Arts and Entertainment

A definitive compendium on the revered institution that is the National Theatre

BOOK REVIEW / Dexter, not sinister: 'The Honourable Beast: A Posthumous Autobiography' - John Dexter: Nick Hern Books, 25 pounds

THE LAST TIME I saw John Dexter was at Colin Blakely's memorial service in Covent Garden. Eyes blazing and jaw tightly set, he homed in on me in the doorway of the church.

How We Met: Harriet Walter and Patsy Rodenburg

Patsy Rodenburg trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, spent nine years at the RSC, and has been Head of Voice at the National Theatre and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama since October 1990. She has written two books on voice and speech. Harriet Walter trained at LAMDA, is a member of the RSC, and won a the 1988 Laurence Olivier Award in 1988. She has recently accepted a position as an artistic director at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and is currently appearing as Lady Croom in Tom Stoppard's 'Arcadia' at the National Theatre.

Snooker: Taylor cut out to be the marathon man: Griffiths ground down in Crucible

ON the basis that if you do something long enough you will eventually become good at it, the Dennis Taylor versus Terry Griffiths match in the Embassy World Championship took on a grisly fascination. No one had anticipated a quick contest when they were paired together in the second round; few had expected it would drag on to nearly 2am yesterday.

Cashing in on the Golden Age of Filth

'YOU KNOW about her, don't you?'

Celebrity chest burster to kill for

IN THESE times of moral panic and negative equity, I like to roam the streets in search of a grotesque chest burster. At noon on Thursday I tracked one down in Chelsea, at Bonhams the auctioneers. The burster, lot 174, was the thing that sprang from John Hurt's stomach in Alien and went on to wreak madness through two sequels. It was being offered without arms, at an estimate of pounds 150- pounds 250. Naturally, I was interested.

Jim White on Friday: A man with 300 magnificent obsessions: When lucky MGs get very old, they do not go to heaven; they go to Peter Ratcliffe's workshop, an altogether better place

DR PETER RATCLIFFE picked up an ancient wooden car dash- board, pock-marked with worm holes, and surveyed it lovingly. 'This is history in your hands,' he said. 'Just think, it was fashioned by somebody listening on the radio to news about Hitler invading Czechoslovakia.

QUIZ / There are more questions than answers: Nick Lezard watches members of the RSC take on the National in their annual contest of theatrical knowledge

On the set of Carousel at the National's Lyttelton Theatre, two teams of actors are preparing to fight over a crutch. Not just any old crutch, mind. This is Antony Sher's black crutch from his production of Richard III - a big draw in contemporary theatrical iconography, the ultimate prop-up prop.

BOOK REVIEWS / Paperbacks, Non-fiction

Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession by Greil Marcus, Penguin pounds 9.99. Since Elvis's death at the age of 42, Presleymania has taken on all the trappings of a religion. Following the King- cult through the American psyche, Marcus's book is a gallery of bizarre posthumous phenomena, images, sightings - and, above all, merchandising.

Lord Olivier of Paddington: By day it's a west London coffee shop; by night it's tablecloths off for Iranian fringe theatre, courtesy of Iraj Emami, cafe owner, producer, actor extraordinaire

IT IS NOT what you expect of a coffee shop in Paddington, west London. By day, the La Strada looks much like any other cafe; a couple of students spending an hour over a shared espresso, a man in a pinstripe suit loudly conducting business over a portable phone. But for the last three weeks, if you had dropped in during the evening, you would have thought you had been teleported to downtown Tehran.

BOOK REVIEW / What Larry was like as a dad: My father Laurence Olivier - Tarquin Olivier: Headline, pounds 16.99

THIS is a curiosity: a Life by a son who barely saw his father but who adored him from afar and treasured every scrap of conversation, every fragment of correspondence. The prevailing note is almost unbearable pathos.

Obituary: Reginald Beck

Reginald Beck, film editor, born St Petersburg Russia 1902, died 12 July 1992.

Garrick chaps stand by to repel women: Zoe Heller infiltrates a bastion of male exclusiveness in its most divided hour

'FEELINGS are running very high about this. I heard a chap in the corridor the other day, shouting at the top of his voice about it. 'It's an outrage,' he was saying. 'The club will be ruined. It has to be stopped.' I . . .'
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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions