The Diary: Juliet and her Romeo; The Blind Side; Popstar to Opera Star; Josie Long; Bill Drummond

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The Independent Culture

Time to choose your Romeo

Theatre-goers can't move for star-cross'd lovers this spring. These days, though, it's not enough merely to stage the greatest romantic tragedy of them all: you need an angle. First up is Colchester's Mercury Theatre production, in which the seven-piece Astillero Tango Orchestra from Buenos Aires are putting their sultry stamp on the action. Then in Bristol next month comes "Juliet and her Romeo", a radically reconfigured romance in which the lovers are not callow, starry-eyed youths but octogenarians (played by Siân Phillips and Michael Byrne) whose children (rather than parents) are trying to prevent their nuptials. Hot on its heels comes the RSC, with 30-somethings Sam Troughton and Mariah Gale in the leads and "Enron" director Rupert Goold at the helm. Details on the production are being kept under wraps though, judging by the whizz-bangery of Goold's "Macbeth", this will be no pedestrian passion. "There's a lot of fire in the production", confirms a spokesperson, cryptically.

Bullock pitches in

Sandra Bullock is being tipped for Oscar glory for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy in "The Blind Side", out on 26th March. Lightly cheesy, heavily Republican but mostly enjoyable, the film is the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager who was adopted by the wealthy Tuohys and became a star American footballer. Bullock is clearly deserving of the prize but her pitch-perfect performance came at a price. "She hounded me," said the real Leigh Anne Tuohy. "She called me and said, 'Say "Leigh Anne" 30 times,' and I'm thinking, 'Didn't you get it the first dozen?'"

Jenkins' ear. War?

ITV's "Popstar to Opera Star" had its finale last week but one judge didn't agree with the result. "I thought Bernie [Nolan] would win, says Katherine Jenkins. "She was vocally stronger but Darius [Campbell] had more performance. I thought Bernie had the edge." The multi-million-selling singer also said that she enjoyed learning from her co-judge, world-class tenor Rolando Villazon. "Often I'd forget that we were mentoring. I'd feel like I was having the singing lesson! The person I thought he was and the person he is couldn't be further apart. He's hysterical."

It's a Long way to get it ready

To the Hen and Chickens in North London for a sneaky peek at Josie Long's work-in-progress – working title "Be Honourable!". "Though my friends tell me that's a bit preachy...", says the stand-up comedian, who won the Best Newcomer award at the Fringe in 2006. She didn't take a show to Edinburgh last year making this new hour all the more eagerly awaited. Much of the show is about what Long has done with her "spare" year: she's been on a diet, got a boyfriend, moved to Hackney, visited India and, in an effort to become a better person, joined Food Not Bombs, which collects waste food and redistributes it to the poor. Apart from that, there's heaps of the customary Long charm, including a guide to her favourite website (365 Breakfasts) and a sketch-book full of her doodles. One to watch.

Another little piece of his art

He has burned a million pounds and set up a choir which has more than 1,500 singers and no audience. Now Bill "KLF" Drummond is trying his hand as an conceptual artist/ dealer. In 1995 the musician bought "A Smell of Sulphur in the Wind", a Richard Long work, for $20,000. Five years later he tried to sell it by advertising it on billboards. When that didn't work, he cut the work into 20,000 pieces and sold the fragments for $1 a time. The last few pieces will be flogged off, appropriately, at London's Affordable Art Fair next month. The project is, says Drummond, "an attempt to re-engage with the work". Either that or he's regretting torching that million.