THEATRE: STARRY, STARRY NIGHTS
Saturday 21 February 1998
However, as you no doubt know - unless you have spent the last two weeks on retreat in the furthermost reaches of Tibet - Islington's former Literary and Scientific Institution (more recently a music hall, then a Salvation Army citadel, then a repository for carnival novelties run by the fated Mr Betts, who managed to get himself murdered in unseemly circumstances) is currently paying pounds 225 per week for the services of one Juliette Binoche. Having scooped the Academy Award from beneath the poleaxed stare of Lauren Bacall for her frankly radiant performance in The English Patient, Binoche opened there last week in Nicholas Wright's adaptation of Pirandello's Naked.
The play is directed by the Almeida's joint artistic director Jonathan Kent, no stranger to Oscar-holders. Back in 1990, his inaugural production starred Transport Minister Glenda Jackson MP, then a major actress whose mantelpiece (or loo?) was decorated not only by the world's most famous gold statuette for her Gudrun Brangwen in Ken Russell's remarkably faithful film of DH Lawrence's Women in Love in 1969, but also another for her leading role in the romantic comedy A Touch of Class. (Hands up those of you who knew that the latter was financed by the cosmetics firm who gave the world Brut.) Kent later famously directed Ralph Fiennes in both Hamlet and Ivanov. And since we're on the subject, can anyone fathom why Fiennes, twice nominated, for Schindler's List and The English Patient, wasn't up for his intelligent, superbly modulated performance in Robert Redford's scandalously underrated Quiz Show?
Kent's future plans include directing Fiennes as both Richard II and Coriolanus in two of Shakespeare's most fascinating and opposed studies of power. You'll have to wait until 1999 for this dynamite double-header, but anyone in search of starry, starry nights need not resort to astronomy. The Almeida is decamping to the Playhouse Theatre for David Hare's next play The Judas Kiss starring nominee Liam Neeson and Peter Capaldi, who won the Best Short Feature Oscar for his film Franz Kafka's It's A Wonderful Life.
Back in Islington, Kevin "The Usual Suspects" Spacey will lead Howard Davies's new production of Eugene O'Neill's bar-room epic The Iceman Cometh.
It's not just the Almeida which holds the monopoly on prizewinners. This autumn, Judi Dench will star in Filumena at the Piccadilly. As long as the 1,000-strong Academy voting panel aren't blinded by either patriotism (in which case the sole American contender Helen Hunt will win) or priapism (cue Helena Bonham Carter) come 25 March, Dame Judi is poised to join this select band. Here's hoping.
Almeida, Islington N1 (0171-359 4404). Day seats & returns only
Life & Style blogs
Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
Free porn websites could be shut down within months, says David Cameron
National Orgasm Day: Six reasons (plus one bogus one) why they're good for us
The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
- 1 National Orgasm Day: Six reasons (plus one bogus one) why they're good for us
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston says why he left the BBC series after just one series
- 5 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dies: Wrestling legend dies aged 61, according to reports
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...