Putting to one side for a second that Brand is extremely clever and funny, why do women find this scruffy, skinny, messy-haired effeminate so irresistible?
The star, whose grandfather was a Buddhist, says a quiet life was not for her
The squalor unfolds before us like a wound, the stage stripped back and opened up to the red brick and rusted heating duct bones of the backstage area, the ten-strong ensemble cavorting around the fringes of the action at all times, populating the dive bars and crumbling tenements of 19 century St Petersburg with life and music and threat. At the heart of it all waits destitute former law student Raskolnikov, seemingly without hope or options as he ponders killing his merciless pawnbroker on the other side of the damp-flaked door before him.
From the Fens to Chernobyl, this tour of turf shows the skills of a gifted, if sombre, naturalist
Flawless display of kicking from England legend leads Toulon to maiden Heineken Cup
A magnificent meditation on loss and political exile as a great Haitian writer returns home
Holy media moguls! Has Rupert Murdoch discovered his spiritual side? Will the global maestro of plain dealing, pragmatism and unfettered capitalism reveal a mystical side to his thunderstruck associates?
Verdi or Wagner? Posing the musical question of the year, tenor Jonas Kaufmann answers it by saying that he has vacillated between them, unable to decide whose music he prefers. He finally declares that they are mutually beneficial: "After singing Wagner you have an extra dose of power for the drama in Verdi, and after singing Verdi, it is much easier to sing Wagner, as the composer intended, with Italian legato." It was this latter course that he adopted at the Royal Festival Hall, backed by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Jochen Rieder.
Journey with gritted teeth through hell and cold water
Theatre-goers are used to solicitous, nannying notices about strobe-lighting, nudity and even cigarette-smoking at the entrance to productions.
The lives of the saints and the sinned against
Spoiler alert: this column not only discloses crucial details about the denouement of Ian Rankin's latest novel. It identifies the murderer in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap - now celebrating its 60th birthday on the West End stage. So, if you genuinely care enough, au revoir and hasta la vista.
Eddie Marsan, 43
Tim Burgess’s wild years were the stuff of Britpop legend. Here, the Charlatans’ frontman instructs Nick Duerden in the 10 golden rules of rock’n’roll excess
Darren Fletcher is unlucky – about one in 10,000 people develop ulcerative colitis each year. It is a chronic condition causing inflammation of the bowel with symptoms, typically, of abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea and a frequent need to go to the toilet.
David Lynch is the premier outsider renaissance man of his era, his undoubted artistic facility, whether working in film, television, printmaking or now music, always tempered by the realisation that he'll never achieve – nor would he probably want – mainstream success.