A different way of seeing

Don't look now - Nic Roeg is making films again. But why, wonders Nick Hasted

Brecht is there for the taking

So Brecht is left to David Hare, below

theatre Volpone, National Theatre, London

Paul Taylor is not persuaded by Matthew Warchus's flashy first production for the Olivier, but is captivated by some fine acting


Long verbal confrontations between a young woman and an older man provide the basis for two of the finest displays of acting now to be seen in London. In James Saunders's Retreat at the Orange Tree, Richmond, Tim Pigott-Smith (right) and Victoria Hamilton probe one another's parallel histories with a remarkable intensity as a man who needs to keep the past a closed book and as the girl who thinks it might redeem them both to reopen it. Playing a pair of ex-lovers in David Hare's Skylight at the National Theatre's Cottesloe, Michael Gambon and Lia Williams expertly flesh out all the ambiguities in this painful look at the difference between loving people in general and one person in particular.

critic's choice THEATRE

She Loves Me

Splendour in a Hare shirt; THEATRE

Skylight National Theatre, London

THEATRE : Chronicle of a death foretold

A View from the Bridge Bristol Old Vic

Video: This week's releases

The Singing Detective (15, two tapes). A quintessential Dennis Potter brew: fantasy and reality, Hollywood pulp and 1940s songs, and acute insights into the bitter psychology of disease. Michael Gambon is the failed writer stricken, like his creator, with psoriasis. It was one of Potter's dying wishes that the series should come out on video.

SHOW PEOPLE / Dead good, in a quiet way: John Hannah

EVERYONE LOVED Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Hehas since flopped his fringe on to the world's magazine covers, and flown off into the jet set. Everyone loved John Hannah in Four Weddings and a Funeral. He gave one interview, to an Australian gay magazine, and used the money he earned to buy a secondhand car and a set of golf clubs.

TELEVISION / Carlton wins the booby prize

IN Hollywood Women (ITV), Kim the erotic actress was resigned to surgical implants. Kim's cups runneth over - no longer a cause for unfettered joy, apparently: 'I have large breasts but they're real, so they move when I walk. I don't get parts because they want these things that just don't move.' Leaving nothing to chance, Carlton took the precaution of injecting silicon into every square inch of A Woman's Guide to Adultery. The result was a booby of vast proportions: it wasn't real, and it sure as hell didn't move.

The best Lear I've seen

ADRIAN NOBLE, RSC Artistic Director: The two that stick out are both on film: Yuri Yarvet in the Kozintsev film (1970), and Paul Scofield in Peter Brook's (1970). In fact I don't think what Peter and Paul carved out was Shakespeare's Lear. Quite deliberately, theirs was a man of stone, of granite ego, of overbearing vanity. I'll never forget what Michael Gambon did (1985), but he never believed himself a great Lear. I wanted Robert Stephens to do it because of his range. He has lyrical beauty; he has the simplicity of a child; he is the greatest actor of failure. There is the possibility of the whole human journey.

ARTS / Testosterone rapper on a roll: Show People 76. LL Cool J

TWENTY-FIVE is rather young to be an elder statesman, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for LL Cool J. Few rap artists get to make five albums. And few if any of those are as good as LL's 14 Shots to the Dome. The last shot, 'Crossroads', an epic apocalyptic vision with full orchestra, is the killer blow, but at least three others are right up with his best. 'Funkadelic Relic' is an engagingly honest assessment of his career so far, 'All we got Left is the Beat' is an astute analysis of rap's place in society, and 'Pink Cookies in a Plastic Bag, Getting Crushed by Buildings' is every rapper's dream - an imaginative sex metaphor.
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