Arts and Entertainment

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

The Giles Smith interview

Jim Dale's career story would make a convincing 'Carry On' film: from comic to pop idol to Broadway star. Now he's a youthful 60 but he's still so ... well, rude

Blockbuster musicals in need of tonic


LETTER: Extravaganza at the Globe

I AM distressed to learn from Robert Butler's article ("Back to the Scene of the Rhyme", Review, 2 July) that in my book Theatres of Memory, I "dismissed" the new Globe Theatre as "a resurrectionary folly". That wasn't my intention. I was using "folly" in an 18th-century sense, to denote an architectural extravaganza. I was moved at the thought - discussed in my book - that the young Sam Wanamaker might have got his inspiration from the magnificent opening sequence of Laurence Olivier's Henry V, which shows the play being performed before Elizabethan groundlings.


The youngest son of Laurence Olivier spent agonising years trying to come to terms with his father's greatness. Now he has; and, he claims, it's made a man of him

The theatrical roles of Lord Vestibule

POWER PLAY: The Life and Times of Peter Hall Stephen Fay Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 20

Wiping the smiles off their faces

The intention behind biographical studies of comedians seems to be to prove that they're actually miserable gits like the rest of us. Whether this is the product of some fear of envy or a conspiracy to prove the theory that all great comedy is steeped in tragedy is hard to tell, but if I had a quid for every time I've heard a comedian say that they'd learnt to be funny to overcome bullying at school, I'd probably have enough for a packet of cigarettes by now.

A victory for the thin-skinned

The Panorama squabble promotes a mentality that ignores a need for more quality political debate

How the son of Larry chose his own direction

Theatre/ the Oliviers

BOOKS: Tragedy of an Elizabethan psycho

The Arden Shakespeares, with their drippy-hippy covers, spurred generations of students to tutorial one-upmanship, furnished actors with tantalising variants on well-worn speeches and turned directors into enthusiastic texual scholars. Now the series is being relaunched with a third edition, beginning with Titus Andronicus, edited by Jonathan Bate, King Henry V (T W Craik) and Antony and Cleopatra (John Wilders). Making definitive texts for the Shakespeare canon may seem the bibliographical equivalent of painting the Forth Bridge; the second edition took 20 years to finish, but the third will be complete by the end of the century.

Double Play / A good enough Feast: THE WALTON EDITION Yehudi Menuhin, Laurence Olivier, Philharmonia Orchestra, etc / Sir William Walton (EMI CHS 5 65003 2; four CDs)

EMI's Elgar Edition convinced many what a lucky few knew already: that Elgar was a uniquely eloquent, powerful and perceptive interpreter of his own music. Can EMI do the same for Walton? My feelings are more mixed this time. There are compelling things here, no question - the First Symphony, the two big ceremonial overtures, Portsmouth Point, the Partita for Orchestra - and there's a Belshazzar's Feast which, if it doesn't blaze as ferociously as some in the brutally exultant final hymn, wrings more pathos from the lamenting sections ('If I forget thee', 'The trumpeters and pipers are silent') than any other version I know.

MUSIC / Romantic jamboree in duff start

THE SOUTH Bank is celebrating German Romanticism - Deutsche Romantik as the posters have it - with a concert series that began on Thursday, runs to mid-November, and raises more questions than it is likely to answer. Starting with the South Bank's idea of who counts as Romantic.

Anthony Hopkins dreams on: Nominated again for an Oscar this week, for his butler in 'The Remains of the Day', he has the world at his feet. But it has been a long, strange climb. Elizabeth Kaye reports

He was not the first to discover in movies a refuge that otherwise eluded him. He was 15 when he first saw Charlie Chaplin's Limelight. He saw it 15 times, perceiving himself in Chaplin's loneliness and failure, and perceiving, in the Dresden perfection of Claire Bloom, an ideal and a mirage. I must become famous, he thought, so I can meet Claire Bloom.

BOOK REVIEW / Confessions of a wilful Pusscat: 'A Right Royal Bastard' - Sarah Miles: Macmillan, 16.99

LIKE her grandfather, the son of Queen Mary's wayward brother, Sarah Miles is illegitimate. As she tells us, she was also given to behaviour that would have had a less self-conscious mother constantly screaming, 'You little . . .]' A combination of Grace Kelly and Vivien Leigh, Mrs Miles was a blonde goddess ('Some women, like Mummy, don't have to do a damn thing except keep crossing their long daffodil stalks and the whole world drools'), but her looks never won compliance from Pusscat, as Sarah was called. (She had a sister, Pooker, and brothers, Chuzzer and Jukes.) At what is wrongly called a tender age, Pusscat pushed Chuzzer into the millpond, yelling 'Drown]'.

THEATRE / I, an actress: Paul Taylor learns to laugh and cry at Annie Griffin's masterclass

Even the greatest actors need tips on acting. Take this wise and well-meant letter from Joan Plowright to her husband, Laurence Olivier, about his legendary Othello: 'I remember you saying about Brenda de B. that she 'tries to cry' on stage, whereas in real life one tries to stop crying. I think maybe you are trying to believe Cassio's kisses have been on her lips, instead of trying to stop yourself believing.'

FILM / The return of Scarlett fever: When Robert Selznick cast Gone with the Wind in 1939, he orchestrated a hurricane of hype. It's happened again, as Phil Reeves reports

The Hungarian-born impresario Robert Halmi, producer of the forthcoming television sequel to Gone with the Wind, always said that when the right actress walked into the room he would know 'instantly and instinctively that she is my Scarlett O'Hara'.
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