Independent Plus

Watch a selection of trailers for our film and television critic's choice:

Spider-Man Broadway musical looks like turn off

There was no resting on laurels for the cast and crew of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark yesterday after a first preview performance on Sunday night of the most expensive and elaborate musical ever attempted on Broadway brought tales of actors dangling above and audience twiddling thumbs below.

Author seeks to stop Broadway show

Fela!, the award-winning Broadway musical about the late Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, which opened in London this week, could face closure after the author of a book about the Nigerian superstar sued the producers. He claims that they stole his work and thought an offer of $4,000 (£2,500) was all he deserved for copying portions of his book into the play's script.

Is Broadway crazy to take on Almodóvar?

A new stage version of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown could be a musical too far, says Sarah Hughes

No tenant? What about the homeless?

TV's Phil Spencer says charity scheme can fill the void for hard-up landlords. Julian Knight reports

The Country Girl, Apollo Theatre, London

"I'm getting baggy under the eyes," exclaims the old actor on the comeback trail in Clifford Odets's wonderful backstage drama. But as that actor is played by baggy-eyed Martin Shaw, the remark is as superfluous as Edith Evans's complaint in Hay Fever years ago that someone was speaking to her as if she were 80 (which she more or less was).

Tom Hedley: 'On stage, Flashdance in your face and completely alive'

When I wrote Flashdance, in 1982, it was a hard sell; musicals were considered poison at the box office and Hollywood studio executives were put off by the notion that what I had written would in any way be thought of or described as a musical. The first director I approached was the great Bob Fosse. He was very drawn to it but, after giving me copious notes, he finally shrugged and said: "Look, the fact is, this is simply not a movie. What you have written is a stage musical and I would be willing to consider working on it for Broadway. But even then there is a central flaw in your concept – you seem to have all the choreography done as single dancers direct to the camera. You must have ensemble choreography for the stage."

Love Poems, By Carol Ann Duffy

This life-enhancing harvest of 34 poems reveals Duffy as a poet who covers the stormy waterfront of desire, devotion and despair. From early collections such as Mean Time to a preview of the forthcoming The Bees, the Poet Laureate runs passion's gamut from wild infatuation through absence and infidelity, break-ups, grief and solitude. .

The Human Comedy, Young Vic, London

The Young Vic has an admirable tradition of kicking off its year with a production that pulls in the local community to play alongside professionals in the role of chorus – and the venue has had some of its most signal recent successes in this department. It now launches its 40th anniversary season in joyous fashion with the belated British premiere of The Human Comedy. A flawed, affecting show by Hair composer, Galt MacDermot, this piece flopped on Broadway in 1984, but it fits the bill here to an almost parodic degree in its celebration of the healing power of community and the unifying nature of song.

Anne Frank: The Life, The Book, The Afterlife, By Francine Prose

Can there be anything new to say about Anne Frank? No, and there is nothing really new here. On the other hand, the Anne Frank industry is so huge that there's a lot the ordinary reader doesn't know. This is truer in the US than here: only a quarter of American high school students can identify Hitler, Francine Prose says, whereas more British students can identify Hitler than Oliver Cromwell, to judge from recent reports. But the wider story of the Frank family and their helpers is less well known, and the first part of this book is fascinating.

Police officers hurt in Northern Ireland riots

Three police officers were shot in a night of rioting in Northern Ireland.

John Forsythe: Actor who played Blake Carrington in 'Dynasty' and the elusive Charlie in 'Charlie's Angels'

It is ironic that an actor who so distinguished himself in films and on Broadway before winning fame as Blake Carrington on television in Dynasty should perhaps still be best remembered for a role in which viewers never even saw him, that of the elusive Charlie in Charlie's Angels, whose disembodied voice on a phone line gave his girl detectives their new assignment each week.

How does 'Hair' still bring in the bread, man?

In 1968, the squares thought it 'perverted', and to the kids it was phony.

Nocturnes, By Kazuo Ishiguro

With their gently melancholy wit and bittersweet harmonies, Ishiguro's five "stories of music and nightfall" feel much like the Broadway standards that inspire them.

Tom Sutcliffe: TV is about a lot more than moving images

There was a lot of excitement about the third dimension at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – with numerous manufacturers unveiling various kinds of 3D television sets and 3D computer displays. But when you looked more closely at the froth and hype and exuberance, almost all of it appeared to stem from people who had a strong vested interest in leaving us dissatisfied with boring old D, never mind how many pixels it could boast or the dizzying height of its definition.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker