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.

Album: Marina and the Diamonds, Electra Heart (679/Atlantic)

From opening track, “Bubblegum Bitch”, onwards, Marina and the Diamonds' second album promotes the more mean-spirited and synthetic aspects of childhood aspiration.

Jakob Lenz, ENO/Hampstead Theatre, London

The poet Jakob Lenz (1751-1792) flashed like a shooting-star through the literary firmament, notable less for his output that for his bewitching personal charisma.

David Suchet and Laurie Metcalf are compelling as James and Mary Tyrone

Long Day's Journey into Night, Apollo, London
Uncle Vanya, Festival Theatre, Chichester
Chalet Lines, Bush Theatre, London

Eugene O'Neill's tragedy about a blighted and bitter clan embroiled in internecine conflict is given a masterly treatment

Going Dark, Young Vic, London 

It was Milan Kundera, I think, who said that an author should, as a point of firm principle, avoid giving a character a job or a profession that is too convenient to the thematic or symbolic intent of the work of art.

Joe Penhall's new play, Birthday, will open at the Royal Court a record-breaking six months after his last new play, Haunted Child, opened at the theatre

Cultural Life: Sidse Babett Knudsen, actress

Television: Before I started on 'Borgen', people introduced me to some great American box-sets to convince me that TV could be good. I now watch them all the time. Amy Poehler is very funny in 'Parks and Recreation' and 'In Treatment', with Gabriel Byrne, is also really good. How can one room with just two characters be so captivating? For more laughs I watch 'Modern Family'. Rico Rodriguez is very funny as the son, Manny Delgado.

Idris Elba established himself in the US first, playing the role of Stringer Bell in 'The Wire'

Black British actors told to head for Hollywood if they want big roles

Black British actors should head to Hollywood as quickly as they can because they won't find leading roles in the UK, David Harewood, the acclaimed National Theatre performer, has advised.

France's most prestigious theatre company, the Comédie Française

After 320 years, Paris theatre's stage hands demand égalité

A pay deal signed during the reign of Louis XIV has led to indefinite strike at famed Comédie Française

DVD: The Scarlet Blade (PG)

This 1964 Hammer production is blessed with two hammy performances from Lionel Jeffries, as the sadistic Colonel Judd, and Oliver Reed, as the dissembling Captain Sylvester.

Cabbie's snooker story is right on cue

On an unremarkable night in 2004, Middlesbrough taxi driver Ishy Din was listening to Radio 5 Live in his cab, when the station announced a competition to find short stories with a sporting theme. Having just bought his first computer, Din thought he'd give it a go and sent something in. To his amazement, that story, his first attempt at creative writing since his school days, was produced and aired.

The Art of Concealment, Jermyn Street Theatre, London 

Jermyn Street Theatre, which has just deservedly won The Stage's  Fringe Theatre of the Year Award, kicked off 2011 with Less Than Kind, a fascinating, hitherto unperformed draft of an early play by Terence Rattigan.

Album: Hyperpotamus, Delta (El Molino Music)

Hyperpotamus is Spanish musician Jorge Ramírez-Escudero, who brings a new rigour to the notion of solo performance: all the pieces on Delta are structured from his own looped and layered vocal tracks, painstakingly built into exotic sonic edifices without using any actual instruments.

Downton delivers the one present its devotees wanted

Christmas TV review

Arts review of 2011 - Theatre: Words failed us. But never mind the writers, let's hear it for the players

In a thin year for new scripts, some outstanding performances caught the eye – and, 400 years on, the King James Bible scored

Mysteries of Lisbon (PG)

Starring: Adriano Luz, José Afonso Pimentel
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on