4-10 October day planner

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The Independent Online


One of the oldest traditional fairs in Britain, Nottingham is now also the largest funfair in Europe. The name dates back to the days when families used to buy the bird for their Christmas dinner at the beginning of October. The only game meat to be seen in the Forest Recreation Ground these days are the hundreds of screaming adolescents whirling around and losing their change as they hang upside down 200ft in the air. If that doesn't appeal, you can always get yourself some fast food, which ranges from candyfloss to vegeburgers to goldfish (oh, sorry, they're supposed to be taken home as pets, apparently).

The Forest Recreation Ground, Nottingham (0115-947 0661) 11am-12 midnight


After the success of last week's opening gala at the Natural History Museum, this week sees London's Dance Umbrella present a world premiere from the Richard Alston Dance Company. The renowned choreographer has chosen music by Iannis Xenakis for his latest production. Okho is for large African drums called djembes, and three percussionists will be playing them live on stage, to provide the pulse for the flying energy of five male dancers. These febrile goings-on are mirrored by Psappha, a wild and jagged score danced by five women.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank, London

(0171-960 4242) 7.45pm pounds 10-14


Born in 1961, on the floor of Willy Rushton's bedroom, this scurrilous little scamp has managed to survive adventures in the high courts and pursue its destiny: entertaining the public and enraging the Establishment. This new exhibition celebrates the history of the magazine in typically irreverent fashion, tracing the Eye's treatment of the Royal family and seven prime ministers. Original artwork includes cartoons and illustrations which include classics from Scarfe and Steadman. Also on show will be a parade of covers (above right) which, perhaps more than anything, show that the passing of time does not necessarily mean the dulling of wit.

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London (0171-306 0055) 10am-6pm


Merseyside's annual visual and design festival. There are few stars or big names, but more than 100 artists are exhibiting in venues which range from parks, shops and bus stations to clubs, bars and beaches.

For further information contact Festival Office, Liverpool (0151-709 0671)

Saturday 5


The witty solo performer presents Transatlantic. Based on his own experiences of the USA, this is a dance travelogue, set to a soundtrack of patriotic American favourites and musical show-stoppers. Political and emotional events from the past flash by in a brutal present. The enormously talented Javier is everywhere described as unpredictable, original and intensely honest. Which could have something to do with the fact that, at some point in his act, he gets his kit off.

The Riley Theatre, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Chapeltown Rd, Leeds (0113-262 5359) 7.30pm pounds 2-5


This weekend, the NEC will be transformed into the biggest boy's bedroom in the world. Mini chuffers will be making their way around 50 different model railways and more than 120 stalls will be selling microscopic guards hats, scrubby bushes and other railway paraphenalia. Pop producer Pete Waterman will be along with his toys, Hornby will be launching its new model of the Chunnel Eurostar, and railway artist John Gibb will be there with his unique pencil drawing of Manchester Victoria Station at the turn of the century. Just think, model-makers, with the break up of the rail network things can only get better!

NEC, Bickenhill Lane Birmingham (0121-780 4133) 10am-7pm pounds 4-6


Bookish youngsters can leaf through those first editions of Roald Dahl at the Eastside Children's Book Fair today. The event is for children of all ages and adult storytellers are being drafted into the Old Spitalfields market for the day to entertain the troops. This Jackanory flying squad should expect rapt adoration and unnnervingly owlish stares in turn.

Old Spitalfields Market, Brushfield Street, London E1 (0171-375 0441) 12 noon- 5pm, free


The doorstep glossies are already getting unmanageably large, laden with perfume sachets and skin cream offers. What they lack in intellectual muscle, they make up for in physical weight. If you tried reading one in the bath, you'd drown. Now there's a really frightening concept: a 3-D magazine that you can walk around, touch and feel. Organised by flash fash mag Dazed and Confused, this multi-media experience offers visitors live samples from recent issues. Previously unseen work by the Chapmans and Gillian Wearing will be on show, live music comes from Dweeeb, Lemon D and Star 69, and documentary snaps from Della Grace will be projected. To top it all, tonight is fashion night, so if you can brave the digital imaging system at the door, you might find yourself among impossibly glamorous, high-tech, rag-trade types.

The Tramshed, Rivington Street, London 11am-6pm free to 9 Oct

Sunday 6


During June this year, artist in residence Susannah Silver invited people living and working in the Glasgow's Castlemilk area to bring their favourite objects to be photographed. The result is an exhibition (above) which reveals the diversity of human nature. From an "egg press" to a favourite jumper, from silver to clay, these objects can provoke memories of loved ones, stimulate the imagination, or be proof of personal achievement. Together, they provide some pleasing photographic juxtapositions, and a portrait of the local community.

The Barbican, Silk St, London EC2 (0171-638 8891) pounds 6-pounds 30, 3.30pm


A bakelite coffin features among the wide range of more familiar exhibits on show in Salford's new exhibition of synthetic plastics from 1925-1960. More familiar domestic items include thermos flasks, hairdryers, cups and saucers and good old vinyl records. Many of the early synthetic plastics were used to imitate precious natural resources such as ivory, amber and jet, and although they feel light, they often make a pretty good imitation. Worth seeing if only to check that those bits and pieces languishing at the back of your kitchen cupboard aren't due for a spot on Antiques Roadshow.

Ordsall Hall Museum, Salford (0161-872 0251) 2-5pm


Get a double dose of the great Victorian novelist from two very different directors.

Roman Polanski was responsible for the sensual Seventies classic, while Michael Winterbottom's austere Jude picked up the Michael Powell award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh Festival this year. It's amazing how quickly these "period" films date, so it might be fun to take a look at Nastassja Kinski's Seventies tresses and make-up and take a guess at how anachronistic Kate Winslet and Christopher Eccleston will appear in 20 years' time.

Cambridge Arts Cinema (01223-504 444) Tess at 1pm, Jude at 4.30, 7 and 9pm


Edinburgh fringe favourites continue to filter into the West End. Tonight, it's the turn of Perrier nominees Dominic Holland and Rich Hall. The laconic Hall worked on David Letterman as well as Saturday Night Live. Holland, however, has had the honour of appearing on the Des O'Connor Show, and writes scripts for Bob Monkhouse.

Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket, London (0171-494 5558) 7.30pm pounds 5-12.50

Monday 7


The humour of Max Miller, Morecambe and Wise and Frankie Howerd provides the impetus for Terry Johnson's hugely successful comedy of bad manners. Eleanor wants what Richard won't give her. Richard wants to be left in peace. Benny Hill would also rather rest in peace but tonight, at least, his fans won't let him. Die laughing.

The Belgrade Theatre, Belgrade Square, Coventry (01203-553055) 7.30pm pounds 7


The company that recently offered a bluffer's guide to the Bible reprises its first and most successful show. Three performers race their way through all 37 of Shakespeare's plays, with a passing nod at the dark lady of the sonnets. Gad's teeth, a veritable mass of skull-clutching heroes, hunch-backed villains and more codpieces than you can shake a stick at. A frenetic literary riot that gives you the works.

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham (01242- 572573) 7.45pm pounds 4.50-7.50. Also at The Criterion, London, to Feb


Care in the community hasn't exactly resulted in the social utopia that some predicted. In fact, after some highly publicised attacks on the public, it seems to have led to demonisation rather than integration. Mind, New Directions, St James's House and Umbrella join forces to promote positive images of mental health. The fair includes talks, demonstrations, advice and workshops so that people of all ages can learn how to improve the health of their own grey matter. Visitors can discover ways to prevent stress through massage, sports, writing, theatre and public speaking. There will also be the latest news on talking therapies, drug, and alcohol abuse. See the mayor, hear the lunchtime band and stay sane.

St James's House, Hampstead Road, London (0171-625 9042) 10am-4pm


Twenty-three-year-old fine art student Dee Meaden has used food substances in her art since she began studying sculpture in 1991. A recent piece created out of steel, PVC, striplights and lard has recently won her first prize in the Bayer Earth Art Award. Described by the artist as "warm and yielding to the touch" Too Many Variables uses a swollen bag containing 1/3 ton of the white stuff. Watch out, they'll be paying Hattersley to stand in the Tate soon.

The Mall Galleries, Pall Mall, London (0171-930 6844) 10am-5pm, free

Tuesday 8


Roald Dahl's much-loved story comes to the stage in an adaptation by top children's playwright, David Wood. The exciting story follows a boy and his grandmother as they battle agaist real witches. Paul Kieve has devised some spine-chilling theatrical illusions, and young members of the audience could enjoy an extra frisson of schadenfreude by seeing their aged relatives on stage. The company is holding witch auditions at every venue to supplement their exisiting harridans. Mums can take some consolation in the fact that these do not take the form of being tied to a dunking stool and submerged in the local pond.

Derngate Theatre, Northampton (01604-24811) 7pm pounds 6.50-9.50


"I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly - high! I feel it coming together, people will see me and die." The anthem for Thatcher's generation of telly-watching kids. If growing-up meant the sad realisation that you were never going to be asked into the class of New York's High School for the Performing Arts, console yourself with a cathartic sing-along to this feel-good musical (above left).

Theatre Royal, Nottingham (0115-948 2626) 7.30pm pounds 8-17.50


Writer and historian Antonia Fraser uncovers the truth about Guy Fawkes's plan to detonate the Houses of Parliament. Fraser will investigate the continuing mystery, including the Catholic background and role of the heroic women who protected the priests. The talk is timed to coincide with her recently published book, The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605, and the author will be signing copies of the tome after the lecture. Time to brush up on the facts before you go rushing off to stock up on bangers and sparklers.

The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London (0171-792 9512) 12.45-1.45pm, pounds 20 payable in advance


After the 1994 success of Nabucco and Madame Butterfly, Romanian National Opera (above) returns to Britain with more large-scale operatics. The Romanian government has lavished its biggest ever single grant on this production of Aida, conducted by the Russian, Alexandru Samoila.

Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol (0117-929 9444) 7.15pm pounds 6.50-44.50

Wednesday 9


Sutherland is currently serving five years in jail for writing graffiti. The sentence handed down to the Sheffield lad seems a bit steep for scribbling on a few public walls, particularly when such judicial "lessons" rarely seem to be meted out on the more eloquent class of white-collar criminal. Sutherland's appeal is heard this week, and tonight the likes of Bill Bailey, Simon Bligh, Jo Brand, Kevin Day and Mark Thomas team up to help his family with the cost of his campaign. Stand-up for justice!

The Banana Cabaret, Bedford Hill, Balham, London (01227-788828) doors 7.30pm, show 8.30pm pounds 4-6


Those familiar anorexic sculptures make an appearance at the Royal Academy in the most comprehensive British showing of Giacometti's work (above) for 30 years. After experimenting with Cubism and Abstraction and teaming up with the Surrealists, Giacometti finally moved back towards the figurative sculpture. The lean figures, which are among the most recognisable art works of the 20th century, only started to appear in the 1940s. Track his artistic peregrinations in a broad show which includes more than 200 works, some of them previously unrecorded.

The Royal Academy, Piccadilly, London (0171-439 7438) 10am- 6pm pounds 5.50

TOLD BY AN IDIOT The latest production from this critically acclaimed and internationally- travelled company is set in the surreal, noirish world of the Boombar Club, a place of crazy music, magic and dancing. You Haven't Embraced Me Yet features "live music and anarchic humour" in a story of "greed, trickery and tragedy". The company's encyclopaedic claims continue with the assertion that although this is a drama about the minutiae of life, it also has a "universal relevance".

The Unity Theatre, Liverpool (0151-709 4988) 8pm pounds 4-6

Thursday 10


Soukous, the name for that delicious blend of African and Latin rhythms derives from the French word to "shake", and Soukous musician Diblo Dibala is just one of the world musicians shaking up this year's alternative festival in Aberdeen. The show gets on the road tonight with Amabhubesi, a 13-strong group which will be performing traditional music from Bulawayo (Aberdeen's twin city) and teaming up with Scottish band Old Blind Dogs for a fusion of drum'n'fiddle. The festival spans theatre and comedy, too, with the Frantic Theatre Company performing the Edinburgh hit, Klub, and Lee Hurst cracking a few funnies.

Opening concert at The Music Hall, Aberdeen (01224-641122) 8pm pounds 6-8


Boxers are just the latest in a long line of performers to go multi-media. Frank Bruno in panto, Chris Eubank learning the Method, now boxer-turned- writer Aiden Kelly has written a play. Kelly's brief career in boxing was the impetus for Pow! (below), a new drama whch looks at the blood sport from the inside, rather than the ringside. The play takes us into the heart of the fight and the sleazy low-life community that surrounds it, full of megabucks, drugs, gangsters, shooting and fixing. The play is performed by Paines Plough. How come you never hear about writers and actors deciding to jack in all that effete stuff and beat the living daylights out of each other?

Derby Playhouse, Theatre Walk, Derby (01332-363275) 7.45pm pounds 6-8


A festival that begins with a slightly schizophrenic concert, split between the platforms of Liverpool St Station and Norwich. Passengers at the London end of the journey will be serenaded by the Trinity College Wind Orchestra, and greeted at the end of the line by a schools concert put together by John Woolrich. Tonight, a LSO performance of Mahler's 9th Symphony, conducted by Kent Nagado, is preceded by a talk given by the composer's grand-daughter, Marina.

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich (01603 764764) 6pm pounds 6-26 station platforms 1pm, 3.20pm, free