The Independent Recommends
Wednesday 11 November 1998
THE COMPUTER animation peddled by the likes of Toy Story and Dreamworks' fine Antz (left) still strikes Luddites like myself as a faintly soulless and fledgling innovation. Where Antz really hits home is in its more old-fashioned ingredients; in its Metropolis-style depiction of a totalitarian community; and in Woody Allen's wonderfully deft, funny reading of its worker-ant hero: "the middle child in a family of five million".
On general release
Alternatively, check out John Huston's War Stories, a stark weave of archive interview footage, with extracts from two of the director's banned WWII documentaries (The Battle of San Pietro, Let There Be Light). Huston's war-is-hell message had the US authorities panicking.
NFT, London SE1 (0171-928 3232) 8.45pm
Comedy James Rampton
WHEN JACK DEE was wearing short trousers rather than snappy suits, Norman Lovett was out on the comedy circuit patenting the art of the deadpan. Dee even calls him "one of my favourite comedians". Now in his fifties, Lovett is slightly taken aback that the style he pioneered has become trendy. "It has taken off," he affirms. "Jack's got that sneery attitude - Paul Merton, too. Perhaps a lot of people are really like that, and what we say on stage is what they'd like to say." He is in a deadpan double act with Hattie Hayridge, the other stand-up who played Holly the Computer, in a Red Dwarf Night at the Newcastle Comedy Festival.
Live Theatre, Quayside, Newcastle (0191-232 1232) 8pm
The inimitable Arthur Smith (right), the finest MC known to man, comperes a benefit in aid of the Neo-Natal Unit at St George's Hospital, Tooting. Featured on the bill is the promising newcomer Dan Antopolski.
The Bedford, London SW12 (01444 413442) 8pm
POP Tim Perry
FOR TOO long the Levellers (right) and their fans have been stereotyped as hopeless dog-on-a-piece-of-string types, but the reality is quite different. Always appreciative of their (surprisingly diverse) audience, they never fail to put on a good night of entertainment, with their folk-punk rock proving a perfect catalyst for a boozy evening. This tour promotes their Best of... album.
Ulster Hall, Belfast (01232 329685) 7.30pm
One of the best double bills during the ORIS London Jazz Festival features two excellent worldbeat outfits. Madagascar's Tarika promise to be both a musical and visual treat, delivering traditional music with the energy of garage rock. Cosmopolitan Lo'Jo, based in Angers, France, were a major hit at this year's WOMAD festival. Their intense mix of Arabic melodies, Romany fiddling, African rhythms and other sounds from around the world can be heard on the recent, recommended Mojo Radio album.
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London SE1 (0171-960 4242) 7.45pm
Theatre Dominic Cavendish
ONCE AGAIN, the Almeida has utilised the greater space of its West End second home to create a backdrop as elegant as Racine's verse. But there is much more to admire in Jonathan Kent's modern-dress Britannicus - which has joined the acclaimed Phedre title in repertory - than Maria Bjornson's exquisitely realised corridor of power. Diana Rigg (below) is awesome as the calculating matriarch, Agrippina, struggling to claw back authority from Toby Stephens' creepily conflicted Nero.
Albery Theatre, London WC2 (0171-369 1740) 7.30pm
Parv Bancil's Made In England is a fascinating precis of the tensions inherent in the notion of Anglo-Asian culture. A bitter punk musician watches in disgust as his young protege betrays the older generation's struggle for uncompromised recognition by becoming a lightweight Asian pop star. Bancil keeps you hooked to the polemic, even if it is by increasingly melodramatic means.
Etcetera Theatre, London NW1 (0171-482 4857) 9.30pm
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