Arts and Entertainment

A boy enters a palace of a hundred rooms where an assassin may lurk behind every door and shadowy figures are reflected in a Hall of Mirrors.  An astonishing treasure lies at its heart, but powerful enemies are at the gates.

Theatre / THE STEWARD OF CHRISTENDOM - Royal Court, London

Sebastian Barry wrote The Steward of Christendom as a way of discovering and coming to terms with his great-grandfather, Thomas Dunne - the last Catholic head of the Dublin Metropolitan Police before Irish Independence in 1922, a loyal servant of the British and hence not, as Barry writes in the programme, a comfortable ancestor.

Your heritage, by post

The middle-classes want aristocratic style. The aristocrats want middle-class money. Thanks to mail order, business can be conducted at a discreet distance. By Serena Mackesy


It can hardly have escaped your attention that the place to be right now, books-wise, is north of the border. The Edinburgh Book Festival comes to an end on Monday, just as an even more alluring event hoves into view. The Atholl Festival ("A Jacobite Pageant") begins on Saturday 2 Sept, catering for the spiritual, physical and intellectual sides of its punters with a vigour few other culture-fests can match.

how to be an extra

Sydney Gilman turns around in his stall seat in the Palace Theatre, Manchester, and looks blank for a moment. "What do you mean by extras?" he asks. "We're Cavalcaders."

Into the monkey's jaws

Firdaus Kanga on a magic realist blockbuster; Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra Faber, pounds 15.99

Gingrichism of the week. 2

Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, tells the National League of Cities how public shame might be employed to tackle America's social problems:

Maori rage wrecks NZ treaty celebrations

Radical Maoris, angry about a government plan for the final settlement of their land claims that they regard as a trick, yesterday wrecked New Zealand's national-day celebrations at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, with violent protests. The Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, called off the ceremonies, in which he and other ministers were to have paid tribute to Maori-European co-operation, after police said they could not guarantee his safety.

BOOKS / Artists of the Lives: This extract from a new book considers 'The Future of Political Biography' in an anti-heroic age, and argues for nothing less than a literary revolution

WHAT IS WRONG with British political biography? The obvious answer is very little. 'Read no history, nothing but biography', wrote Disraeli, 'for that is life without theory.' In a nation traditionally suspicious of theory, many people seem to agree. Since the 1970s there has been a remarkable outpouring of 20th-century British biography - characterised by close attention to unpublished papers, the more or less systematic use of interview and a large number of reference notes.

Bottom line: Wates for the bulls

WATES City of London should be commended on still being around, unlike other City specialists, even to think about the next property cycle.

Woman savaged by zoo chimp 'not angry'

(First Edition)

Leading Article: Ordinary enough for humility

WAS Winston Churchill a racist? Is Britain, as the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have said, 'an ordinary little nation'? These questions bobbed up last week in the wake of a Spectator article on Churchill by Andrew Roberts, and a snippet from an interview with Dr Carey in the uncorrected proofs of a book. They are interesting questions, even if the obvious answer to both of them is yes. To take one of several examples of Churchill's quoted views, Indians were the 'beastliest people in the world, next to the Germans' - difficult to argue from that that he took people as he found them, despite race, colour or creed. And while 'ordinariness' is a more difficult term to quantify, Britain is certainly more ordinary now than in its extraordinary imperial heyday.

Stockings sold

Apair of Queen Victoria's black silk stockings sold for pounds 1,127 at Sotheby's in London. The buyer was Alan East, a Staffordshire publican who intends to display them in his bar.

Landseer stag scene sets price record

IN 1888, Christie's sold Sir Edwin Landseer's Scene in Braemar - Highland Deer for 4,950 guineas; yesterday, Christie's sold it for pounds 793,500, writes Dalya Alberge.

Who cares about 1.2 million irate Scots?

HERE IS a story about culture and pride and democracy, about local government and the state, about money and muck. Here, first of all, is a story about water.

Letter: Duchess in limbo

Sir: So, the export of the marble effigy of the Duchess of Nemours, much-loved cousin of Queen Victoria, is to be blocked and may end up in a British museum (Diary, 17 March). This is hardly cause for celebration.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform