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

Sir Trevor Nunn: Kiss her? I married my Kate!

Sir Trevor Nunn has always been fascinated by how the musical inspired by Shakespeare's comedy crosses into real life – not least his own

Sheridan Smith to star as Hedda Gabler

Legally Blonde star Sheridan Smith is set to play Hedda Gabler in a London stage production of Henrik Ibsen's seminal work.

The Weekend's Viewing: Off by Heart Shakespeare, Sat, BBC2
Episodes, Fri, BBC2

Here are the rules. Nine young finalists from something like 2,000 original entrants memorise and perform a short speech from Shakespeare in front of an RSC audience.

Eccentric escape: The House in the Clouds, a five-storey clapboard tower, is now an unusual holiday rental

Thorpeness: The Suffolk holiday village that sailed to success

With a boating lake at its heart, it is a century-old Utopian escape, says Kate Simon

The rest is silence, Brighton Festival

Who knows what goes on behind closed doors? But for a rain-battered Brighton Festival banner on the gate you'd never guess that the nondescript lock-up on a industrial estate in Shoreham-by-Sea was playing host to one of the most eagerly anticipated theatre events of the year.

Observations: Shakespeare shake-up in Shoreham-by-Sea

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Or at least in the rubbish tip of Shoreham-by-Sea, which forms the malodorous backdrop for an ambitious new take on Hamlet, opening this weekend.

Anderton House’s sitting room frames valley views

Stay the night: Anderton House, North Devon

Amid traditional thatched West Country cottages, Sophie Lam discovers an elegant Modernist homage to space and light

The Independent’s Charlie Cooper, right, learns Original Pronunciation Shakespeare with actor Ben Crystal

'Tuh beh oar nat tuh beh?' That was the question

This radically different pronunciation is, according to a new scholarly recording of Shakespeare's works, much closer to the way the line would have been spoken

The Sheffield Theatres stage three plays by Michael Frayn including 'Democracy'

Heads Up: Michael Frayn Season

From the West End to Sheffield...you've been Frayn-ed!

Absolutely Fabulous, 10pm, BBC1

The pick of Christmas television: How to make the most of your holiday viewing

It's not just the return of Edina and Patsy – there's Downton, the Doctor, and Dickens. Gerard Gilbert presents his pick of the seasonal small screen

The Faith Machine, Royal Court Downstairs, London<br/>The God of Soho, Shakespeare's Globe, London<br/>Wittenberg, Gate, London

Questions of faith, capitalism and platonic ideals are thrashed out in Alexi Kaye Campbell's new Royal Court drama

The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Prince Zi Dan, the Peking Opera version of Hamlet, considers his next move. To show that he's thinking, he stretches one foot up past his ear and goes into a deep crouch on his supporting leg. He does this while wearing an embroidered costume, high platform shoes and a headdress with waving peacock plumes. Having finished his contemplative stretch, he cries, "Let's go!"

3D Hamlet: A Lost Generation, Spaces on the Mile

The title and the name of the venue create more excitement than is warranted for a 70-minute routine cut-up job in a tiny hotel function room in the city centre.

First Night: Anna Christie, Donmar Warehouse, London

Muscle-bound Law provides power in epic tale of the sea

Ten Plagues, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

An account of the London plague is a strong choice of subject for a song cycle, and this Traverse production is already a festival highlight and a triumph for the singer Marc Almond, writer Mark Ravenhill, composer Conor Mitchell and director-designer Stewart Laing.

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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links