Arts and Entertainment

DVD channel 4  (136mins)

THEATRE / One angry man: Paul Taylor on Osborne's Inadmissable Evidence

A CYNIC might say that Inadmissible Evidence (1964) offers us an instructive case of the ship leaving the sinking rat. But that would be a miserably inadequate response to John Osborne's awesome, flawed, throat-grabbing play. True, everyone is busy deserting Maitland, the self-made solicitor whose mid-life crisis is the drama's obsessive focus. By the end, he's lost clients, secretary, and managing clerk; his daughter has walked out on him without a word, and his long-term mistress has indicated that she, too, can't promise to stick around. But then it's not hard to see how this overbearing, womanising misogynist has managed to occasion such an exodus.

Just a spoonful of Virginia . . .

THAT elastic mouth spread wide across the face and the ends turned up in a smile of absolute charm. Virginia Bottomley was performing again, not inimitably, for she is highly imitable, but impressively. She moved lithely to speak. She gripped either side of the podium - what strong, capable hands are still holding our NHS safe. Her clear, deep, confident voice gave life and enthusiasm to her pre-written speech.

Museum offers visitors a 'hands on' approach to developing an appreciation of the sound of music

Tony Dale, educational co-ordinator at the Stradivarium museum of music and sound in Bristol, tuning the world's largest guitar at the Exploratory, a scientific exhibition. The guitar took Mr Dale and four colleagues more than three months to construct, and access through a hole in the rear allows visitors to explore the inside of the instrument while it is being played.

Pembroke: SIB wobbles

What appeared at first sight to be seismological developments at the Securities and Investments Board may turn out to be no more than 1.5 on the Richter scale.

Chic waif who was always a class act

AUDREY HEPBURN was one of the more uncommon stars to emerge in the Fifties, writes Sheila Johnston.

Battle for the sound of music: Philips's Digital Compact Cassette is facing a challenge in the personal stereo stakes with the launch of Sony's MiniDisc system. David Bowen sees a bitter struggle for supremacy in which both new formats may end up as casualties

EIGHT shopping days before Christmas, in the middle of a deep recession, Sony will launch a personal stereo that costs pounds 500 and cannot work without a new and scarce disc. It is competing against another new system, using cassettes, that will have been in the shops for two months. The Japanese have never been known for taking gambles. Sony is doing its best to reverse that reputation.

Music / Double Play: Go Western, young man: Stephen Johnson and Edward Seckerson on Puccini and Julie

Puccini - La Fanciulla del West: Marton, O'Neill, Fondary, Munich Radio Orchestra / Leonard Slatkin (BMG/RCA 09026 60597-2 - two CDs)

INTERVIEW / Lowering the tone: What is it about her? Her Englishness? Her squeaky-cleanness? Or simply her voice? Julie Andrews talks to Edward Seckerson

SO THE little girl with bandy legs, buck teeth, and the freaky voice grew up to be Julie Andrews. Broadway made her, Hollywood immortalised her - but some things are forever England. She will always be Eliza, the cockney sparrow turned swan; she will always be the chipper Nanny with the brolly and the carpet-bag; or halfway up that mountain with a song on her lips. To some she is just too squeaky-clean to be true. Perhaps she was born out of her time, perhaps she represents a kind of bitter-sweet nostalgia for us all, something classy, something constant, something intrinsically English. That pristine voice with its unfashionably clear enunciation and open, well-lubricated vowels somehow belongs to another era: Noel and Gertie, cocktails and laughter, blithe spirits. So is that it, the secret of her success, the key to her durability? Star quality is elusive.
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