Celluloid circus

Photography: An exhibition of circus photographs by Peter Lavery, better known for his work on Marlboro and Castlemaine XXXX ads, opens in Bath on Thursday. His work depicts the everyday canvas, sawdust and rope-filled life of the circus performer and have, according to Bruce Bernard, formerly picture editor of the Sunday Times, a curious "beauty, magnetism and poignancy". The Octagon Galleries, Milsom Street. Ends 1 June. 9:30-5:30; pounds 2.50, concs pounds 1.75

Stand-up, lad

Comedy: David Baddiel begins a nationwide tour at Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, on Thursday, returning to his spiritual home of stand-up from which he signed off with his partner Rob Newman at Wembley Arena in 1993. The TLS has called him, apropos one of his books "the lyrical side of laddism". 8pm; pounds 10/12; 01702 351135

Food of love

Auction: Lovers of romance should head to Sotheby's on Thursday for an auction of letters by Mrs Beeton. The author of The Book of Household Management also penned "I wish at this moment I could breathe into your ears, closely and caressingly" to "dear" Samuel Beeton. New Bond St; 2:30pm; 0171 493 8080

Beast at best

Dance: "Whether man or beast, I could not tell ... I could see a white face and red, gleaming eyes ..." (Bram Stoker, Dracula). In the centenary year of the novel's publication Northern Ballet Theatre take their performing arts version of the gothic melo-horror-drama to Northern Ireland for the first time. Our critic called it "total theatrical experience ... an orgasmic bit of blood-letting". Waterfront Hall, Belfast, 8-12th; 01232 334455 7:45pm/mats 10th, 12th 2pm; pounds 10-25, mats pounds 10

More Dance: While La Bayadere is closing at Covent Garden (returns only), danced by the trio of Darcey Bussell, Igor Zelensky and Zenaida Yanowsky (10th), another ballet with a Russian theme, Anastasia, is opening tonight. An exotic piece of high Victoriana is exchanged for the lighter choreography of Kenneth MacMillan. The part of Anastasia in the first performance is danced by Leanne Benjamin. pounds 2-pounds 46.50; Mon 7pm, Wed/Sat 7:30pm

Monster bash

Classical: The violinist Nigel Kennedy makes a widely-hyped comeback on Thursday after five years of relative quiet - apart from his CD Kafka which flopped last year. Programme to include improvisations from Bartok to Hendrix. Royal Festival Hall; 7:30pm; pounds 8-30; 0171 960 4242

Wallace & Stage-it

Theatre: Wallace & Gromit take to the stage, brought there by Andrew Dawson, the man who adapted and toured magnificently with Thunderbirds a couple of years ago. Multi-faceted gadgets and "cracking toast, Gromit" brought to life. Churchill Theatre, Bromley. Starts Thursday. Ends 19th April. Mon-Thur 7:45pm pounds 10-14, Fri/Sat 6pm pounds 10/9pm pounds 11-15. Child pounds 2 off, concs pounds 2 off Sat 6pm only.

Role reversal

Theatre: Kenneth Tynan's statement "a critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car" is finally put to the test. Tomorrow, and until 27 April in The Critics - Up for Review critics and theatre directors swap roles. Michael Billington of The Guardian changes with Adrian Noble, Nicholas de Jongh from the Evening Standard with Stephen Daldry, Jeremy Kingston (The Times) with Sir Peter Hall and James Christopher (Time Out freelance) with Dominic Dromgoole. Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill Tue-Sun 7:30-8:30pm/Sun; pounds 9 concs pounds 6, Tue/Sun U-18 pay what you can; 0171 223 2223

Blue brother

Book: The author Hanif Kureshi has an aggressively contemporary, funny new collection of short stories, Love in a Blue Time out today. One of the collection, "My Son the Fanatic", has been serialised in the New Yorker and is in production as a feature film. Faber & Faber paperback pounds 8.99

Techno tour

Pop: The Chemical Brothers begin a short tour on Wednesday, with another number one in "Block Rockin"Beats, an epic, wonderfully abrasive and apt techno follow-up to "Setting Sun". Manchester Apollo 10th 8pm; pounds 11 (0161 242 2560) and Southend Cliff Pavilion 11th 7:30pm; pounds 11 (01702 351135) are the ones not sold out so far. Ends 19th.

Atomic Blast

Clubbing: The club Atomic Model has found a new home at the newly revamped Leopard Lounge where you can rub shoulders with the rich and famous (if suitably attired) and walk down a specially installed catwalk through the Guccified Chelsea masses. The Broadway, Fulham Rd 10pm-3.30am; pounds 10; 0171 385 0834

Free style

Jazz: The stylish, sexy Chicago tenor sax Chico Freeman is playing for two weeks at Ronnie Scott's from Monday with a post-John Coltrane combination of free-jazz style. "Absolutely great" according to our critic. 10:45pm pounds 15; 0171 439 0747

For walkers ...

Sport: On Sunday it's the Flora London Marathon with a field of 27,000 expected. For non-runners there is jazz in Docklands at the City Pride pub, a multi-balloon launch by Radio 5 at the Cutty Sark, and a live gig with Capital Radio at Tower Hill. Runners start coming through there at 10am and looping through again at 11. Start 9am, (men 9:30am).

Faust first

Opera: Another ambitious staging by the ENO, along the equally difficult- to-perform lines of last year's Die Soldaten, The Damnation of Faust opens tonight. David Alden and the conductor Mark Elder come together again after their Tristan und Isolde last year for which Alden won an Olivier. The high lyric tenor of Bonaventura Bottone, perfect for the work's Gallic elegance sings Faust, Louise Winter superb in ENO's Carmen last year is Marguerite, and the rich dominant bass of Willard White is Mephistopheles. Ends 2 May; Coliseum 8pm; pounds 6.50-50; 0171 632 8300

Research:James Aufenast