THE BRITISH reggae musical Babymother (below) is vibrant and delightful, and you wouldn't expect to find those words associated with something set in London's Harlesden. The heroine (Anjela Lauren Smith) wants to be a reggae star - but has to deal with the problem of childcare and the interference of a calculating boyfriend. The picture buzzes with colour and vitality, often literally: it sometimes appears that the film stock has been splashed with day-glo paint. The movie's real star is the costume designer Annie Curtis Jones, who loads the cast up with electric- blue wigs, feather boas, plastic separates and gold chains as thick as arms. Crucially, the robust, sexy songs can make you tingle. This film is in heat.
On general release
Remember how Alien terrified you? The secret was in the patience of the director Ridley Scott, who went against the trend of furious, sensationalist horror and took his time.
National Film Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 (0171-928 3232) 8.45pm
Theatre Dominic Cavendish
THERE WAS always that fear that Via Dolorosa, the monologue by David Hare (below) about his visit to Israel and Palestine last year, was going to be instructive only as a warning that playwrights should never tread the boards. But that gleam in his eye and exasperated buoyancy of tone takes you past the gaucheness and into thought-provoking territory: "Are we where we live, or are we what we think? What matters? Stones or ideas?"
Royal Court Theatre Downstairs at the Duke of Yorks, London WC2 (0171- 565 5000) 7.30pm
Penelope Keith tests her range in this adaptation of Keith Waterhouse's novel, Good Grief - a comedy about a widow who falls for a man because he is wearing one of her husband's suits. Directed by Ned Sherrin, it should be a hoot, if not a hit.
Richmond Theatre, Richmond (0181-940 0088) 7.45pm
Event Sharon Gethings
WHATEVER YOUR views on the return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule, or on the political shade of Chris Patten (below), the period of his tenure as that colony's last British governor was historically fascinating - and the ex-chairman of the Conservative Party was, of course, in a unique position to observe the goings on. One result of this is his new book, East and West, which he will be discussing tonight. As well containing reflections on his time as governor (and on the opposition he faced from both China and Britain over many of his decisions), the book offers up Patten's thoughts about the present and future: How serious are the far east's recent crises? What will be China's role in the world? What can East and West learn from each other? Patten's television appearances have revealed a charming and eloquent conversationalist, so this should be an enjoyable evening.
Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1 (0171-636 1577 ext 260) 7pm
Pop Tim Perry
CELEBRATING THE release of their dynamic V2 album We May Be Skinny & Wirey, the Aberystwyth-based Crocketts (below) journey down south to raise the house as they continue to build a loyal following. Their chaotic brand of punk, spruced up with high-speed folk and cowpunk intrusions, comes across even better live and it shouldn't be too long before they get the recognition that their fired-up sounds and performances demand.
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
(01222 232199) tonight 9pm
Tonight's the last chance for a while to savour the rustic-edged pop of Sparklehorse. They can sometimes appear a mite too laid-back live but nevertheless there are fistfuls of excellent songs from their two Parlophone albums, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot and the current Good Morning Spider, to make this a special event.
Concorde, Brighton (01273 606460) 8pmReuse content