Harrowing: Anne Sophie Duprels, Mungo Reoch, and Dan Stephenson

Classical review: Madama Butterfly - Head down to the park to see a stunning Butterfly take flight

Paul Higgins's staging of Madama Butterfly is not easy to watch, and nor should it be.

My life in travel: DJ Yoda

'I loved the sunsets in Ibiza so much, I filmed my latest video there'

Book review: Rook, By Jane Rusbridge

Excavating buried pasts to soothe unhappy souls

Evergreen: At 71, Streisand’s voice is still heady and throat-catching

Pop review: Barbra Streisand at London's O2 - What every diva needs; hits, fans and a Mummy's boy

About half way into Barbra Streisand Live, the star, sparkling in her spangly tuxedo, launched into a 10-minute "Ask Barbra" session. It is six years since she last played in London, and fans had been given the chance to fill in a card, on arrival, with a question for their heroine. One got the sense that these had been judiciously edited. "Barbra, how are you so beautiful?" enquired one. Barbra refused to reveal her magic formula, and displayed no false modesty, tipping the card back into the box from whence it came. This was not an evening for non-believers.

Television choices: Return of the living dead, this time with added brains

TV pick of the week: The Returned

Neon Neon

Music review: Neon Neon, Village Underground, London

Bands often talk about breaking the expected boundaries of the rock concert. Usually, this means that a) the lead singer jumps off the stage and walks through the crowd, or b) really expensive pyro. So when a band really does snap you out of that rock-show routine, it’s a grin-inducing luxury.

Solange Knowles performing at the Field Day Festival in Victoria Park, east London

Festival review: Field Day, Victoria Park, London

After seven years, east London’s trendiest music event appears to have finally got to grips with festival site logistics. There are significantly more bars, toilets and refreshment stands, and the stages seem to be located according to genre; meaning fewer cross-site dashes to catch complementary acts.

Theatre review: How to Host a Dinner Party, Brighton Fringe

The Sussex company Park Bench Dance Theatre’s show opens with two barefoot, smartly dressed women shuffling on to a empty stage with a dining table. They disappear again and return with some chairs. A long and wordless tussle ensues in which identical dining chairs are shifted and swapped, shunted and dragged, and swapped and shifted again.

Rod Stewart, rock’s great lothario

Time is on Rod Stewart's side as his first album in20 years goes straight to number one in UK charts

Rod Stewart's first album of self-penned songs in 20 years has gone straight to the top of the UK album charts.

Jared Leto:
Solid sound, wonderful portability but at a stately price: the Beats by Dre Pill

A week with: Beats by Dre Pill

Dre hits the speakers market

Lana Del Rey's distinctive Hipstamatic pop proves irresistible

Music review: Lana Del Rey, Academy, Birmingham

Accompanied by two faux-stone lions, a plastic palm tree and art-deco frames for the video screens, Liberace would feel at home in Birmingham tonight. Instead, the chintz and fevered anticipation are for a less theatrical performer. Having enjoyed a meteoric rise on the back of 2011’s viral hit "Video Games", the artist previously known as the winsome Lizzy Grant has struggled to match that pace.

Simone James as Melody and Fisayo Akinade as Jim in Neighbors at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
part of the High Tide Theatre Festival

Theatre review: High Tide Festival, Halesworth

The Suffolk town of Halesworth might look idyllic but don’t be fooled, there’s darkness lurking behind the half-timbered facades. This year’s High Tide festival of new writing tackles everything from heroin addiction to Hillsborough, bullying to black actors in “blackface”. You couldn’t accuse it of being twee, although you might wish for a bit of light relief. Small-scale doesn’t have to equal issues-driven.

Invisible Ink: No 172 - Perry Rhodan

What's the most successful science fiction story series ever written? How about one that has sold over a billion copies so far, plus various spinoffs, and has influenced a generation of writers? Perry Rhodan was created in 1961 by KH Scheer and Clark Darlton, and was conceived as a 30-volume epic booklet series with a single story arc, back in the days when you could attempt such a thing.

Toy story: Gretel and Sandman in Liam Scarlett’s Grimm tale

Dance review: Hansel and Gretel - Something very nasty beneath the woodshed

The reason fairy stories have endured in the collective consciousness is not just that successive generations have been offered them as childhood fare. It's that they give a manageable shape and form to our deepest adult fears. So it should come as no surprise that Liam Scarlett, whose last ballet tackled the murky world of the painter Walter Sickert and his possible identity as Jack the Ripper, is now peering into the darkest corners of a Grimm Brothers' tale.

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