Books: The man with the golden touch

When The Snow Melts

theatre: joe orton

Stephen Frears's film Prick Up Your Ears - scripted by the great Alan Bennett - introduced moviegoers to the great theatrical talent of Joe Orton (below). Unlike Miss Jean Brodie, this genuinely groundbreaking comic writer, dubbed the "Oscar Wilde of the Welfare State", never saw his prime as he was murdered by his lover. Now, thanks to his sister Leonie, who has been emptying out her attic, we have the first opportunity to see how it all began. On Monday and Tuesday, there are readings of excerpts from his earliest plays - Fred and Madge and The Visitors and a novel, Between Us Girls, all of which have only just been published for the first time. Wednesday's performance also offers the chance to see Leonie (memorably played by Frances Barber in the film) in interview.

Theatre: handbag

Mark Ravenhill is most famous what he didn't write. He's the man who was due to do the ill-fated series three of This Life. But the producers pulled the plug on the whole idea and went out on a high after after series two. Not that Ravenhill despaired. He's been busy writing his new play Handbag (below) or The Importance of Being Someone. Inspired by Oscar Wilde's deliriously funny comedy about disguise, deception and defiantly unorthodox parenting, Ravenhill's play is described as "provocative". Hardly surprising when you consider that his first full-length play was Shopping and Fucking.

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