News

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

Back on stage, the forgotten Rattigan

His reputation languished after the arrival of the Angry Young Men in the 1950s. But the National Theatre's production of 'After The Dance' promises to right a theatrical wrong, says Paul Taylor

Bedroom Farce, Duke of York's Theatre, London

As this comedy shows, Alan Ayckbourn realised in 1977 that the legacy of the Seventies was not just sex but solipsism.

Party Of The Week: Actresses take the lead for the Almeida

The actresses Kim Cattrall, Fiona Shaw and Natascha McElhone attended the Almeida's fundraising gala, which this year raised £115,000 for the theatre.

Private Lives, Vaudeville, London<br/>A Day at the Racists, Finborough, London <br/>Moonfleece, Rich Mix, Shoreditch, London

A starrily-cast Noel Coward farce fails to strike the right balance between gaiety and bad behaviour

Book Of A Lifetime: A Moment's Liberty, By Virginia Woolf

For half a century I have been hooked on diaries – my own and other people's. I began to keep a journal in 1959. I wrote my first entry on my first night at boarding school, by torchlight, underneath the blankets. My inspiration was the diary of Samuel Pepys. I had been given a copy, "suitably edited", for my 11th birthday.

Sonny Rollins, Barbican Hall, London

He blew like the legend he is &ndash; so why am I blubbing?

Opening Doors And Windows, By James Roose-Evans

The theatre world is littered with self-styled gurus and shamans, but it is rare to find a director who is also an Anglican priest. In this charming and insightful memoir, 82-year-old James Roose-Evans takes us on a spiritual and creative journey from his literally tortured adolescence (he was prone to self-flagellation) to the twin heights of ordination in Hereford cathedral and Broadway success.

Pains of Youth, National Theatre, London

Camus thought that, in philosophy, suicide is "the only problem". It may not be the sole preoccupation of the six bored, sexually entangled medical students in the 1920s Vienna of Ferdinand Bruckner's brilliantly odd 1923 play Pains of Youth. But it is seen as one of only two alternatives open to the young in a post-First World War Austria of widespread social disillusion and personal instability. The play receives a very rare revival now in a Cottesloe production by Katie Mitchell that will, I suspect, divide critics in the manner that is traditional with this controversial director's work. I thought the play blackly exhilarating in its ruthless (often mordantly amusing) anatomy of anomie. I thought the strategic take-it-or-leave-it stealth production (as usual with Mitchell, one might have chanced upon a tribe that is so mesmerically intent on its own practices that it has not noticed the "concealed" observer) arrestingly pivoted at that point where the different leylines of painful tragicomedy exruciatingly cross.

Timing, King's Head, London

The funny side of heartbreak

Terence Blacker: Is Britain really so unhappy?

Now we're only five places above South Korea in the contentment charts

Troy Kennedy Martin: Innovative writer who created 'Z Cars' and wrote 'Edge of Darkness' and 'The Italian Job'

When Troy Kennedy Martin created Z Cars in 1962, he brought to British television screens for the first time an image of the police very different from the homely one depicted in Dixon of Dock Green. The result was a warts-and-all portrayal in which the guardians of the law were seen as not infallible – and no angels.

Adrian Hamilton: Why do we feel we must turn Chekhov into Noel Coward?

There's a problem in 'versions' rather than translations of foreign plays

Private funeral for Danny La Rue

The funeral of female impersonator Danny La Rue, described as a "true showbusiness legend", has taken place.

Cultural Life: Sian Phillips, actress

'I've just seen four plays in London in three-and-a-half days'

Death and the King's, Horseman, National Theatre, London

Fear not, there are no more war horses invading the National Theatre. Instead, the horseman of the dead king on the outskirts of a Nigerian city in the twilight of British colonialism, in the shadow of a distant war, is preparing to follow his Yoruba leader to the grave in an act of tribal ritualism.

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