ARTS : pick of the day

THE PLAY

Comic Cuts

Bold programming from the Derby Playhouse with the world premiere of a tough comedy about the Variety circuit in the Fifties by Jack Shepherd, best known as a (very good) actor.

7.45pm, Derby Playhouse (01332 363275)

THE FILM

Buster Keaton Shorts

Samuel Beckett's pithily entitled Film is the deeply fascinating and rarely screened centrepiece to this programme celebrating one of cinema's most haunting tragicomic actors.

6.15pm, National Film Theatre, London SE1 (0171-928 3232)

and what's more...

Sir Peter Hall's impressive and weighty career has given him the chance to work recently with such West End greats as David Essex and Elaine Paige. His latest venture, a serial-killer movie, opens in New York this week with Rebecca de Mornay and Antonio Banderas (who took over from James Spader, who quit when his career went ballistic with Stargate). Hall's film career is less than glittering (Three Into Two Won't Go, Work is a Four-Letter Word), but should this movie prove disappointing, he will presumably receive the unusually respectful notices he almost automatically receives...

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