The Week in Review

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THE FILM THE MASK OF ZORRO

Anthony Hopkins's elderly Zorro instructs Antonio Banderas's bandit in the etiquette of swordplay and personal hygiene in Martin Campbell's swashbuckler.

"This lavish rendering is certainly a crowd-pleaser, and positively revels in its magpie pick'n'mix composition. Indeed, the sense of deja vu will be overpowering to anyone who has seen an action adventure movie in the past 20 years," warned Anthony Quinn. "An entirely honourable attempt at resurrecting a defunct hero," noted The Express. "Overlong, and laden with cliche, The Mask of Zorro still conspires to get away with it," conceded The Guardian. "It has restored my faith in remakes. Banderas sends himself up just enough, Zeta-Jones is a gorgeous Mexican rose and Hopkins pulls off his trick of imbuing comic-book schlock with oddly moving depth," cried The Spectator.

Despite being half an hour too long and packed with cliches, Campbell's colourful picture knows how to stage a spectacle and keeps Zorro's glossy reputation intact.

The Mask of Zorro is on general release, certificate PG. 137 minutes

THE PLAY HINDLE WAKES

Having called a halt in 1996 after the Manchester bombing, Helena Kaut-Howson's staging of Stanley Houghton's 1912 play returns to the refurbished Royal Exchange.

"[The production is] all the more fitting because the play itself turns on a spirited refusal to be intimidated. The warmth and conviction of the company are terrific, with a lanky, amusingly sheepish Pearce Quigley timing the naiveties and circumspect sincerities of the toff son in a surprising comic fashion," reported Paul Taylor. "Hindle Wake's heart beats strongly, and while it is unlikely to win the theatre many new friends, it will please many old ones," wrote the Daily Mail. "Sue Johnston makes Mrs Jeffcote a highly entertaining snob and Claire Rushbrook's Fanny is winningly spirited. It is a joy to get back to this intimate theatre," said The Daily Telegraph.

The themes in Hindle Wakes prove particularly resonant in the light of the IRA bombing and they are powerfully conveyed by the cast. A triumphant start for the revamped Royal Exchange.

Hindle Wakes is at the Manchester Royal Exchange until 9 January. For bookings and enquiries call 0161-833 9833

THE EXHIBITION GRINLING GIBBONS

The 17th-century wood carver, best known for his work in St Paul's Cathedral, is shown alongside a selection of his contemporaries in an exhibition at the V&A.

"You'll see an art that can claim the word's full range of meaning: craft and bizarrerie and inquisitiveness," exclaimed Tom Lubbock, adding: "He's weird and sensuous and a little disturbing. He might have been made for today." "These life-like yet wooden arrangements seem both macabre and kitsch," saidTime Out, while the Mail On Sunday pronounced: "It's sensible to put in work by contemporaries. What diminishes them is the proximity of Gibbons; where they produce conventional sculptures of birds, his seem on the verge of opening their eyes and taking flight."

Elegant yet eerie, baroque but bizarrely post-modern, Gibbons's carvings seem extraordinarily up-to-date when displayed out of their usual context of churches, castles and stately homes.

Grinling Gibbons and the Art of Carving is at the V&A, SW7 until 24 January. For enquiries call 0171-938 8500.

THE GIG DURAN DURAN

Singer Simon Le Bon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes cash in on Eighties nostalgia and embark on a national tour with a depleted version of their band, Duran Duran.

"The old camp fluency gradually returned until Le Bon was prancing around doing that turn-around-and-look-surprised-to-see-the-audience-over-your- shoulder thing with aplomb. And the music? So beautifully modern," observed Steven Poole. The Guardian noted that "Le Bon no longer invites the nickname Le Blob and radiates laddish ennui [though] Save A Prayer's cry of immortality seems more like the glorious wallow of a mid-life crisis." "While Duran Duran defined a vacuous phase in pop's development," pronounced The Times, "their emphasis on instantly recognisable choruses has left them with a surprisingly resilient legacy to plunder as a nostalgia act."

In a performance that bordered on self-parody, Duran Duran revealed themselves to have a sense of humour as well as clutch of Eighties anthems that have stood the test of time.

Duran Duran will perform tonight at Belfast Waterfront Hall. The tour ends at Wembley Arena on 21 December.

THE TV PROGRAMME THE BEAT ROUTE

Musician and presenter Jools Holland goes to Havana and jams with piano legend Ruben Gonzales in the latest edition of his new BBC2 travel show.

"Unusually for Jools Holland it was the music which let him down. His on-the-road sessions are inconsistent in presentation and quality," remarked Peter Conchie, adding: "while spontaneity... should probably be cautiously encouraged within the context of travel shows, The Beat Route's dialogue was pretty woeful." "The programme involved him driving round reciting facts which he had presumably read in his guidebook the night before. A lecture on the local architecture fell flat when he mispronounced the words `pilaster' and `caryatid'," pointed out The Express. "That Jools Holland has a nice life, doesn't he?" remarked The Guardian.

Holland's cool, charming studio persona is seemingly lost when he steps out of his genre and his postcode. Cast off the rucksack and flip-flops and bring back the pinstriped suit.

Jools Holland continues Beat Route next Thursday at 8.00pm, BBC2

Exit Poll

THE EXHIBITION DUMPROP

JERWOOD SPACE, UNION STREET

LONDON

ISABELLA ANSAR

30, graphic artist, London

"I think it's fun. It's less conceptual stuff, but rather what you see is what you get. I really liked [Dan Gays'] tent - it's so real and bright. This exhibition is inspirational; it makes you think: `oh I can do that'. I will go home and get some gloss paint. It's easy, in a sense, not to come up with the ideas, but to copy it."

RICHARD BYRNE

35, computer programmer, London

"It has immediate impact. I really like the one with the aluminium fence; the repetition of it until it begins to resonate. It gets difficult to look at - after a while your eyes get strained. Some of them look very representational, then you notice something odd, and it is a surprise, and makes you look again."

WILLIAM SELDEN

33, photographer, London

"I like [Graham Little's] coloured cubes because they look familiar, yet you haven't really seen anything like them. I think you shouldn't have to know about art to enjoy it. This is about niceness and accessibility - it's less pretentious. It just is what it is. It's about harmony. The exhibition is similar to the one at the ICA. I like both of them."

SEAN MYERS

29, artist, London

"I am glad I saw this, although it's not my type of work. It's very Christmas box wrapping, like sweeties. However, I do like the way it's been hung. It certainly hits you between the eyes. It is very pop - dumb pop describes it quite well. But it's just not really my cup of tea."

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