Arts and Entertainment

The Good Wife on More4 is in the midst of a reputation revision. Long-term fans of the smart, glossy legal drama, which began its fifth season on More4 last night, often complain it's not given the recognition it deserves. It's true that among crime and law procedurals (TV shows where a problem is raised and solved within a single episode) this is a show of unusual quality. But is The Good Wife really that good?

CLASSICAL MUSIC / DANCE

GOING OUT - CRITICS' CHOICE

Wigan enter the comfort zone

Wigan 46 Castleford 6

LETTERS: Bedside manners, but very few beds

From Ms R. A. James Sir: In response to `` `Good manners' promised in NHS charter" (19 January), as a former employee of an NHS trust, I resent the statement made on my behalf by Ms Bottomley to promise "good manners and considerate behaviour".

Edinburgh Festival: Caught - Still / Hanging

Juggling meets dance in the Gandini Juggling Project's latest piece. Gill Clarke of the Siobhan Davies Dance Company has choreographed Sean Gandini's quartet through a series of fluid episodes. It's physically and aesthetically impressive but strangely soulless. Poetry in motion, but poetry in a foreign language. St Bride's Centre (venue 62), 10 Orwell Terrace (031-348 1405). 6pm to 27 Aug

Edinburgh Festival / Day 10: Apparently . . .

Is comedy the new rock 'n' roll (part 504)? Again it would seem so, to judge by the groupies (or gag hags) loitering in the venues. The comedian Alan Davies was relaxing in the Gilded Balloon bar (where comedians drink) when a stranger asked him, 'Are you a comedian?' 'Yes,' said Davies and felt in his pocket for a leaflet. No need. 'I don't want to see the show,' said the admirer, 'but how about some sex?' That's his story and he's sticking to it . . . The Jaffa-juggling maniac Paul Morocco has been forced to cancel the rest of his run at the Assembly Rooms owing to an illnesss in his family . . .

BEST-SELLERS / Top 10 Fiction Titles

----------------------------------------------------------------- TOP 10 FICTION TITLES ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Juggling. . . . . . . . . . . . Barbara Trapido 2 Knowledge of Angels. . . . . . . Jill Paton Walsh 3 Last Act in Palmyra. . . . . . . Lindsey Davis 4 Chaos and Order. . . . . . . . . Stephen Donaldson 5 True Romance. . . . . . . . . . . Helen Zahavi 6 Mother's Boys. . . . . . . . . . Margaret Forster 7 Presumption. . . . . . . . . . . Julia Barrett 8 A Private View. . . . . . . . . . Anita Brookner 9 A Change of Climate. . . . . . . Hilary Mantel 10 Accident. . . . . . . . . . . . . Danielle Steel Chart supplied by Heffers Booksellers, Cambridge -----------------------------------------------------------------

Letter: Blinded by science and theology

Sir: Why is it, that when the concept of 'God' is discussed, the terminology employed is rarely examined? ('Give us faith, in something', 3 August). Words, after all, are inadequate terms of reference to a concept that is essentially beyond language. The reluctance to open our thoughts stems from theologians or scientists being purely students of their own traditions.

Books: Durban and Oxford shenanigans: Peter Guttridge talks to Barbara Trapido, a novelist who talks to her characters in dreams

Barbara Trapido began writing to appease her mother. The 51-year-old author of four acute and funny novels about different sorts of family relationships had an intense relationship with her German mother, who died two years ago. 'She gave me the illusion that I was her best friend, so of course I kept failing her; I used to write hundreds of stories for her to make it up to her. My mother was artistic and musical and thought I was quite a lot like her. When I was a small child, we both had asthma: we wheezed together, drew pictures together. She identified with me so much I think she felt let down that I didn't turn out to be her clone.'

THEATRE / Off West End: Flying high

To take what is essentially street theatre into the West End demands skill and gall in great quantities. The Reduced Shakespeare Company managed it with its bite-sized bard show, and the Flying Karamazov Brothers, whose new show Juggle and Hyde has just opened at the Criterion, carry it off brilliantly. Outside, buskers juggle among the pigeons; inside, the Karamazovs juggle amid the pink plush and gilded cornices.

BOOK REVIEW / A better sort of tragedy: Juggling by Barbara Trapido - Hamish Hamilton pounds 9.99

IN THE long run, we value writers and artists not for what they do but for how well they do it, yet over the short haul the balance tilts the other way: in the myopic blur of actuality, aspiration and attitude loom larger than achievement. This goes far towards explaining the adulation lavished on various trendy names whose matter and manner are continually writing cheques which their talent can't cash. It may also account in part for the relative obscurity of a writer as clever, witty and wise as Barbara Trapido.

Centrefold: Don't try this at home, folks

Pre-Broadway, post-Hollywood, the Flying Karamazov Brothers (Dmitri, Ivan, Serdykov and Rakitin) are in London to bring their unusual variety of street clowning, juggling and gaucho hairstyles to the West End in Juggle and Hyde. The theme for the show is enclosed space or, to be more precise, cardboard boxes, fleshed out by some strange behaviour with household implements.

Political Commentary: Gosh, Jeffrey has got himself into another scrape

JEFFREY ARCHER often reminds me of P G Wodehouse's character Stanley Ukridge. Ukridge was constantly devising ingenious schemes to make colossal sums. Invariably they went wrong. Lord Archer has, however, been more fortunate. He has become a rich man through labouring at the wordface. Ukridge likewise dabbled in politics. In the story 'The Long Arm of Looney Coote' he goes to a by-election to assist one of the candidates, Lawlor, an old schoolfriend.

CLASSICAL MUSIC / Beginners' guide to blockbusters: As Schoenberg's Gurrelieder opens this year's Proms, Bayan Northcott muses upon the composer's mysteriously early mastery of the late Romantic idiom how far its delayed completion changed the course of music history

There are few scores that call for comparable forces to Arnold Schoenberg's Gurrelieder. Richard Strauss's choral ballad Taillefer - a short but riotous depiction of the Battle of Hastings first heard in 1903 - also requires an orchestra of some 145 players. And while Mahler's Eighth - the so-called 'Symphony of a Thousand', premiered in 1910 - can actually get by with somewhat fewer than the Strauss, the extended Te Deum which comprises the finale of Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony (completed around 1927) demands getting on for 200 players in its full realisation.

BOOK REVIEW / Juggling magic chickens and memories: River of hidden dreams - Connie May Fowler: Bantam, pounds 15.99

'A T THE edge of the mangrove, looking out towards the Gulf of Mexico, there is no horizon. Water and sky become one vast stroke of blue, arching into a dome where clouds rest lazily, on and on - white and pure - eventually disappearing into the unseeable depths of heaven.' This is the strange, haunting, primeval world of Connie May Fowler's second novel, a book whose insistent, irresistible grace lingers teasingly in the back of the mind.

Centrefold: Wot, no horses?: Circus supremo Gerry Cottle is not a happy man

'Circus started with horses, in London in 1768,' protests Gerry Cottle. He's referring to former cavalry officer Philip Astley's displays of trick riding on Half Penny Hatch near Waterloo and he's protesting because now London doesn't want horses in circuses. Despite his natural ebullience, this son of a Surrey stockbroker who went to the same school as John Major and then founded one of the country's biggest traditional circuses, is feeling defeated. 'The last few years have been very tough,' he says. 'I'm willing to change, I'm very progressive. A few years ago, because of animal rights, we got rid of all the animals. All we had was a duck. One performing duck in the show - and Battersea wouldn't allow it. Ken Livingstone didn't mind keeping newts but he wouldn't have animals in the circus.
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