A SIDEWAYS EYE ON NEXT WEEK

Roald Dahl's Matilda gets an early UK showing as part of the London Film Festival next Saturday. This is the cautionary tale, not fully intended by the late Mr Dahl, of how ego can affect a short but powerful star like Danny De Vito and allow him to play both the wicked father and the voice of the cool objective narrator. As the voice doesn't change, this confusion is mighty confusing all round.

Perhaps he needs a Cameron Mackintosh to advise. Sir Cameron has shown true humility and decided to close down his West End musical Martin Guerre for a bit of refurbishment following poor critical reaction. The new and improved version opens on 11 November with all those churlish critics invited back and a Mackintosh style first-night party. No need to re-direct that if my drunken memories of the first jamboree in a London square with roasted boar on a spit serve me right.

I danced with a girl who danced with a man who danced with Gloria Hunniford. Doesn't have quite the right ring about it. Nevertheless Ms Hunniford will join Mystic Meg, Anthea Turner and Jeffrey Archer at The Childline Birthday Ball at the Dorchester on the 13th. Now there's a quartet to make one want to make one's excuses and powder one's nose.

My son the performer! Imagine a whole London Palladium full of beaming mothers. On 10 November Messrs Michael Grade, Harvey Goldsmith, Don Black and Trevor Horn judge The Jewish Performer of The Year. I hasten to add this is the final of a nationwide talent competition so don't queue up in the hope of seeing an international variety performance with Bob Dylan up against Maureen Lipman.

The National Theatre's pre-show platform performances are beginning to prove more entertaining than the shows they precede. On Friday the 15th Richard Wilson will discuss his stage career. Yes that's right. Stage Career! So no questions about that television johnny Victor Meldrew. He's only a sitcom character for God's sake! I thought this was meant to be the National Flaming Theatre!

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