THE WEEK IN REVIEW

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THE OPERA

I WAS LOOKING AT THE CEILING AND THEN I SAW THE SKY

OVERVIEW The eagerly anticipated European premiere of a collaboration between American composer John Adams, poet June Jordan and director Peter Sellars CRITICAL VIEW The New York Times review of the premiere was headed "I was looking at the stage and then I saw dreck". The Telegraph was similarly dismissive but others were rather more impressed. The piece is based on the LA earthquake and the Times found it "invigorating if not earthshaking". "You may come out with toes tapping to the accompaniments. Do not expect to be humming the tunes." Financial Times ON VIEW Final performance tonight. Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh 0131-225 5756 OUR VIEW Critics have been wasting time trying to decide whether it's a musical or an opera. Ignore the categories: this is vivid, affecting music-theatre THE BALLET THE NUTCRACKER OVERVIEW Miami City Ballet were the sensation of last year's Edinburgh Festival. This year they're back, once again with Balanchine's choreography CRITICAL VIEW Sophie Constanti disliked the design but praised the company's demonstration of "how Balanchine's choreography should be danced". Elsewhere, critics didn't mince words. "There was little trace of The Nutcracker's magic from either stage or pit," said the Financial Times. "No excuse can mitigate a spectacle as hollow, disenchanting and relentlessly gaudy as Miami City Ballet's Nutcracker." Daily Telegraph ON VIEW The run is over but kill for a ticket to The Hard Nut, the Mark Morris version at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre from 29 Aug to 2 Sept. 0131- 225 5756 OUR VIEW A major disappointment THE FILM BURNT BY THE SUN OVERVIEW The latest film from Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov, who also stars (with his six-year-old daughter) in this tale of Chekhovian tristesse in the Stalinist mid-Thirties CRITICAL VIEW The Independent's Sheila Johnston described it as "almost a feelgood movie about something very bad". "There is bite and bile at start and finish and passages in-between that tease like a sinister paperchase." Financial Times. "Glimmers in the mind's eye in a totally different way to anything the American cinema seems capable of at the moment." Guardian ON VIEW Now showing at the Curzon Mayfair. 0171-369 1720 OUR VIEW Slightly overlong, but richly deserving of its Best Foreign Film Oscar and the Special Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival THE PLAY READER OVERVIEW The world premiere of Ariel Dorfman's new play, following the worldwide success of Death and the Maiden, in a production by Ian Brown, artistic director of the Traverse Theatre CRITICAL VIEW The reviews were what is called in polite circles "mixed". The Times quite liked it - "a taxing but rewarding evening" - and nearly everyone else loathed it. "The play itself finally seems to offer less than meets the often bewildered eye." Daily Telegraph. The Financial Times said: "There is virtually no weakness in the play that Ian Brown's production does not compound." ON VIEW Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh to 2 Sep

0131-288 1404 OUR VIEW Strong political content engulfed in arty games

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