THEATRE: CURTAIN CALLS

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The Independent Culture
She was Thamesmead's exhilarating answer to Dusty Springfield, minus the eyeliner. Linda Henry's crackshot timing and tough veneer disguised the sincerity of her performance as the mouthy mother (above) in Hettie Macdonald's film of Jonathan Harvey's Beautiful Thing.

(While we're on the subject, Harvey has never had such a good director as Macdonald - on both the play and film. Directors have let him get away with murder since then, up to and including his shockingly directed TV sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme, which squanders not only his talent but also those of James Dreyfus and Kathy Burke - who should also take some of the blame as she is billed as script editor.)

But to get back at Linda Henry... She subsequently shone as the fitness instructor determined to have a baby via the inconveniently married Keith Allen in Debbie Horsfield's terrific BBC series Born to Run. She brought astonishing depth and pathos to her role as a selfish woman who learns the meaning of compassion.

Now you can see her on stage in The Glory of Living, a trailer-trash play by the American, Rebecca Gilman. Interestingly, this is also directed by a woman, Kathryn Hunter. Don't tell me that male directors find her strength threatening...

`The Glory of Living', Royal Court Upstairs, London WC2 (0171-565 5000)

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