OPENING THIS WEEK

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THEATRE

The Waste Land (Wilton's Music Hall, E1, 0171 928 2252, from this afternoon, to 11 Jan). TS Eliot's modernist landmark finds what promises to be the perfect location: down by the Thames in a music hall that hasn't seen a public performance since 1880 (it claims to be the oldest surviving music hall in the world). Fiona Shaw performs the poem, directed by Deborah Warner.

The Merry Wives of Windsor (Barbican, EC2, 0171 638 8891, previews from Mon, opens Wed, to 7 Feb). Shakespearean sex farce. Leslie Phillips is the fat knight, with Edward Petherbridge and Susannah York in support, in a reasonably jolly staging by Ian Judge. See Good Venue Guide.

Little Eyolf (Pit, EC2, 0171 638 8891, opens Mon, to 7 Feb). Robert Glenister and Joanne Pearce pull out all the stops in Ibsen's tragedy about a couple coping with the death of a child. Adrian Noble's starkly moving production transfers from Stratford. See Good Venue Guide. Robert Hanks

CINEMA

Close Up (no cert; in London from Fri). Directed by Abbas Kiarostami for the Tehran Institue for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, this documentary-style drama is a rare chance to sample some Iranian cinema.

George of the Jungle (U; nationwide from Fri). Arboreal comedy, based on a long-running American comic strip, and starring Brendan Fraser as a downsized Johnny Weismuller.

Prince Valiant (PG; nationwide from Fri). Arthurian hokum, starring Edward Fox as the Royal round-tabler and Joanna Lumley as the sorceress, Morgan Le Fey. Appearances by Viking warriors disguised as Scotsmen, "Sir Gawain of Orkney", the Jabberwocky and the Princess of Wales (not that one) suggest that the script may deviate a little from the tales of Thomas Malory.

Home Alone 3 (PG; nationwide from Fri). Alec D Linz takes over the twisted- child-of-Satan role vacated by Macaulay Culkin visiting violent retribution upon a gang of adult criminals, this time played by Olek Krupka, Rya Kihlstedt, David Thornton and Lenny Von Dolan.

Kiss Me Guido (15; in London from Fri). Tony Vitale's gay Italian-American comedy stars Nick Scotti and Anthony Barrile, with a cameo from Guinevere Turner - indie-cinema's undisputed uberdyke - as "indignant lesbian".

The Grass Harp (PG; nationwide from Fri). Charles Matthau directs his father, Walter, and Jack Lemmon in a Gothic thriller adapted from Truman Capote's novel. Mary Steenburgen, Sissy Spacek and Joe Don Baker lend distinguished support. Matthew Sweet

JAZZ

George Melly with John Chilton's Feetwarmers (Ronnie Scott's, Wl, 0171 439 0747, Mon-Sat, to 3 Jan). Santa Melly's seasonal offering: jokey blues, blue jokes and a thoroughly entertaining perambulation around his imposing edifice. Go and see him now, as he may not be able to keep it up for much longer.

Scott Hamilton's Festive Celebration (Pizza Express, Wl, 0171 439 8722, tonight to 4 Jan). Retro-fixated tenor saxophonist with a big, Ben Webster- ish sound.

Carmen Lundy (QEH, SE1, 0l71 960 4242, Fri; Manchester Band on the Wall, 0161 832 0183, Sat). Classy, sassy and with a voice capable of accessing all the emotions. Lundy is one of the world's best female vocalists. She appears with her quartet.

Emil Viklicky Quintet (Riverside Studios, W6, 0181 741 2255, Tues-Wed). Part of the Made in Prague Riverside season, with eminent pianist Viklicky - whose music is based on Moravian folk tunes - appearing with his own group, and on Wed, with British chums Julian Nicholas and Dave Wicking.

Ed Jones Quintet (Aberdeen Lemon Tree, 01224 642230, tonight; Glasgow Tron Theatre, 0141 552 4267, Mon). Terrific tenorist, with trumpeter Byron Wallen in the band.

Bruce Adams and Alan Barnes (Bristol Albert Inn, 0117 966 1968, tonight). Headlong bebop, played fast and hard. Phil Johnson

OPERA

Stephen Hough (QEH, SE1, 0171-960 4242, today). The expatriate British pianist, back from New York with a characteristically eclectic recital programme.

Verdi Requiem (RFH, Wed). The Philharmonia flies in some glitz in the form of James Levine, Renee Fleming and Luciano Pavarotti.

St Nicholas (Barbican, EC2, 0171 638 8891, Mon). Britten's Christmas singalong, with Westminster Abbey Choir. See Good Venue Guide.

Holst Singers (St Johns Smith Sq, EC1, 0171 222 1061, Thurs). Upmarket carol concert with Ian Bostridge, Emma Kirkby, and one of the best choral directors around, Stephen Layton. Michael White

CONCERTS

Elisabetta (RFH, SE1, 0171 960 4242, Tues). One-off Royal Opera concert performance of Donizetti's lost score - as found in the Covent Garden basement. Cast includes Andrea Rost.

Saturday Night (Bridewell Theatre, EC4, 0171 936 3456, from Wed). World premiere of Sondheim's first full score, written in the 1950s but never staged.

Magic Flute (Leeds Grand Theatre, 0113 222 6222, from Wed). Annabel Arden revamps the show she put together for Opera North in 1994. Brad Cohen conducts. MW

DANCE

Torvill and Dean (Birmingham NEC, 0121 780 4133, Tues to Sat; and touring to Wembley, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield). Performing in Britain for the first time since their Face the Music tour in 1994, the unchallenged king and queen of ice dance open an all-new show, Ice Adventures, choreographed by T&D themselves with comedic input from Mr Bean writer Robin Driscoll.

Fuego Flamenco (Bloomsbury, WC1, 0171 388 8822, Wed to Sat). The first UK visit of this company of dancers and musicians from Madrid, who have earned high praise from those who know their bulerias from their boleros.

New English Orchestra Gala (Bristol Colston Hall, 0117 922 3686, Tues; Birmingham Symphony Hall, 0121 212 3333; Holy Trinity Brompton SW7, Thurs; Manchester Bridgewater Hall, 0161 907 9000, Fri). A concert of popular orchestral classics (Mozart, Rossini, Bizet) and jazz spirituals gains an uncommon extra dimension, with dancers performing alongside in a wide range of styles. Jenny Gilbert

ROCK

The Cure (Empire, W12, 0181 740 7474, Tues & Wed). Robert Smith and whoever else is in The Cure these days promote Galore (Fiction), with two unusually small- scale shows in aid of Shelter.

Ezio (Mean Fiddler, NW10, 0171 344 0044, Tues; Cambridge Boat Race, 01223 570063, Fri & Sat; Borderline, W1, 0171 734 2095, Sun 21 Dec). Acoustic duo, best known as the makers of one of Tony Blair's Desert Island Discs.

Alabama 3 (Garage, N1, 0171 344 0044, Sat). More accurately, they're the Brixton 7, colourful purveyors of "acid country".

Beth Orton (Empire, W12, 0181 740 7474, tonight). Mercury shortlistee who sings ye olde folke one minute and Chemical Brothers tracks the next. Nicholas Barber

ART

Michael Landy (Tate, SW1, 0171 887 8000, today to 4 Jan). This is the10th year that an artist has been invited to design the Tate's Christmas Tree. Landy has responded by focusing on the debris that the festive season leaves behind. A large bin is filled with bottles, cans, toy packaging, broken decorations and the like. It's a rather sprightly piece for connoisseurs of rubbish.

Street Dreams (Salford Viewpoint Gallery, 0161 737 1040, Mon to 18 Jan). An examination of "bazaar photography", produced in roadside studios by Indian "rotiographers", who use lots of props and vivid colour to make their subjects' dreams come - nearly - true. Tim Hilton

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