The Week in Review

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The Independent Culture



Don Roos's writing/ directing debut stars Christina Ricci as a precocious 16-year-old who runs away to live with her gay half-brother Bill, played by Martin Donovan. CRITICAL VIEW "Ricci does amazing work: female roles with this much swagger don't come along very often, and she takes to it with a heartless gusto," declared Anthony Quinn. "Roos's film cuts daringly to the nerve of American mores," sang The Guardian, while the Financial Times trumpeted: "The pace is so perfect that Roos's movie should go straight into film schools. Earnest professors could wave it about in seminars on comic timing and writing." "A pleasing synchronicity of form and content," hyperbolised The Express. OVERVIEW Ricci excels as the runaway teenager while Lisa Kudrow and Martin Donovan offer lively, intelligent performances. Roos's script is superbly paced and keeps the audience off-balance throughout. A resounding success.

The Opposite of Sex is out on general release. Certificate 18, 100 minutes





A staged re-enactment of the Stephen Lawrence enquiry, edited by Richard Norton-Taylor from courtroom transcripts, at the Tricycle Theatre. Directed by Nicolas Kent. CRITICAL VIEW "The unpatronising performances are careful not to make the police witnesses animated `wanted' posters: the colour of culpability comes in subtly different shades," revealed Paul Taylor. "The well cast and carefully acted production leaves you gasping with disbelief," asserted the Daily Mail, while the Financial Times found it "...intensely shocking. This is the kind of production that may change your view of the world." "The final, impression is not of justice denied, but of justice perverted," cried the Evening Standard. OVERVIEW Director Nicolas Kent handles this enormously potent production with subtlety and sensitivity while still preserving a sense of shock. The Colour of Justice is proof of theatre's capacity to reflect and confront real-life events.

The Colour of Justice is at the Tricycle Theatre, London NW6 until 6 February. For bookings and enquiries call 0171-328 1000


Hot on the heels of the Royal Ballet's production of Cinderella, the English National Ballet revives Prokofiev's three-act score at the Coliseum, choreographed by Michael Corder. CRITICAL VIEW "Corder has assembled a multiplicity of steps. But he seems not to have noticed that Cinderella has a story... the sense of form which Corder shows in his best works forsakes him here," opined John Percival. "Corder's choreography is very good... Unfortunately he has no instinct for character," said The Guardian, though the Financial Times pronounced it "both efficient and appealing". The Times, too, was won over: "Well stocked with exhilarating choreography ... which brings a regal sheen to the entire company." OVERVIEW Choreographer Michael Corder displays a lapse of form. Despite charismatic performances from the cast, the production lacks both the fun and romance of Prokofiev's score and is hampered by stilted choreography.

Tonight's is the final performance of Cinderella at the Coliseum, London WC2. For enquiries call 0171-632 8300


Following their last album, Three Snakes and One Charm, and several line-up changes, the blues-rock oufit The Black Crowes return with a new album, By Your Side. CRITICAL VIEW "The Black Crowes have elected to abandon the psychedelic pretensions of Three Snakes and One Charm in favour of gloriously dumb, riff-strewn R&B; their natural mode," wrote Andy Gill, concluding, "The result is the band's best record since Amorica." "By Your Side finds them back on familiar turf, doing what they know best - having a bacchanal," praised The Times. The Daily Mail deemed it "retrogressive, but will delight fans of upbeat rock". The Standard characterised it as: "The kind of album that boys like." OVERVIEW This latest album sees The Black Crowes returning to their bar-room R&B format and familiar hedonistic preoccupations. By Your Side will not tax the brain, but offers good Saturday night entertainment.

By Your Side is out on Columbia and is now available in record shops


Photographic librarians Timothy Spall and Lindsay Duncan fight against the advances of big business in BBC2's new drama, written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff. CRITICAL VIEW "Shooting the Past looks less like genuine drama than allegory... If Poliakoff the writer leans towards the mechanical, Poliakoff the director has assembled a brilliant cast that can give the viewer an enlivening jolt of embarrassment or sympathy," exclaimed Robert Hanks. The Daily Telegraph likened it to "listening to an intelligent drunk at a party... Poliakoff mixes brilliant insights with cliches so crass you want to pour the contents of the ice bucket over his head," while The Guardian considered it, "more lateral than literal." OVERVIEW In terms of characterisation, Poliakoff's oddball drama occasionally resorts to cliche, but excellent performances from both Spall and Duncan make Shooting the Past a peculiarly compelling piece of television.

You can see the second part of Poliakoff's three-part drama on Sunday night (BBC2, 10.10- 11.05pm).