Arts and Entertainment Show 1 at the Lyric Hammersmith

The known quantity is a factor that London theatre has a depressing habit of unduly relying upon.  Think of all those screen-to-stage adaptations that angle to clean up at the box office by feeding audiences with the safely familiar or the slew of preview pieces that these days excessively prime punters on what to anticipate. 

Churchill defends ‘anti-Semitic’ play

Caryl Churchill has defended herself against accusations of anti-Semitism after her play Seven Jewish Children caused uproar among Jews.

Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is

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Oliver! Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London<br>Roaring Trade, Soho Theatre, London<br>Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, NT Olivier, London

Rowan Atkinson makes a convincing Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh's revival of the enduring musical

The playwright: Lucy Kirkwood

Meet Lucy Kirkwood, a young playwright with a singular – and just a little bit dark – dramatic vision. Her first play, Tinderbox, was described as "Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane as rewritten by the League of Gentleman" while her bold, rip-roaring take on Hedda Gabler, at the Gate Theatre, transposed Ibsen's classic drama to 21st-century Notting Hill where, instead of flinging Lovborg's manuscript on the fire, in a thrilling coup de théâtre, Hedda gulped down the memory chip containing his life's work.

Bliss, Royal Court, London

Before the Quebecois Olivier Choinière's play begins, we're left in no doubt about its take on society's obsession with celebrities. Each member of the audience at Joe Hill-Gibbins' production is issued with a blue Wal-Mart vest, before entering a barn-like space and looking through a frame at a public toilet where the graffiti is in mirror writing. Before the cubicles are a Wal-Mart manager and three employees, the lettering on their badges also written from right to left. We will be told, more than once, "I'm looking at you. You're looking at me," but, by then, most of us will have got the idea: I am you and you are me and we are all guilty.

Theatre: How to reduce grown men to tears

Kathryn Hunter has played King Lear. So the 11-year-old lead in Spoonface Steinberg should be a piece of cake. By Dominic Cavendish

Arts & Edinburgh: A miracle of stillness

THEATRE Happy Birthday, Mister Deka D Traverse Theatre, Venue 15 (0131-228 1404 to 4 Sept

Arts: The profession of violins

Theatre; THE GOGMAGOGS BRIDEWELL THEATRE LONDON

Events: Pick Of The Week - City of London Festival Tue to 15 Jul

A few rays of sunshine and they're all at it - the steeliest of events organisers is full of the joys of summer. Which explains the wealth of festivals currently taking place. Swelling their ranks this week is the City of London Festival, which promises a three-week "international celebration of the arts" to enliven the capital's financial heartland. Classical concerts, literary events, free lunchtime performances of arts from around the world and late-night entertainment are all on offer. Highlights include the opening Brahms concert in St Paul's on Wednesday and two world premieres: John Tavener's Hypakoe (5 Jul) and the new work by the gogmagogs (above), gobbledygook. A blend of music and physical theatre, in collaboration with Django Bates and Caryl Churchill, it is at the Bridewell Theatre from 29 Jun to 3 Jul. Who needs Notting Hill?

Theatre: Wealthy, witty and wise

MONEY

Letter: Royal Court concern

Sir: Ian Rickson and Stephen Daldry in their reply (Review, 21 May) to David Benedict's article "Shopping and Funding" (Review, 19 May) suggested that the reporter should have spoken to more than two playwrights.
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