Alan Bennett

Mongrel Island, Soho Theatre, London

"Work is more fun than fun," Noel Coward once declared. As far as we know, though, Noel never had to drudge from nine to five in an office processing the timesheets of care-workers. That happens to be the fate of Marie, the twentysomething harried and likeable central character in Mongrel Island, Ed Harris's accomplished, if slightly trying play.

Buried In Books: A Reader’s Anthology, By Julie Rugg

Many readers of this section will share Julie Rugg's anguish about arriving home "with a blush and bag that is just a little too heavy". Her useful advice for hiding second-hand book purchases from your partner is to "spread them on existing piles of books... a method learned from the tunnellers in The Great Escape." Buried in Books would be a fruitful addition to any booklover's pile. Exploring this delightful anthology is akin to rummaging in the better sort of second-hand bookshop.

A very English playwright: The return of Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett stages his first play for years this month, at the National Theatre. Paul Taylor, who has met him many times, looks at how the butcher's son from Leeds became Britain's best loved playwright, and tries to unravel his complex personality