Arts and Entertainment

Nina Stibbe moved to London in 1982 to work as a nanny for Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor of the London Review of Books. In the years following, she wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester, and Love, Nina is the result.

LK Bennett seeks outside investors

Linda Bennett, the "Queen of the kitten heel", is planning to cash in on the success of her LK Bennett fashion empire by handing control of her £75m business to outside investors.

Alan Bennett comes out fighting as he recounts the night he was beaten up

Playwright goes public about his sexuality because 'police routinely ignore homophobic attacks'

The Dark, Donmar Warehouse, London

There can be few more piquantly paradoxical ways of lighting up a stage than by dramatising the consequences of a power-cut.

A week in books

Tales just too good to be true

Theatre review: The Lady in the Van Queen's Theatre, London

Alan Bennett's frequently hilarious autobiographical play stars Maggie Smith as the homeless old tramp who lived in a van in the playwright's driveway for 15 years. This combative, ungrateful, car-mad religious maniac, with delusions of being at the centre of some conspiracy, is played here in a performance of quite brilliant formidability and pathos. The play is studded with great comic lines, but I was never reconciled to the brightly coloured pop-up book feel of Nicholas Hytner's production.

Books: Time, ladies and gentlemen, please

Is that Mrs Woolf, in a room of her own? And Monsieur Camus, outside? Felix Bennett invites you to the last literary party of the century

Theatre: Driving Miss Crazy

The Lady in the Van Queen's, London

Profile: Alan Bennett; An Englishman abroad

In Writing Home, his best-selling volume of diary extracts, prefaces and occasional pieces, Alan Bennett records that in September 1982 his friend, the television presenter Russell Harty, invented a new parlour game. It involved tackling the momentous question: "Whose underpants would you least like to be gagged by?"

Theatre: Hull hath no fury...

LARKIN WITH WOMEN STEPHEN JOSEPH THEATRE

Arts: Alan Bennett: `He makes it easy for you'

Actors and directors on the playwright's qualities as his stage version of `The Lady in the Van' opens in London

Theatre: Death... and the very peculiar maiden

I'LL BE TED, YOU BE SYLVIA HAMPSTEAD THEATRE LONDON

Letting rip for love's sake

Thursday Book: REFERENCE BACK: PHILIP LARKIN'S UNCOLLECTED JAZZ WRITINGS, 1940-84 EDITED BY RICHARD PALMER AND JOHN WHITE UNIVERSITY OF HULL PRESS, pounds 19.99

Arts: Theatre: Loner among wastrels

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE THE COTTESLOE PLACE LONDON
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