Theatre Curtain Calls

Awards committees do sometimes get it right. A cheer went up at Barclays Theatre Awards last week when Bryony Lavery's astonish- ingly powerful and deeply moving Frozen won Best Play. Similar pleasure was induced by the Best Actor, Kevin Spacey, whose witty acceptance speech for his towering performance in The Iceman Cometh was filmed (appropriately enough) in a bar.

One of the highlights of Spacey's cinematic career was in the hardboiled crime movie LA Confidential (above), Curtis Hanson's adaptation of the James Elroy novel. Another of Elroy's thrillers, The Black Dahlia, is about to make its stage debut, a prospect which might make one nervous were it not for the fact that the adaptation and direction are in the hands of Mike Alfreds. He's the man who turned books into mesmerising theatre from the Seventies onwards, with his trailblazing productions of Bleak House and The Arabian Nights. Better still, his version - the first ever - has been specifically written for the dedicated actors who form Method and Madness, his ensemble company, who are already on a roll with Alfreds's productions of The Cherry Orchard and an adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer's Demons and Dybbuks stories.

The Black Dahlia, North- cott Theatre, Exeter (01392 493493), and then touring