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. 

Letters: Jacobson on Gaza

Jacobson and Gaza: the debate continues

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

Emotions have run high over recent events in Gaza. And in this impassioned and searching essay, our writer argues that just below the surface runs a vicious strain of ancient prejudice

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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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?