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:
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

News
people

Far-right organisation has defended its actions on Facebook

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

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Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker