Arts and Entertainment Angela Lansbury is set return to the London stage after a hiatus of almost four decades

The actress will return to the Gielgud Theatre where she made her debut

Tom Courtenay and Julie Christie in Billy Liar, 1963

Julie Christie in Billy Liar: The girl who showed the way to the future

Some 50 years ago, Billy Liar became a cinematic hero – but, argues John Walsh, it was Julie Christie's Liz who hinted at a new way of life

China girl: Mary Bevan (Lila) in Hull Truck’s The Firework Maker’s Daughter

Classical review: The Firework Maker's Daughter - Brace yourself for an explosive yarn

Add magnesium to strontium, and prepare yourself for fireworks

Many felt that the film adaptation of The History Boys wasn’t on the level of the play.

Richard Griffiths: An actor with a touch of genius about him

Richard Griffiths, who has died aged 65, was a character actor with a touch of genius about him. He often played borderline creepy types -  the camp uncle, the school teacher with amorous designs on his pupils - but he brought such humour and pathos to these roles that you always rooted for him.

Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode in Stoker

Jonathan Romney on Stoker: Embalming fluid can go a long way

Forget the weird plot and get lost in fabulous visuals and a pouting, simmering Nicole Kidman

Surjit Hans, 82, has just finished translating Henry VIII, Shakespeare’s last play

Love's labour: the complete works of Shakespeare now available in Punjabi

Surjit Hans’ interest in the works of William Shakespeare was first sparked when he was a student, but it was not until he had retired from academia that he started on the labour of love in which he would lose himself and which took two decades to complete.

Richard Briers who starred in The Good Life has died at the age of 79 in London

Goodbye to a Good Life: Richard Briers was not just a national treasure, he was a suburban everyman

Reporting on the death of the actor Richard Briers today at the age of 79, the online version of The Surrey Comet understandably looked for a local angle: “Surbiton’s Most Famous Fictional Resident Dies” ran its headline - a distillation of a long and distinguished acting career that might at first glance look dismayingly reductive.

Richard Briers who starred in The Good Life has died at the age of 79 in London

Goodbye to a Good Life: Richard Briers was not just a national treasure, he was a suburban everyman

Reporting on the death of the actor Richard Briers today at the age of 79, the online version of The Surrey Comet understandably looked for a local angle: “Surbiton’s Most Famous Fictional Resident Dies” ran its headline - a distillation of a long and distinguished acting career that might at first glance look dismayingly reductive.

Rebecca Johnson and Kerry Fox in The Vortex

The Vortex, Rose Theatre, Kingston

A collapsed and fragmentary picture frame in bright yellow forms the shattered border of Neil Warmington's striking design for this incisive and acidly entertaining revival by Stephen Unwin of The Vortex, the play which catapulted Noel Coward to success and notoriety when it opened in 1924.

Hamlet to be performed at of Rose Theatre Bankside for the first time in 400 years

Hamlet will be performed at the Rose Theatre, Bankside for the first time since 1594.

Exhilarating: Keegan-Dolan’s take on The Rite of Spring

IoS dance preview of 2012: All the best dancers know their lefts from their rites

As belts continue to tighten, don't be too surprised by a sense of déjà vu, as theatres pad their schedules with known quantities (hello again, 50th-anniversary revival of West Side Story). This may be good news for those who missed, say, Akram Khan's marvellous Desh first and second times around (catch it once and for all at Sadler's Wells in June), or Sutra, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's mesmerising date with 20 plywood cubes, and the Shaolin Monks (Sadler's Wells, March). But it's also good news for Scottish Ballet, who have persuaded Matthew Bourne to let them loose on Highland Fling, his deliciously grungy 1994 update on La Sylphide. It tours four Scottish venues in April and May.

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo Dicaprio in the Great Gatsby

IoS fil preview of 2013 2: Forget the Mayans, the end of the world is nigh ... again

We may have made it past the Earth's expiry date, as forecast by those fibbing Mayans, but the future's not looking bright according to the movies. In Oblivion, Tom Cruise is stuck on an Earth long since abandoned by the human race. In After Earth, the planet is also a human-free zone until Will Smith and his son, Jaden, crash land there. (The film is directed by M Night Shyamalan, so there's a high chance that Jaden's character will be named Adam and that he'll meet a girl called Eve.) In Elysium, Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9, the have-nots are left on a desolate Earth, while the haves live it up in a luxury space station. And in The World's End, which reunites Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, a 40th-birthday pub crawl happens to coincide with, yes, the end of the world. Not to be confused with This Is the End, another apocalyptic comedy, with Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Julius Caesar, Donmar Warehouse, London

There are only two women – Portia and Calpurnia – in Julius Caesar and both of these wives have important things to say but find themselves sidelined.

Kenneth Branagh receives knighthood

Hollywood star Kenneth Branagh gave a special one-man performance for the Queen as he was knighted today, more than 30 years after first performing for her.

Our reporter receives a surprise monologue from Falstaff

Is this an actor I see before me? Shakespeare goes undercover

Nick Clark sees shoppers caught off guard by 'pop-up' performances

Ward in 'Young Winston'

Simon Ward: Dashing actor who made his name playing the young Winston Churchill

Simon Ward was a handsome actor whose patrician, public-school demeanour made him ideal casting for dashing period romances and for the screen role that brought him international prominence, that of the youthful Winston Churchill in Richard Attenborough's Young Winston (1971). On stage, he had already received favourable notice for his role in the original production of Joe Orton's Loot (1967), and he later starred in such films as All Creatures Great and Small (1975), as the author James Herriot) and Zulu Dawn (1979), as Lieutenant Vereker.

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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

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Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine