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Just to make you feel old, 2014 is the 25th anniversary of Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s classic children’s book, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. “Swishy Swashy! Squelch Squelch! Hooo wooo!” and all the rest. The book has sold more than 8 million copies in 18 languages, but initially Rosen didn’t think that it would work: “The story seems to have originally been a folk song,” he says. “David Lloyd at Walker Books saw me perform it and asked me to write it down. So I added to the story and, 18 months later, I was stunned to see the beautiful pictures that Helen had created – the family adventure is from Helen’s imagination and I enjoy and admire the book almost as an outsider – but back then I couldn’t quite figure out how it would work as a book!” To celebrate, Walker will publish an anniversary edition in January and an interactive sound book in the summer, and in February the Royal Festival Hall in London will host a “promenade performance”, where children will be invited to dress up and take home a pair of bear ears. Oxenbury recalls illustrating the book: “Michael and I never met until after the book was finished, but what was wonderful about it was there was nothing described in a way that restricted me. I modelled the children and the dog on my own. The bear’s posture I modelled on a friend who had depression, with his dropped shoulders – I felt the bear was probably lonely and wanted company rather than eat the children!” So now we know. We’re not scared!

Theatre in 2009: Entrances, exits, and Judi disguised as a Walnut Whip

Weisz was a wow, Mortimer bowed out – and Ian Hart made a dramatic gesture offstage too

Heading off trouble: Are helmets on the slopes a wise precaution or unnecessary caution?

The 2009/10 season will be a watershed in the use of crash helmets by recreational skiers. Two decades ago it was unusual to see anyone but a racer wearing a helmet; now, figures from the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) suggest that in the US most recreational skiers will be doing so this season. Its survey last season found 48 per cent of skiers and boarders were wearing helmets, up by 5 per cent in a year. How can one be so sure of a further increase in helmet usage next season? Because of the death in March of the actress Natasha Richardson after a fall on the slopes of Tremblant, in the Canadian province of Quebec.

Henry (age 51) wins award for best newcomer

'Streetcar' star Rachel Weisz wins first Natasha Richardson memorial award

Album: Editors, In This Light and on This Evening (Columbia)

For their third album, Editors have made a significant step away from the indie-goth stylings which prompted previous releases to be compared to Joy Division.

'A-Team' plan comes together for Neeson

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire... Liam Neeson.

Lulu, Royal Opera House, London<br>One Evening, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London<br>Mitridate, Sadler's Wells, London

Alban Berg's 'Lulu' was never a date opera, but a new production makes a bleak story even bleaker. The joy comes in the searing music from the pit

Ambulance calls reveal last hours of Natasha Richardson

The tragic hours when ambulance paramedics battled to help Natasha Richardson following her fatal fall have been revealed.

Dorian Gray, King's Theatre, Edinburgh<br/>Mortal Engine, Playhouse, Edinburgh<br/>Steve Reich Evening, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Matthew Bourne's ballet of Oscar Wilde's novella falls down on too many levels

Dando Murder: `Jill was devoted sister to me'

NIGEL DANDO, Jill's brother, said yesterday that when he saw his sister three weeks ago, she could barely contain her excitement over her September wedding. Mr Dando, chief reporter on the Bristol Evening Post, said their Sunday lunch revolved around her marriage to Alan Farthing. Yesterday both men were inconsolable.

Film Studies: `Too satisfied with its own vision to risk real emotion'

It was probably always in its destiny that Closer, the play that won so many British drama awards for playwright Patrick Marber, would find its way to Broadway. What London show doesn't these days? There are seven British-Irish imports here, or on their way. David Hare has declared New York his own. His Via Dolorosa has been here a week; Amy's View, with Dame Judi Dench, opens next month.

Not so Wilde about the boys

David Hare has miscast 'The Judas Kiss' and misjudged the passions of Oscar Wilde, writes Paul Taylor

Choice: Theatre - The Judas Kiss

The Judas Kiss, Playhouse Theatre, London WC2 (0171-839 4401) 7.30pm

Cabaret Marianne Faithfull: An Evening in the Weimar Republic Almeida, London

The sky outside the Almeida is a luminous backdrop of rococo red and gold, as if something magnificent and ruined smoulders on the horizon, but it can't pacify an audience kept waiting a good half-hour tonight. "Two minutes before she was due on, I saw her go into the bar," someone murmurs, as the punters begin a half-hearted slow hand clap. When Faithfull does appear, it's with a lush, bouncing stagger, only partly due, perhaps, to her towering heels. Girded in principal boy brocades showing a terrifying amount of milky cleavage, she sports the baby-blond hair of her youth (she is 50) and nails tipped with blue varnish, as if she'd caught her fingers in a door. These aren't the only bruises on display. Faithfull flies her past like a skull and crossbones, and those who've not read her full and frank autobiography can still perceive some of it in her mouth, now the fragile smile of an aristocratic ex-convent girl, now the rictus of Mick Jagger's notoriously druggy inamorata, who subsequently survived years of debauchery and sleeping rough. The show she's touring is a tough, anguished streak through Kurt Weill and Bertholt Brecht and, though others have tried to boost their credentials this way, the work fits Faithfull like a glove. Its themes of disillusion and bloody militarism echo both her bitter past and her lineage; father a major in the British Intelligence, mother an Austro-Hungarian Jew active in the Resistance (Bolsheviks and Nazis alike denounced the art of pre-war Weimar as decadent because it was Jewish). Faithfull interprets these squalid, witty laments with a melodrama that shows she's half in love with Berlin, half in love with herself. Her booze-cracked voice blends nuances of Eartha Kitt and Billie Whitelaw with the sensibility of Beckett, and on "Alabama Song" or "Show me the way to the next whisky bar", with Jeffrey Bernard. On excerpts from The Threepenny Opera, she's a buccaneering Pirate Jenny indicting her pimp MacHeath and flying the flag of rebellious tarts everywhere. But the evening's not all Weill. Lighting a cigarette from a silver case, she drags deeply, retches a smoker's cough, then delivers a towering "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", chest heaving like the prow of the Titanic. Faithfull has found her own world and time. On "Falling In Love Again", she is the Blue Angel par excellence, for "Mack the Knife" she revels in brutality. There are times her voice is a buzz-saw drowning Paul Trueblood's syncopated piano, but not many, and no one better annotates triumph over heartbreak and decay. "Jesus Christ!" she hisses, trying to uncork a bottle of Volvic. On her splayed hand, that bluebird of happiness tattoo is fading, but still clear.

THEATRE: Between waking and sleeping

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