Voices

The top 20 of The Stage newspaper’s recently published “power list” of the 100 most influential people in British theatre made for fascinating reading. Most of the usual suspects were there, but many of them found themselves paired with another name for their entry. For it’s not only the artistic directors, the Nick Hytners and Gregory Dorans, who are celebrated but their all-important executive directors, the men and women who oversee every aspect of an organisation except what goes on its stages. Without executive directors, no contracts would be written, no money raised and no ambitious building projects undertaken.

The Syndicate, Minerva Theatre, Chichester<br/>Henry IV Parts I and 2, Theatre Royal, Bath<br/>Double Feature, Paint Frame Space, NT London

Hankering for just one more Mafia drama? For sure, you might think the movies and the small screen have done this genre to death – lock, stock and two-a-penny. Yet The Syndicate is an intriguing curiosity, written in 1960 by the continentally revered Eduardo de Filippo (of Napoli Milionaria! renown). Hitherto unstaged in the UK, it’s premiering at Chichester in a new version by Mike Poulton. Sean Mathias’s chamber production, moreover, stars Ian McKellen on top form as Don Antonio Barracano, a Neapolitan godfather with a twist.

The Syndicate, Minerva Theatre, Chichester

The title makes it sound like a sharp-suited business bonanza, possibly a Mafiosi Mad Men. In fact, this is a 1960 Neapolitan comedy of familial resentment and redemption with a great pairing of Sir Ian McKellen as a godfather with a guilty secret and Michael Pennington as his doctor.

Swan Lake, Royal Opera House, London<br/>Carlos Acosta: Premieres Plus, Coliseum, London

There's no touching the Mariinsky corps for uniformity, while principal Lopatkina demonstrates the art of maturing into a role

The Deep Blue Sea, Festival Theatre, Chichester<br/>Rattigan's Nijinsky, Festival Theatre, Chichester<br/>This Happy Breed, Theatre Royal, Bath

Rattigan takes the lid off a fragile marriage and dabbles with the Ballets Russes, but it's No&#235;l Coward who scores a hit

The Deep Blue Sea/Rattigan's Nijinsky, Chichester Festival Theatre

Terence Rattigan never wrote openly about the love that dare not speak its name. His gift was for attacking the English dread of emotional commitment through drama that is predicated on understatement and obliquity, with women as surrogate taboo-breaking saboteurs. In arguably his best play, The Deep Blue Sea (1952), Rattigan's experience of unequal passion and suicidal desperation is expressed via the fate of Hester Collyer, a judge's wife whose erotic infatuation with a dashing but shallow ex-RAF fighter pilot drives her to try to end it all.

Diary: Keep your eyes off me, says Celine Dion

The Mail has added to the annals of the bleeding obvious by reporting on a study which finds that some women "hate" looking at photographs of themselves. Still, on cue comes along one such woman to confirm the accuracy of the research. Wealthy Canadian singer Céline Dion was recently informed of the existence of a blog by one of the world's little people, self-explanatorily entitled "Ridiculous Pictures Of Céline Dion". Ms Dion was not amused, and Duckumu (also known as Nick, 26, from Brooklyn), the humble blogger responsible, claims he received a letter from her lawyers demanding he shut the site down. "Though this blog is well within the realm of 'fair use'," he insists, "I don't have the money or time to get a lawyer to respond. The dream is over." In honour of his site's demise, however, this column would like to contribute one more ridiculous picture.

The lure of Nijinsky

It's no surprise that stage and screen are fascinated by dance's most flamboyant figure. A compelling new play adds to the mystique, says Paul Taylor

Googie Withers: Actress who found success on stage and screen over nine decades

Marriage to the Australian actor-manager John McCallum often took Googie Withers on antipodean tours, especially in her middle years. Her career otherwise might have blazed even more strongly in the UK.

Seven charged over prison riot

Seven men were charged today in connection with a riot at an open prison where buildings were burnt to the ground.

Road Show, Menier Chocolate Factory, London<br/>Singin' in the Rain, Festival Theatre, Chichester

Two brothers make their way from digging for pay dirt in Alaska to hobnobbing with the super-rich, in all-American style

Top Girls, Minerva Theatre, Chichester

Art is news that stays news, declared Ezra Pound – a verdict vibrantly endorsed by this thrilling new production of Caryl Churchill's 1982 play Top Girls.

Record entries for Round the Island Race

One of Britain’s biggest competitor events is promising a buffeting for an estimated 15,000 people tomorrow.

Much Ado About Nothing, Wyndham's, London<br/>Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare's Globe, London<br/>Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Festival Theatre, Chichester

One of this week's 'Much Ado...' productions has star power, but it's the charm and wit of the second that gets more out of Shakespeare's sure-fire comedy

Heads Up: Rattigan's Nijinsky

The 'British Chekhov' leads audiences on a not-so-merry dance

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Chichester Festival Theatre

Plenty of life left in this comic couple
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