Arts and Entertainment Nicola Benedetti: 'Barbra Streisand is always a joy to watch'

'Barbra Streisand is always a joy to watch'

ROCK / Frank's blind dates

SOMETIMES, two can be a crowd. On Duets (Capitol/EMI, out on Monday), Frank Sinatra's first studio album in more than a decade, the old master's voice gets shoe-horned into some uncomfortable proximities (not to mention the year's most horrible cover). The disc does not start well. Luther Vandross is a great singer, but his professional smoothness and Frank's dry-as-dust phrasing rub each other up the wrong way, and their 'Lady is a Tramp' is all over the place. The next pairing - 'What Now My Love?', with Aretha Franklin - is much more felicitous, and by the time Barbra Streisand glides into earshot for 'I've Got a Crush on You' all concerned seem to be enjoying themselves: 'I have got a crush, my Barbra, on you.' 'Oh, you make me blush, Francis.'

FILM / Smashing the Hollywood studio cistern: This scene was considered shocking in 1959: I mean, Rock Hudson and Doris Day naked in the tub? A lot of bathwater has gone under the bridge since then: you should see what happens in Sharon Stone's bathroom in Sliver. John Lyttle considers the functions of the movie bathroom

The forthcoming Sharon Stone thriller, Sliver, is about voyeurism so, of course, it features bathrooms, western civilisation's most private and personal place. Here single women masturbate, couples copulate on the sink, people die from falling under the shower and old ladies pathetically trim their chin whiskers with electric razors. The spectrum of human life plays out, caught at its most naked and intimate. The old lady's medicine cupboard mirror is reflecting a banal truth no other room in her home will be party to: that decay cannot be denied.

Your questions served up - now the ball's in his court

TODAY - all your Wimbledon problems and queries answered by an expert]

Obituary: Steven Douglas

Steven Douglas, saxophonist, died Los Angeles 19 April, aged 55. Played with stars ranging from Elvis Presley to the Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra. Toured with Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, and accompanied Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder.

VOCAL HEROES / Happy days are here again: In the second of our series on great voices, Edward Seckerson traces the extraordinary flights of Barbra Streisand

The voice was fresh, intense - different. She sang the Milton Ager / Jack Yellen standard 'Happy Days Are Here Again'. That, too, was different - downbeat, slow-burn, ironic, blue with the spirit of the Depression. Effectively a new song.

THEATRE / Spirit of the moment: Paul Taylor on the RSC's production of Anski's The Dybbuk

A COMPANY's electricity bill has little to fear from Katie Mitchell. Her productions (in particular, those powerful forays she has made into Elizabethan domestic tragedy) tend to create worlds of charged, candle-lit intimacy and danger - the chiaroscuro having (at times) a burnished, Rembrandtesque quality, the stage covered in real earth. Her wonderfully absorbing account of The Dybbuk, just opened at the Pit, illustrates again her talent for imparting the sense of a close community, drawing you this time into a Hasidic Jewish enclave in turn-of-the- century Eastern Europe.
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