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Arts and Entertainment

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

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THEATRE: The Entertainer; Hampstead, London

Buoyed up by the success of Look Back in Anger, the first of his plays to be produced, John Osborne widened his canvas considerably with his next offering. The Entertainer, a state-of-the-nation play viewed through the prism of a down-at-heel vaudevillian, induced nervousness at the Royal Court in 1957, but they needn't have worried. Laurence Olivier's central performance as Archie Rice was cracking in every sense of the word and the play was a monster hit.

A welcome return for Marathon Man

In the way of things, the number of anniversaries will grow year on year; but that can't account for the fearful number of them happening at the BBC just now - Choral Evensong is 70, Woman's Hour was 50 a couple of weeks ago (and I completely forgot to wish it a happy birthday - isn't that just like a man?), and Radio 3 is 50 too. As a rule, it's probably a good idea to ignore these factitious landmarks. But here's one we can't ignore, sitting like a big rock in the road: Radio 3's 50th anniversary production of Man and Superman (Sunday), the first play broadcast on the Third Programme, all four and a half hours of it. We can't go over it, we can't go around it, so we might as well get out and take a good look at it.

My nights with Ralph Richardson; RADIO

Dorothy Tutin was 15 when she heard Ralph Richardson play Peer Gynt. She was enjoying that most secret and private pleasure, listening to the radio at night under the bedclothes. She has never forgotten it: "I can see it now," she says, "He conveyed everything with his voice. Such a voice ..." On Ralph Richardson: Dreamer of Dreams, a particularly good edition of the consistently excellent Radio 2 Arts Programme, we heard that voice in many moods - wheedling, joking, proclaiming, bewailing, chatting and, sometimes, dreaming. Those actors who foolishly attempted to mimic it fell flat as tap water: it was intoxicating, inimitable.

A last look back (in awe, not anger)

Toasts to the Royal Court of the past and to the Royal Court of the future were drunk last Saturday night at a party where the English Stage Company bade a temporary farewell to its Sloane Square theatre which is now to undergo a two-year Lottery-funded refurbishment. Everyone who had worked at the Court had been invited. In a moving and wry speech, Jocelyn Herbert - the great designer and oldest surviving link with the company's celebrated Fifties origins - revealed that the young people in the office had even sent out invitations to George Devine, the English Stage Company's legendary founder (d 1966), and the man with whom he launched the enterprise, Tony Richardson (d 1991).

SCREENWATCH

Film stars will see their make-up artists in a different light following the opening of a new exhibition in November. Tom Smith began his caricatures of Jack Nicholson (pictured below), Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Bing Crosby and Laurence Olivier to while away gaps between takes, but his sketches have become a collection of the cream of Hollywood. Smith has worked for most of the major US studios, starting on David Lean's 1948 film, Oliver Twist. In 1992, he won a BAFTA special award for his work as a make-up artist; now he is using a more conventional medium, with an exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image, South Bank, London, from 1 November.

Fringe / SNAG

The title means "Sensitive New Age Guy", and that is the real snag to this one-man show about Lloyd, a hardbitten advertising executive who joins a "men's liberation group" after finding his wife in bed with his twin sister. Remember men's liberation? We were all meant to sit around with Laurence Olivier's son, Richard, eating berries and howling. It was part of the caring-sharing Nineties that never were. In 1996, it's hard not to feel that it's a paper tiger. Not that Tobsha Learner's script doesn't have large doses of charm, especially as performed by New Zealander Mark Hadlow. Hadlow illuminates Lloyd's unsteady progress to sensitivity with flashes of sadness among the laughs, and he's so confident of his material (having performed SNAG over 200 times Down Under) that he breaks off to banter with the audience without ever losing the thrust of the narrative. The effect is warm and winsome. Just don't expect to have your consciousness raised.

Those aren't actors, they're ninepins

THEATRE

Television: On the box

Television's love affair with costume drama continues with the announcement that Carlton is undertaking a new pounds 4m production of Daphne du Maurier's romantic novel, Rebecca, currently shooting in England and the south of France. In this four-hour adaptation by Arthur Hopcraft (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), the ever-smooth Charles Dance (was he born in a white linen suit?) plays Maxim De Winter, with Diana Rigg as his housekeeper Mrs Danvers and Emilia Fox as the second Mrs De Winter. The real ace in the hole for the producers, however, is Oscar-winning American star Faye Dunaway (right) as the well-to-do New Yorker, Mrs Van Hopper. Whoever's in it, though, it will do well to match Hitchcock's classic 1940 version starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.

Marilyn Monroe: me, myself and I

Seventy years to the day that Norma Jean was born, we continue to puzzle over her true identity. But like the controversy over her death, our not knowing is the source of her eternal appeal.

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