Standing Stone


Edward 11

Stephen Fry stars as the world's most famous aesthete and homosexual in Brian Gilbert's film with a screenplay by Julian Mitchell from Richard Ellman's definitive biography. With Jude Law as Bosie.

Cert 15, 116 mins, on general release.

Adam Mars-Jones noted that "Wilde would be nothing without Stephen Fry ... handsomely mounted but timidly filmed". "A star turn for everyone but the star ... trots through the usual staging posts," allowed the FT. "This Wilde is about as dangerous a social subversive as Pam Ayres," barked the Mail. "Achieves what is, in the circumstances, the most paradoxical of states: respectability," worried The Guardian. "Far from a bad film, but it is certainly a missed opportunity," sighed The Times. "Law as Bosie is perfect ... This fine film," endorsed the Telegraph. "I blubbed more or less continually through the first half," admitted the New Statesman. "Every scene is permeated with an intelligent insight into sex and society ... For once a worthwhile use of Lottery cash," pontificated the Standard.

Best Supporting Actor awards all round in a safe, unadventurous film.

Paul McCartney's classical odyssey continues with a 75-minute symphonic poem to his own text of primal chaos and redemption based on Celtic roots. Lawrence Foster conducted the LSO and chorus.

Studio recording on EMI.

Rob Cowan found the best "simple, direct and selectively orchestrated, but most of the bigger guns misfire". "Pretty thin stuff. But then something rather lovely happens: melody ... given the chance to score major films, McCartney might net Oscars," observed the Telegraph. "Ranges from the crudely Celtic to the Radio 2 Lloyd Webberish and is often embarrassingly slow-moving and empty of interest. 200 voices in the LSO Chorus sing `Aaaah' for two-and-a-half movements," snorted the Standard. "The musical equivalent of a veggie burger," scoffed The Times. "Clearly superior to many of the symphonic works by well-established figures in the `classical', or as McCartney rightly prefers to say, `serious' repertoire, for instance several of Shostakovich's works," trumpeted the Mail.

Thanks to Richard Rodney Bennett, John Harle, et al for structure, orchestration...

Birmingham Royal Ballet dance David Bintley's ballet based on Marlowe's play. Wolfgang Stollwitzer is Edward, Andrew Murphy is Gaveston, music is by John McCabe, costumes by Conran and lighting by Peter Mumford. On tour. Call 0121-622 2555 for details.

Louise Levene thrilled to "testosterone-rich ensembles worthy of the Bolshoi ... a strong tale, told with conviction, danced with passion and staged with the greatest possible style". "Bintley resists the temptation to get too graphic in so bloody a story, although when he does use blunt statement - the red-hot poker, for instance - the effect is arresting. He also sets up a resonant contrast between the tenderness of Edward's love for Gaveston and the brutality of the other relationships," applauded The Times. "He has an unerring sense of theatre ... horrid but gripping, and grippingly well done," approved the FT. "Bold Bintley is vindicated. Edward II is a triumph, a ballet drama of sweeping and chilling scale that showers credit on everyone involved ... I can't wait to see it again," sang the Telegraph.

Not suitable for children but a must for everyone else.