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

5 days in the life of ... Alex Jennings

The RSC actor juggles the roles of Benedick, Hamlet - and Dad

Dance Theatre Reviews: Tales of love and loathing

Dance Theatre: Human Being Arts Theatre

Classical music: So, what's the story so far?

Music on Radio 3

Theatre Review: A beautifully wrapped present of laughter

That Present Laughter has no real ending and that its plot dances on the spot may be Noel Coward's demonstration of the burden of Shakespeare's song: "Present mirth hath present laughter / What's to come is still unsure". On the other hand it might be a reminder that the day cannot be seized forever, that, as the ineffably vain celebrity actor Garry Essendine (42) is beginning to see, "Youth's a stuff will not endure".

Comrades (!), some pointers to a successful career

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold

Letter: Stritch magic

Sir: In his engrossing interview with the fabulous Elaine Stritch (22 November), David Benedict states that Noel Coward wrote Sail Away for her.

Interview: By George!

Why sex, Surrealism and Bessie Smith still work for George Melly. By John Walsh

It ain't over till the fat lady signs

Dame Joan Sutherland, the Sydney-born soprano whom the Italians once called 'La Stupenda', is back in Britain, reminiscing and signing copies of her new autobiography. Nick Kimberley went along to hear her in the flesh

Karen Krizanovich column

It's Saturday. Time to think about how you would like to spend the rest of your working life. For instance, wouldn't it be nice to have a cushy job? Somebody like you should be doing something more glamorous, more fun and, needless to add, something that actually pays the kind of money you're worth. Am I right? Aren't there times when you feel you get treated like a Roman soldier? I mean, those poor guys got paid in salt. Imagine the water retention at the weekends, bingeing on your wages until your sandals didn't fit.

TO BOLDLY GO

Madeira is a potential holiday destination that is often greeted by mirth and cries of 'my granny went there'. But away from the ever expanding tourist zone is a rocky, rugged volcanic island, with a temperate climate, rare plants, a luscious interior, and a certain charm that makes you want to go back and where the fish tastes divine

THEATRE The Cherry Orchard Birmingham Rep

They're late. Returning from Paris, the family's connecting flight from Johannesburg was delayed. Both the location and the mode of transportation will come as a shock to anyone expecting another standard production of Chekhov's masterpiece, but the last thing Janet Suzman's inspired production gives you is the standard line.

Arts: An innocent abroad

The new staging of Puccini's 'Manon Lescaut' at Glyndebourne is a lucid and exuberant affair. By Edward Seckerson

Books: Heartache revisited

DON'T ASK ME WHY by Tania Kindersley, Sceptre pounds 10

Obituary: Cecil Wilson

Cecil Wilson's dramatic and film criticism reflected the man: quiet, courteous, pointed but not stinging, sane not vain, reluctant to be taken in by the latest trend from Hollywood, Sweden or France and rarely caught going out on a critical limb; but a critic to trust.

Mao and Deng are dead, long live shopping

"He who does not get rich is a dumb bear," proclaimed Deng Xiaoping. I'm thinking of having it engraved on the waving Deng watch I bought in Hong Kong recently. My watch - the little Deng smiling up at me, his clock- work arm moving up and down - is a lot more emblematic than all those wailing apparatchiks at his funeral. Sometimes I think all Communism left behind was the misery, the corruption and the kitsch - Gorby toilet paper, busts of Lenin, Che berets, Mao on watches and on walls. "He who does not get rich is a dumb bear." They should have put the slogan on a tombstone for Deng instead of crumbling him up like an old potato chip or a stale fortune cookie.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?