Theatre: Curtain calls

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The Independent Culture
Dear Reader, accusing fingers have been pointed. Sundry hatchet- faced colleagues have commented upon my currently sunny disposition. Now, some of you may be too overhung to have noticed, but we're already in 1999 and, as befits the New Year, I'm feeling preternaturally hopeful. Hopeful that I will not have to sit through anything as bad as the theatrical dogs of last year - winners of The Full Kennel, you know who you are. Here, instead, are five theatrical prayers for 1999.

1. There shall be no more musicals based on cinematic greats which have managed perfectly well without bursting into song - the words "Saturday", "Night" and "Fever" spring to mind.

2. No more trawling of the World's Great Classic Novels for hit adaptations. If Proust had wanted A la Recherche du temps perdu dramatised, he would have written a snappier plot.

3. Felicity Kendal will play a role without recourse to props. No, not even a pair of glasses.

4. No more bio-dramas. I'm sure Marie Stopes had a lovely life, but I don't want to see it on stage. No, not even starring Joanna Lumley or Anita Harris (above).

5. Artistic directors will think long and hard before reviving plays they remember but were too young to see the first time. A forlorn hope, this... we almost had to sit through The Royal Hunt of the Sun at the National.