Arts and Entertainment

Perhaps "Jack and the Beanstalk" sounded a bit tame, and "Jack the Giant Killer" a bit bloodthirsty.

THEATRE / Every picture tells a story: Paul Taylor on The Seagull, directed by John Caird, at the National

It's in the plays of Brecht, not Chekhov, that you expect to encounter alienation effects. A jolting, unscheduled interruption managed to break the spell, however, at the first night of John Caird's Olivier revival of The Seagull, when proceedings were brought to a halt by a large frame which got jammed in mid-flight from the stage. This was rotten luck, even if you felt, unworthily, that here was a classic case of a fine production paying the price for visual over-elaboration.

ARTS / Show People: Casting off the rakish image: Bill Nighy

BILL NIGHY is an elegant bag of bones in a grey two-piece, open-necked check shirt and a blond Chekhovian beard. You'd never guess he was also a bag of nerves. But he hasn't stopped squirming in his chair since, in an effort to break the ice, I told him how I couldn't imagine anyone else playing Bernard Nightingale, the preening Byronist in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. 'I'm not very used to all this,' he apologises in that brittle voice, with Rs that are not far from Ws, at the end of another tortuously baroque answer. 'I'm not a very practised . . .' and another unfinished sentence twirls off frailly into the Peggy Ashcroft sponsors' suite at the National, like the curlicues of smoke from one of the six or seven cigarettes he smokes in the hour.

RADIO / Just the way it is: There's some good news and some bad news. Which would you like first? asks Robert Hanks

This being the season of good news, you can see why it seemed an appealing idea to have Martyn Lewis on Call Nick Ross (Radio 4, Tuesday), preaching his own gospel of news values. These turned out to include not only an emphasis on happy stories - or, to be fair, a suggestion that gloom is over-represented - but an insistence on ephemerality: news, he told Ross, should never be investigative. It should report purely what is happening now; scandals and conspiracies should be left for somebody else to uncover.

THEATRE REVIEW '93 / Facing the final curtain: Tom Stoppard's Arcadia is the experts' choice. Robert Hanks followed its transfer from stage to radio

BACK in the early years of radio, it was easy to transfer a play from the West End on to the airwaves more or less intact: all you did was stick a microphone on the stage. Such simplicity, such purity: Arcadia.
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