The week in review

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The Independent Culture
THE FILM

The Frighteners

overview

The Michael J Fox revival continues with Peter Heavenly Creatures Jackson's New Zealand film about a fake psychic confronted by the real thing. Produced by Robert Back to the Future Zemeckis.

Adam Mars-Jones welcomed "a highly successful hybrid of a supernatural thriller and black comedy". "Dark, disturbing and, yes, frightening," warned the FT. "Shocking and effective," praised Time Out. "The Hollywood budget does nothing to stop the script blundering between moods," grumbled The Times. "For total insanity, try this," scoffed the Standard.

Cert 15, Empire Leicester Square, London WC2 and on general release.

Laughter turns to terror. Ghostbusters it ain't.

THE OPERA

The Italian Girl in Algiers

A new production of Rossini's comic opera directed by Howard Davies and designed by Tim Hatley, with Della Jones, Charles Workman and Alan Opie. Conducted by Valentin Raymond.

Edward Seckerson shuddered at "a desperate cast in a desperate production desperately trying to please". "Some musical pleasure... even second-rate Rossini deserves better," admonished The Times. "I didn't so much as smile once," yawned the Telegraph. "Wretched theatrically... stylish singing from Charles Workman," noted The Guardian.

Tonight at 7.30 and in rep at ENO, The Coliseum, London WC2 until 26 Feb.

Even the excellent Opie cannot save this drab, under-directed, unfunny show.

THE CONCERT

Lutoslawski

The BBC's annual composer weekend was devoted to Poland's Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994) with Andrew Davies, Oliver Knussen and others conducting a range of his orchestral, chamber and choral works.

Despite caveats, Keith Potter praised work up to the final symphony, "magical, blazing and deeply moving". "Renewed admiration for the composer but did not make him any easier to sum up... an elegant, expressive voice that always renewed itself," saluted The Times. "Exhilarating... the BBC and the Barbican gave us a feast to remember," gloried the FT.

Been and gone. Novices should try the Cello Concerto and Symphonies 3 & 4.

The kind of exciting programming that gives subsidy a good name.

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