Michael Gambon

'Blackly comic' Rowling book far from Harry

JK Rowling was not joking when she said her next book would be "very different" to the magical world of Harry Potter. Yesterday it emerged her first novel aimed at adults would follow parish council elections in an English market town. The celebrated British author's first book in five years will be called The Casual Vacancy, and will be a "blackly comic" tale of an idyllic English town at war itself, the publishers revealed.

Krapp's Last Tape, Duchess Theatre, London

It's a year since Michael Gambon was obliged to abandon rehearsals for Alan Bennett's Habit of Art because of a health scare. What a pleasure, therefore, to be able to welcome the fully restored actor back to the London stage now in Michael Colgan's powerful production of Krapp's Last Tape, which has transferred from Dublin's Gate Theatre. One wonders whether there's an element of witty defiance in Gambon's decision to give us a portrayal of the great Beckett protagonist that so pointedly highlights the fact that he's not long for this world. There's certainly no danger of any further tapes from the chronically dilapidated, terminally enfeebled figure he cuts here.