THEATRE / Bowed, but mostly unbloodied: Rhoda Koenig on Sam Mendes' production of Richard III for the RSC, now transferred to the Donmar Warehouse

FACING her father-in-law's murderer over his corpse, the Lady Anne draws back a shroud to demonstrate that his wounds indeed stream a reproachful red, as they 'open their congeal'd mouths and bleed afresh'. But the gore is an anomaly in Sam Mendes' production of Richard III, which gives us a rather bloodless version of the 'bloody king'.

THEATRE / Diary: Greatness thrust upon him: Simon Russell Beale played Richard III as a humpback and paid for it with a slipped disc. Which gave Ciaran Hinds just over a week to step into his shoes . . .

'BARBICAN: Terry Hands, in a black bomber jacket, kneading a piece of bluetac in one hand, chain- smoking with the other, talking about Richard III. '(Shakespeare) doesn't give Richard a rest . . . Hamlet has all that Ophelia stuff, Lear's got the whole Edmund sub-plot, but Richard is on throughout. With the terrible physical strain, of course, of sustaining a crippled position all evening.' He tells me that when Robert Hirsh did it for him in his Comedie Francaise production, he limped on alternate legs from night to night, with two sets of costumes. 'You might like to think along similar lines. I've been advised by an osteopath that irreparable damage can be done to the pelvis otherwise. It's a little known historical fact, but apparently after the original production Burbage said to Shakespeare, 'If you ever do that to me again, mate, I'll kill you.' ' From Antony Sher's 'Year of the King'.

THEATRE / Preview: Enter a new year, stage left: Sarah Hemming looks forward to another year of the American musical and the re-emergence of the left from the wings; plus dates for the diary

WITH polished productions of Carousel (National Theatre) and Assassins (Donmar Warehouse) packing them in, the musical ends 1992 with a little more swagger in its step. It's interesting to note that these, for many people the musical highlights of the year, are both American and both relatively dark in subject matter. So what will make it in 1993? In the spring all eyes will be on Crazy For You, the pounds 3m production of the huge Broadway hit which opens in the West End in March. Described as 'a new Gershwin musical comedy' and loosely based on Gershwin's Girl Crazy, it is a simple boy-meets-girl showbiz story interwoven with 19 numbers by George and Ira Gershwin, among them 'Embraceable You' and 'I Got Rhythm'. Directed by Mike (Me and My Girl) Ockrent, and with a book by Ken Ludwig, Crazy For You won three Tony Awards when it opened on Broadway last February and sent the notorioulsy hard-to-please New York Times critic Frank Rich into raptures.

ARTS / Richard the joint first: Stage Actor of the Year

IT WAS not a great year for heroic performances. The most obvious contenders were Antony Sher's Tamburlaine (at the Swan) which, besides its stunning acrobatics, brought a sense of Faustian aspiration to the Scythian warlord; and Paul Scofield's Shotover in Heartbreak House (Haymarket) which gave Shaw the tragic reverberation of Joseph Conrad. Otherwise there was Kenneth Branagh's non-patrician Coriolanus at Chichester, John Nettles's return to Stratford as an underwhelming Leontes, and Alan Rickman's Hamlet (Riverside, Hammersmith, and touring), a jaundiced outsider who gave up on revenge even before he had started.

THEATRE / On target: Paul Taylor on Stephen Sondheim's Assassins at the Donmar Warehouse

'EVERYONE Needs Opera' proclaim those ENO posters in the Underground, an assertion that is palpable nonsense. ('Homeless? Hey, Here's a snatch of Akhnaten . . .') In the last few weeks, for reasons that will be evident to readers of this page, I've felt the strong urge to go round adding stickers that ask: 'But Who Needs New Musicals?' Now, putting a stop to such thoughts, along comes Stephen Sondheim's marvellous Assassins, the British premiere of which proves an auspicious opening for Sam Mendes' regime at the handsomely refurbished Donmar Warehouse. Fittingly for the venue, it's a focused chamber piece, but in every important respect (dramatic punch; incisive musical and lyrical intelligence; cunning control of irony etc), it dwarfs the elephantine, muddle-headed hulks of 'product' recently unveiled in the West End.

THEATRE / Musicals: Knockin' 'em dead in the aisles: John Weidman, author of Assassins, talks to Sarah Hemming about staging a hit

MEETING John Weidman is something of a surprise. A neat, pleasant and alert man, he sits in the tidy Green Room of the Donmar Warehouse looking ready to offer marriage guidance or financial advice. He certainly doesn't strike you as the sort of man who might be fascinated by assassinations. Yet Weidman wrote the book (to Stephen Sondheim's music) of Assassins, the musical with which Sam Mendes is opening the refurbished Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden tomorrow night. The show, as its title suggests, deals solely with assassins and would-be assassins - nine in all, based on real people who over the years have had a shot at removing a President of the United States.
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent