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Early years in Liverpool gave him the perfect voice for John Lennon in the animated ‘Yellow Submarine’ film

Volcano, Vaudeville Theatre, London

The eponymous volcano rumbles ominously in the distance and the skies darken. It’s the Pathetic Fallacy in full throttle as extramarital desire correspondingly seethes and churns amongst the cocktail-swiggers gathered on the verandah of Adela, a widowed forty-something plantation owner.

Lee Dickson prepares yesterday for England’s final Six Nations match against Ireland today

Lee Dickson: 'The entire squad hopes that Stuart gets the job full-time'

Outspoken scrum-half Lee Dickson tells Chris Hewett why Lancaster is the right man and why he always believed he could make it with England – even when others did not

The Importance of Being Earnest, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith

Has Gyles Brandreth – witty man of many parts though he is – met his Waterloo (“the line is immaterial”) with this attempt to portray Lady Bracknell in a new musical version of The Importance of Being Earnest? Well, not quite.

Tim Key: Masterslut, Pleasance Dome

Bard of the bath is making a big splash

Invisible Ink: No 86 - Clifford Mills

Once upon a time, this book was considered ideal for every child's bedroom.

Invisible Ink: No 84 - Michael Arlen

'For King and cocktails!" cries Marley, the aristocrat whose futile life is dissected in the novel Piracy.

Cyril Ornadel: Conductor and composer best known for 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium'

In the 1950s, as conductor of ITV's immensely popular Sunday Night at the London Palladium, Cyril Ornadel possessed the most famous back of the head on British television. He was also musical director on the West End productions of some of the greatest of all musicals, twice won a Novello Award for his own compositions and was awarded the prestigious Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters and Authors for services to British music. His song "Portrait of My Love" is a standard as is "If I Ruled the World" from his musical Pickwick, which had the distinction of being, for a time, the longest-running British musical on Broadway.

Blithe Spirit, Apollo Shaftesbury, London<br/>The Tempest, Playhouse, Oxford<br/>Mogadishu, Lyric Hammersmith, London

No&#235;l Coward's celebrated repartee is elusive in this drawing-room tosh. But Shakespeare conjures up real magic

The Cherry Orchard, No&#235;l Coward Theatre, London

The best Chekhov productions that I've ever witnessed have, not unnaturally, been performed by Russian actors – Lev Dodin's matchless troupe at the Maly Theatre, St Petersburg and the Russian outfit directed by our own semi-expatriated Declan Donnellan. So I'm sorry to report that I was disappointed by the two Chekhov stagings that Moscow's Sovremennik Company brought to its now-completed residency at the Noël Coward Theatre, especially after the ensemble's masterly evocation of life in a Soviet prison camp in Into the Whirlwind.

Three Sisters, No&#235;l Coward Theatre, London

Galina Volchek's striking account of Three Sisters – the second production in the short nine-day residency in London by Moscow's renowned Sovremennik Theatre – begins with a determined departure from tradition. The titular trio are discovered standing at the crest of a large curved wooden bridge, their white scarves buffeted by an icy wind, in a tableau that offers an eerie premonition of that icon of stoic endurance which these siblings constitute at the end of Chekhov's masterpiece. Then the atmosphere suddenly switches to febrile gaiety. The circular revolve goes into overdrive; lights flicker as though in an electrical storm; and the Prozorov's drawing room whirls round with a wild abandon in preparation for the tensions of Irina's name day and the hectic lassitude (so to speak) of the play.

Into the Whirlwind, No&#235;l Coward Theatre, London

Expats flock for enduring home truths

Poisoned Pens: Literary Invective from Amis to Zola, ed Gary Dexter

From Aristophanes, who attacked Euripedes in his play The Frogs (Euripedes was safely dead by that point), to the critic Harold Bloom, who recently consigned Harry Potter to the "vast concourse of works that cram the dustbins of the ages", Gary Dexter's book compiles pithy put-downs and waspish jibes from writers.

Deathtrap, Noël Coward Theatre, London

I like to think that I would walk through fire to watch Simon Russell Beale recite the Argos catalogue. All the same, I did wonder how desperate I was to see him in this revival of Ira Levin's 1978 mega-hit, Deathtrap. But even if you're the kind of person for whom the term "comedy thriller" normally has all the appeal of, say, "morris dancing" or "make-over programme", you'll still find much to enjoy in Matthew Warchus's well-judged, witty production, which expertly balances the teasing tension and the arch, tongue-in-cheek humour.

How We Met: Dafydd Rogers & David Pugh

'We say that the ampersand is the only thing that comes between us'

Halfway to Hollywood: Diaries 1980-88, By Michael Palin

These diaries confirm Palin's TV image as intelligent and self-deprecatory, but can he be so modest if he's willing to publish diaries from 30 years ago? His entries from this distant era tend to bland geniality with spots of interest.

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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project