The Ballet


Adventures in Motion Pictures present Prokofiev's ballet with Sarah Wildor and ex-Royal Ballet star Adam Cooper, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne. Lez Brotherston designs.

Piccadilly Theatre, London W1 (0171-369 1734) to Jan 10.

Long-time Bourne fan Louise Levene was disappointed. "Neither as dramatic nor as funny as most of his earlier work." "[Bourne] has one of the most dazzling theatrical imaginations in the business ... the one thing that's frustratingly lacking in the production is dance," agreed The Guardian. "As good as the notorious Swan Lake? No ... It will make a much better video than stage show," declared the Telegraph. "Lynn Seymour's hilariously tipsy stepmother totters like a parody of Patti LuPone in Sunset Boulevard ... deserves to be a popular success," smiled the Mail. "Unconvincing," sighed the FT. "A winning formula ... The entire cast is first-rate," sang The Times. "Complexity, subtlety and surprises," cheered the Standard.

Rehearsals were decimated by ill-health. It will undoubtedly deepen and strengthen.


A Dance to the Music of TimeAnthony Powell's 12-volume novel adapted by Hugh Whitemore into four two hour TV films (at a cost of pounds 10m) with a Rolls-Royce cast led by Simon Russell Beale with Sir John Gielgud, Miranda Richardson and Alan Bennett plus all the usual suspects.

Thursdays, 9pm, Channel 4.

Thomas Sutcliffe felt "the effect is rather like attending a reunion party at which you have no share in the common history ... everyone around you roars with laughter, leaving you mildly baffled (and mildly bored)". "A quickstep to the music of time which tramples not only on credibility but on humour," frowned the New Statesman. "Like walking into a Brideshead Revisited theme park - only less convincing," grumbled The Times. "An excellent cast cannot make up for the lack of substance," yawned the Mail. "Perfectly faithful, which is more than you can say for most of the characters," declared The Guardian. "After two hours of this luscious production, I stumbled, blinking, back into the harsh reality of today," gloried the Telegraph.


Nil by Mouth

The production values are high and the acting excellent but it's a compression too far.

Actor Gary Oldman's makes his debut as writer and director with a fierce and fatalistic family drama set on a run-down south London housing estate, starring Ray Winstone as a violent minor villain married to Kathy Burke.

Cert 18, 120 mins, on general release

Adam Mars-Jones worried about the film's balance of sympathies but praised it for earning "the great, if back-handed, compliment of being powerful enough to argue with". "A story that could easily have got out of hand. An honourable film, as well as a sensational one," cried The Guardian. "Startling power and compassion," nodded The Times. "There's no sermonising or sentimentalising ... Don't miss it," marvelled Time Out. "Harrowingly brilliant performances ... it's gruelling but compulsive. Steel yourself, but see it," urged the Telegraph. "I can't fill the vacuum with the slightest sympathy. Nil by mouth maybe, everything by foul mouth," snorted the Standard. "Full of the sort of people you would move to the country to avoid," shuddered the Mail.

Already strewn with awards for acting and direction.