Facing up to the past

Kate Beckinsale talks to Janie Lawrence

THEATRE: Widows; Badfinger Oxford Playhouse; Donmar Warehouse

It all began with his hallucination of an old woman by a river, holding the hand of a body just washed up on the bank. The Chilean author Ariel Dorfman has explored that image in a poem, then in a novel, and now - after many rewrites, workshops, a collaboration with Tony Kushner and yet further revisions - it achieves its final dramatic form in Widows, powerfully staged by Ian Brown in the touring Traverse Theatre production.

Pinter's coming home

THEATRE

Make-believe with malice

In Roger Michell's revival of Harold Pinter's `The Homecoming', the audience sees through the play as well as the set.

Not quite airborne

THEATRE; The Seagull Bath Theatre Royal

THEATRE / Virtual reality: Paul Taylor on electronic circuits and electric performances in Ninagawa's production of Peer Gynt at the Barbican; plus Thomas Otway revived in Manchester

Captivating large audiences seems to come as naturally as breathing to Michael Sheen - which is just as well because in Ninagawa's vast, multi-national Peer Gynt, now at the Barbican, the mop-haired 25-year-old Welsh actor has to hold the stage for more than four hours, taking Ibsen's incorrigible fantasist and liar from impetuous youth to the dark disillusions of old age.

THEATRE / A Peer with no equals: The plan was to stage Ibsen's Peer Gynt on home soil in Olympic year. Enter the Japanese master Ninagawa. Teaterflopp] jeered a Norwegian critic. By Paul Taylor

For the first night speeches and celebrations, Ellen Horn, the artistic director of Norway's National Theatre, had arrayed herself in traditional Norwegian costume, the effect being roughly equivalent to Richard Eyre welcoming a visiting foreign company done up as a Beefeater.

THEATRE / Blind men's bluff: Paul Taylor reviews Cheek by Jowl's double bill

The celebrated Cheek by Jowl opens its London season at the Donmar Warehouse with a 20-minute curtain-raiser that involves three Flemish blind men, on the march (as they think) to Rome for a cure, who refuse to believe the news that they are in fact walking round and round in circles and end up sinking to their deaths in a bog. It's hard to extract anything much but a brisk dose of the obvious from Michel de Ghelderode's dour, droll playlet. Its central image is inspired by Breughel's famous painting The Parable of the Blind; its dramatic effect is like Beckett minus the genius.

THEATRE / Barker's up for assault again: The Europeans - Greenwich; Blood Wedding - Lyric Hammersmith; Don't Fool With Love - Queen's Hall Arts Centre

TOWARDS the end of Howard Barker's The Europeans, a play set in Vienna after the siege of 1683, the Habsburg General Starhemberg gives one of his officers a message to deliver behind the Turkish lines. The officer hesitates; he has four children. Don't plead for them, Starhemberg (Nicholas le Prevost) tells him; plead for yourself, 'Make me adore you,' and adopts the pose of a trusting child while the other embarks on an embarrassed rigmarole that finally trails away with the acknowledgement that it is time he went off to see the Turks.

TELEVISION / The ready-mix detective: James Rampton reviews the best of the weekend's programmes

The following extract is taken from the Questionnaire for Would-Be Television Detectives:
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