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Tim Albery directs an Opera North production of Verdi's somewhat neglected tragedy with Susannah Glanville, Arthur Davies and Alan Opie, conducted by Paul Daniel. CRITICAL REVIEW Antony Peattie was clear. "Daringly cast, fearlessly staged... unforgettable... travel to see it now." "Paul Daniel and the Opera North team get to the heart of the work," cheered the Sunday Times. "Audiences have some glorious, unfamiliar Verdi to look forward to," agreed the Financial Times. "Another fine achievement for Paul Daniel... a virtually unspeakable production", scoffed the Telegraph. ON VIEW At the Grand Theatre, Leeds (0113-245 9351) 9 and 11 Jan, followed by a tour. OUR VIEW Don't be put off just because you don't know it. Stirring stuff.

the Play The duchess of malfi OVERVIEW Anastasia Hille and Scott Handy star as dangerous siblings in Webster's magnificent Jacobean tragedy in Cheek by Jowl's production directed by Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod. CRITICAL VIEW Paul Taylor was bowled over. "Anastasia Hille is simply electrifying... essential viewing." Unforgettable... Hille leaves no doubt that she is a major star in the making," eulogised the Telegraph. "Extraordinary, bordering on astonishing", exulted the Times. "Striking, but more than a little schematic", worried the Financial Times. "Something is seriously wrong... steer well clear," warned the Daily Express. ON VIEW At Wyndham's Theatre, London WC2 (0171-369 1736) to 27 Jan, before resuming a world tour. OUR VIEW Revelatory and unmissable, even if you only just saw the previous production at the same address last year.

the exhibition James abbe OVERVIEW "Lure of the Limelight", an exhibition of celebrity portraits by the 1920s American photographer, including Valentino, Chaplin, Mae West, Cecil B De Mille, Ronald Colman and Josephine Baker. CRITICAL VIEW "His ability to impart something of the essence of the sitter marks out Abbe's better work from the gloss of the fan club photograph," wrote Iain Gale. "There are unforgettable pictures here... he was able to capture them looking like human beings, in moments of relaxation," praised the Times. "On a novelty and curiosity level the exhibition is enjoyable," sniffed the Guardian. ON VIEW At the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2 (0171- 306 0055) to 24 March. OUR VIEW Go for the Tinseltown portraits. His 1930s photojournalism is less interesting.

the film seven OVERVIEW David "Alien 3" Fincher's serial-killer thriller, more Eraserhead than Lethal Weapon 15, based around the seven deadly sins and starring the screen's favourite young hunk, Brad Pitt. CRITICAL VIEW Sheila Johnston was impressed. "It will be a very good year if Seven doesn't make it on to my 10-best list." "One of the darkest, most intelligent American thrillers in a long time," cheered Time Out. "It's a long time since Hollywood came up with goods like this," agreed the Evening Standard. "Leaves a brackish taste in the mouth," warned the Guardian. "Demands attention", concluded the Times. ON VIEW Odeon Leicester Square (0171-930 3232) and on general release. OUR VIEW The squeamish should probably give it a miss. Everyone else, go.