Tuesday 13 January 1998
Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's rip-roaring, no-holds-barred, fireball farce requires a huge cast. Thanks to a little judicious pruning, director Sam Mendes brings home the bacon with 19 crackerjack actors going hell- for-leather across Mark Thompson's tremendously atmospheric set of a Chicago newsroom in the good old, bad old days of 1928. Alun Armstrong gives a monumental, hilarious performance as the gimlet-eyed editor of The Examiner, who will stop at nothing in pursuit of the scoop of the decade when his chief reporter (Griff Rhys Jones) bags an escaped convict bound for the hangman's noose. But everywhere you look there are unexpected glories. Ian Bartholomew swings between puffed-up swagger and spineless jibbering as the sleazy sheriff up to his neck in political corruption; Lizzy McInerney is a broad but touching broad, and gangling Adam Godley shines as a hygiene- obsessed hack with a penchant for poetry. Enjoy. David Benedict
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
Life & Style blogs
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Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
In pictures: Christmas in London through the ages
Pirate Bay sets sail for Ascension Island after SX domain name seized by authorities
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- 2 Italian court annuls prison sentence for elderly paedophile after 11-year-old victim tells investigators in Catanzaro that she loves him
- 3 Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
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