Independent Plus

Watch the videos below to see previews of some of the best shows, music and television events that are happening this autumn

Frank Zappa was one of rock's crossover musicians

Rock 'n' Roll in Four Movements, Radio 4, Thursday
BBC Proms, Radio 3, daily

Concerto for hairies and orchestra

Prom 52: LSO, Gergiev, *****/Prom 53: I Fagiolini, Hollingworth, ****

Prokofiev’s ballet score for 'Cinderella' had to wait nearly seventy years for its Proms premiere, and one had to wonder whether - at 105 minutes and without a visual component - it might be over-long.

Simon Calder: Foreign Office seeks to enlighten travelling fans

Think twice about drinking in Poland: "You can be taken to a drying-out clinic, where you'll be medically assessed and not released until sober. You will be required to pay the cost of any overnight stay."

Sir Frederick Ashton's Romeo and Juliet, Coliseum, London

From ball to tomb in under two hours, these star-crossed lovers scorch their trail

Massenet Cendrillon, Royal Opera House, London

The words are in French but still familiar - “Once upon a time...” – and the story which follows, Cendrillon (that’s Cinderella to you and me), is writ large across the surfaces of Barbara de Limburg’s set, opening like a pop-up book of fairytales whose sliding panels have our eyes hanging on to every word.

Cinderella, Royal Opera House, London

Classic tale could do with a polish

Cinderella, London Coliseum

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Cinderella has swift storytelling, marvellous designs and a tender heart. New last Christmas, it has been a success on tour and on television, and arrives at the London Coliseum looking as bright as ever.

Romeo and Juliet, Coliseum, London

English National Ballet's Romeo and Juliet is hard work. Rudolf Nureyev, who created it for this company in 1977, could always squeeze in one more step, one more plot point, until he barely has room for his star-crossed lovers. The dancers pour energy into this Romeo, but they can't make it engaging.

Susie Mesure: Nifty footwork takes our dancers to new heights

If it's Christmas, it must be The Nutcracker: Clara and her wooden soldier doll are our constant companions during a season otherwise observed in ever different ways. At English National Ballet, which has danced the work every December for the past 59 years, the latest version of the Hoffmann classic opens on Friday for 32 performances at the Coliseum in London, the company's Christmas home.

Cinderella, Hippodrome, Birmingham

A familiar tale, traditionally told, a sumptuous look and bewitching sound. It must be Christmas

In the red: A gift to myself is wrapped with guilt

For once, the hate mail was not forthcoming. Given that any mention of non-essential spending in this column tends to be greeted with a flurry of "well aren't you jammy!" emails, I had thought that talk of a not-at-all-necessary, entirely indulgent, £65 ballet ticket would guarantee at least one negative response. Apparently not. Not so much as a peep.

Bourne launches search for the real Billy Elliots

Choreographer sets up talent competition to inspire youngsters

Cinderella, Coliseum, London

English National Ballet celebrates its 60th birthday this year, with a summer season of Cinderella. And doesn't the company look good! Michael Corder's choreography is full of classical steps, showing off strong footwork, clean lines and a sense of shared identity. At 60, English National Ballet looks happy and confident.

Ted Durante: Comic strongman and stalwart of 'The Good Old Days'

Ted Durante was the Tommy Cooper of strongman acts, whose valiant efforts to lift a weight, or balance a tray of drinks on the end of a pole, usually collapsed into disaster.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot