward is Peter Mullan's stellar turn as the "recovering alcoholic" torn between his new life (a relationship with Louise Goodall's health visitor) and his old (the gangster contingent holed up above a minicab office).

On general release

The best of today's offerings in the London Film Festival is I Stand Alone, a French psycho-drama with shades of Scorsese's Taxi Driver. Once again, committed acting saves the day and Philippe Nahon's performance as the bigoted horsemeat butcher in psychological meltdown is riveting.

NFT, London SE1 (0171-928 3232) 4.15pm

Classical Duncan Hadfield

THE GABRIELI CONSORT AND PLAYERS are renowned for their fastidious, scholarly and period performance approach to High Baroque. So the team should be well set to tackle the semi-opera King Arthur by Henry Purcell (below) with a fine cast of soloists which includes the voices of Susan Hemington-Jones, Mhairi Lawson, Julia Gooding, Rodrigo del Pozo, Charles Daniels and Neal Davies.

Barbican Hall, London EC2 (0171-638 8891) 7.30pm

As part of the Hackney Empire Appeal, the theatre mounts a Gala Festival of Baroque Music, presenting the first British appearance of the Venetian- based orchestra Accademia di San Roco, conducted by Andrea Marcon. The real highlight should be the technique of apparently "non-falsetto" male soprano Angelo Mazotti, performing a selection of arias originally composed for the great 18th-century castrato Farinelli.

Hackney Empire, London E8 (0181-985 2424) 7.30pm

Art Richard Ingleby

THE ART OF THE COUNTRY HOUSE exhibition at the Tate (right) is a birthday celebration for the Historic Houses Association, which is 25 this year. It brings together a very eclectic mix of old masters, miniatures, manuscripts and curiosities from 62 of the finest private houses in the land. Happy Birthday.

The Tate Gallery, Millbank, London SW1 (0171-887 8000) to 28 Feb

An equally eclectic and even more eccentric array of objects and artworks can be found in an exhibition entitled Thinking Aloud, assembled by the artist turned curator Richard Wentworth to explore his idea of the mind at work. Works by Rachel Whiteread and Gilbert & George share space with doodles by Winston Churchill and Walt Disney.

Kettle's Yard, Cambridge (01223 352124) to 3 Jan

Theatre Dominic Cavendish

TERRENCE MCNALLY'S Lips Together, Teeth Apart is an Ayckbournesque slice of marital misery served up with bitchy off-Broadway wit. Two couples spend the Fourth of July together in a Fire Island apartment inherited by one of their number from a recently deceased gay brother. The acrid sense of loss and betrayal hanging over their conversation is continually fanned away with forced hilarity. Auriol Smith's production, boasting its own pool, has a good eye and ear for McNally's Chekhovian tristesse.

Orange Tree, Richmond (0181-940 3633) 7.45pm

Cheek by Jowlers Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod bring their consciously theatrical approach to bear on Sheridan's The School for Scandal (right). Presented as a play-within-a-play, performed before the future George IV, it suggests the consequences of puffing oneself up within a corset of disapproval. Matthew Macfadyen shines as the rakish Surface, Emma Fielding glitters as the contrary Teazle.

Barbican Theatre, London, EC2 (0171-628 2295) 7.30pm

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