Arts and Entertainment
 

No shortage of thought and effort has gone into making this updated working of the Arthurian legend more than just a hot afternoon or evening at the theatre.

The Greek Passion, Royal Opera House, London

Heaven and earth show

Murderous desire to dance the salsa

Nichola McAuliffe is thrilled to be putting on the razzle-dazzle in a dramatic blend of salsa and song

Theatre: How to reduce grown men to tears

Kathryn Hunter has played King Lear. So the 11-year-old lead in Spoonface Steinberg should be a piece of cake. By Dominic Cavendish

You Ask The Questions: (Such as: Ned Sherrin, legendary raconteur, are any of your anecdotes actually true?)

NED SHERRIN, 68, was born in Low Ham, Somerset. He trained as a lawyer at Oxford University, where he became involved with the theatre. He began his career producing for ATV in Birmingham and has since worked in film production and has acted for TV and the stage. He received an Olivier Award for directing The Ratepayer's Iolanthe. He presents Loose Ends on Saturdays on Radio 4 and is director of the musical comedy A Saint She Ain't, opening on 22 September at the Apollo Theatre, London.

Critics' choice: Goodness gracious me - they're on the road

Before Goodness Gracious Me was a huge hit on Radio 4 and BBC2, Asian comedy was widely perceived as a contradiction in terms. "People used to think Asians weren't funny," sighs Anil Gupta, the producer of the acclaimed Asian sketch show and director of the spin-off stage production which makes its debut this week. "They'd say, 'black people can be funny - look at Lenny Henry - but where are the Asian comedians?' I remember sitting in one meeting at the BBC and someone said, 'we never see Chinese comedians - maybe they're not funny'. I thought, 'what? You've just written off a nation of a billion people'." Of course, Goodness Gracious Me - performed by Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhasker, Kulvinder Ghir and Nina Wadia (above) - has helped explode these stereotypes. It successfully mocks both white British (with such memorable sketches as the drunken Indian yobs "going for an English" after a booze-up and insulting the waiters) and the Asians (in characters such as the Kapoors, the wannabe middle-class family who are determined to be more English than the English and demand that their name by pronounced "Cooper"). These kind of figures should flourish in the live arena. But why has it taken so long for this rich vein of humour to be tapped? "My pet theory is that it's the second generation coming of age," says Gupta. "Our parents' generation came over in the 1960s, and the immigrant mentality was to keep their heads down and work hard. The second generation are luckier; we are integrated, we have been born here. Our generation feel more confident of our identity. I don't have a problem with my duality, and I don't want to be an accountant. Writing jokes wasn't an option before - although now all we do is write jokes about accountants, so perhaps we haven't escaped yet." (Goodness Gracious Me UK Tour: Leicester De Montfort Hall (0116 233 3111), Fri and Sat; York Barbican (01904 656688), Sun 21 Feb; and touring to 19 Mar. Information hotline: 0891 455 484.) JAMES RAMPTON

theatre: the street of crocodiles

One of the many remarkable visual strokes in theatre de complicite's The Street of Crocodiles (right) involves a man walking down a wall, a stunt which gives the audience the weird impression that they have an overhead view of the man walking along a pavement. This bifocal image neatly encapsulates the critical response to the show, which interweaves the life and surreal work of the Polish-Jewish writer, Bruno Schulz. Most loved the fluid, dream-like presentation (it got four Olivier Award nominations), but some wondered whether there was anything more to it than met than eye. That was in 1992 - since then it has been extensively toured and reworked, making its return a source of teeth-gnashing anticipation.

Cast gathers to buy Old Vic

SOME OF the leading lights in British theatre are joining together to try to buy The Old Vic theatre for the nation.

Choice: Opera - Xerxes

Xerxes, The Coliseum, London WC2 (0171-632 8300) 7pm

Review: The good, bad and ugly

Dance: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Theatre: Good, better or best?

When is a play a play, and is a comedy a play or not? Is a new play the same as a lost or unperformed one? What's the difference between best opera and outstanding achievement in opera? It appears that the organisers of the prestigious Olivier awards are not so sure...

Chicago in for Olivier awards

The two stars of the hit musical Chicago are competing for a best actress prize in the Laurence Olivier Awards. In the nominations announced yesterday Chicago received seven nominations. And its leading ladies Ruthie Henshall and Ute Lemper are both vying for best actress in a musical.

Theatre: Going liberal on the drama

Well-meaning plays with wishy-washy dramatic credentials can leave actors with little to get their teeth into

Dench wins award for a lifetime's work

Dame Judi Dench added yet another award to her collection yesterday. The actress who was licensed to call James Bond "a sexist, misogynist dinosaur and a relic of the Cold War" when she played his boss in Goldeneye, was honoured for her lifetime's work at the Women in Film and Television Awards.
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
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
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?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable