The Week in Review

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Critical View:


IChris Packham romps across the globe in search of mythical beasts, from America's Bigfoot and Bodmin's Big Cat to Nepal's legendary yeti.

Critical View:

"IThe X-Creatures didn't shirk its responsibilities as natural history, but it's possible to feel melancholy about the fact that the easiest way to get serious science on air is by disguising it as a carnival freakshow," Thomas Sutcliffe noted, while The New Statesman: "So trusted Packham's approach that when he backflipped and said that the abominable Apeman of Sumatra could well be a runner, I was happy to believe him".

Our View:

A diverting programme that reveals how `X-phile' gullibility has reached new heights.

On View:

There are no more planned showings of this edition. In next week's programme, Alien In The Abyss, on Wednesday at 7pm on BBC 1, Packham tackles the 23-metre monster of the deep, the giant squid.


A special programme spanning 30 years of the Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen, including Three Pieces for Het, Metaphors and 5 Tangos.

Critical View:

"Metaphors may be 33 years old but came over as fresher and more original than anything our present choreo- graphers can offer," observed a delighted John Percival. "An enticing exercise... This is a choreographer devoted to classic formality, but who inventively and gracefully questions it," exclaimed The Daily Telegraph. "The opening show doesn't make a convincing case for van Manen's current status... The dancers, however, displayed high-bred technique and glamour, and the evening left me wanting more," The Guardian opined.

Our View:

Thirty years on, Hans van Manen proves he can still outdo his contemporaries. The Dutch National Ballet does justice to this important choreographer.

On View:

The Dutch National Ballet is on at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre tonight and tomorrow night at 7.30pm. For bookings and for further information call 0131-473 2000.


The 70-year-old cabaret legend returns with her trusty musical director Wally Harper in a week-long engagement in the Divas season at London's Donmar Warehouse.

Critical View:

Her radiant voice generates kilowatts of pleasure," enthused David Benedict. "Harper's sublime arrangements continue to set the standard for all other cabaret artists." The Daily Telegraph trilled "Her voice and personality can cut through to make the most intimate, irresistible contact with an audience... Cook has that quality of seeming to enjoy herself while putting the songs across." The Times declared "It is a recital where only the words and music matter, sustaining a degree of emotional intensity that you seldom encounter in any popular art form... As they used to say at the News of the World, all human life is here."

Our View:

Even in old age, this grande dame of cabaret injects popular numbers with freshness and vitality. Her magnetic personality and exquisite voice signal a triumphant return to the Donmar.

On View:

Tonight's performance marks the end of Cook's run at the Donmar, but the Diva season continues from Tuesday with Imelda Staunton. For bookings and enquiries call 0171-369 1732.


The erstwhile helmsman of Husker Du and principal precursor of grunge returns with a new solo album The Last Dog and Pony Show.

Critical View:

"It's arguable whether anyone but Bob really needs to go through this piteous parade, which rivals Morrissey for its level of sheer self-obsession," bemoaned Andy Gill, "He needs to change, and fast". The Guardian argued "This time he's made a determined effort to lighten the misery. Although Mould wrote everything and plays virtually all the instruments, it still sounds like a tight, focused band." "An effective reminder of what we'll be missing" remarked The Daily Telegraph, "with crisp rockers such as Classifields and Moving Truckers all featuring (Mould's) trademark guitar howl and engaging nasal drawl."

Our View:

Though considerably more coherent than his former solo efforts, Mould retains his status as arch miserabilist with this motley collection. Liking this album will be hard work.

On View:

The Last Dog And Pony Show is now available all record shops at pounds 11.99. His eponymous solo album is also available at pounds 15.99.


Sexagenarian superstar Robert Redford does interesting things with horses as he directs himself in this adaptation of Nicholas Evans' best-seller.

Critical View:

"Every time (Redford) appears on screen, he wears a blurred halo of golden light, and even when he's not there people keep saying things like `He's got a gift'," noted Ryan Gilbey, observing "Indeed he has: the gift of emptiness: he's the Stepford Cowboy". "This film is set in that hollow universe know only to middle-brow novels and Hollywood stars too cocooned by their own eminence to recognise the march of time," thundered The Times, while The Big Issue deemed it "entertainment for the aunt in your family".

Our View:

Redford may still look acceptable in a pair of jeans, but this egomaniacal icon of the 80s fails to cut it both as a young married woman's bit of rough and hypnotiser of horses.

On View:

The Horse Whisperer is out on general release, certificate PG. Nicholas Evans's book is published by Corgi and is available at all bookshops at pounds 5.99.


Showcasing his new album, the diminutive 80s sex symbol hauls his giant wardrobe and three-tiered, glittering set to London's Wembley Arena.

Critical View:

"(It) was billed as a stripped-down affair, but this was anything but Spartan production," beamed James McNair. "...a performance that inspired a whole thesaurus of superlatives. I'll go with `unrivalled'." "The least funky performance I have ever seen from him," disagreed The Daily Telegraph. "It was never allowed to settle into a rhythm and the end came as a merciful release."

Our View:

Despite a muddled set, The Artist still scores points with his fancy footwork, flouncy frocks and slinky brand of disco.

On View:

There are no more planned live dates. The Artist's new album New Power Soul is available in all record shops at pounds 14.99



Cinema-goers at the premiere at the Virgin Haymarket tell it straight- up:

Ian Cooper

27, printer "Very enjoyable - well worth seeing. The boy Vinnie done well."


41, insurance broker

"The humour is very black and very funny. Lenny McLean, The Guv'nor, was excellent. A pity it's his last movie."


32, fashion designer

"It's a little melodramatic, and the acting was quite shaky until halfway through. But then it kicks off and gets funnier and funnier. Vinnie Jones makes a very honest thug."


27, press officer

"Absolutely superb: the cast amazing, the sound-track fantastic, the plot storming. A shot in the arm for British film.'


23, TV editor

"The violence would be gruesome if you saw everything, but the camera cuts away from the worst. There are some brilliant images. The cast are top totty."