Arts and Entertainment Mel Smith (right) and Griff Rhys Jones as Jones says his comedy partnership with the late Smith was

Griff Rhys Jones says his comedy partnership with the late Mel Smith was "not exactly a marriage made in heaven".

Nonsense verse? Presenter Des Lynam backs Ukip and rewrites 'Send in the Clowns' as retort to Ken Clarke

Mr Lynam said he had voted for the Eurosceptic party last week

Cross Purpose, King's Head Theatre, London

“I'd expected a welcome like the Prodigal Son's,” confesses Jan, the man who – in Camus' 1944 play Cross Purpose – returns home after twenty years of making his fortune abroad. But there's no sniff of a fatted calf for him in this pointedly pitiless inversion of the parable.

Hansel and Gretel, Cottesloe, NT, London

When she's not directing adult theatre of extraordinary rigour and imaginative reach, Katie Mitchell does a smart line in children's Christmas shows.

Growing pains: The young king wrestles with the burden of office in Michael Grandage's farewell Richard II

Richard II, Donmar Warehouse, London
Company, Crucible, Sheffield
The Ladykillers, Gielgud, London

Michael Grandage’s departure from the Donmar is marked by Shakespeare’s tale of an ambitious new arrival on the throne

Some enchanted evenings! The rise of the musical

As a hit revival of 'South Pacific' arrives in London from Broadway, Michael Coveney separates the classics from the rest

Road Show, Menier Chocolate Factory, London<br/>Singin' in the Rain, Festival Theatre, Chichester

Two brothers make their way from digging for pay dirt in Alaska to hobnobbing with the super-rich, in all-American style

Road Show, Menier Chocolate Factory, London

In Assassins, Stephen Sondheim put an ironic spin on traditional American musical forms ("Hail to the Chief", the cakewalk) to suggest that the crazies who take pot-shots at Presidents are the product of a philosophy that proclaims, "In the USA/ You can work your way/ To the head of the line". In Road Show the composer similarly deploys the razzmattazz of vaudeville to highlight how, at the heart of the Land of Opportunity, lurks a venal, get-rich-quick opportunism.

The art of looking backwards

Harold Pinter&rsquo;s Betrayal, now back in the West End, reverses chronology to dazzling effect. Others have played with time and failed, says Paul Taylor, but those who get it right often achieve works of incredible depth

Sondheim feted by Olivier Awards

The songwriter Stephen Sondheim is to be honoured at this year's Laurence Olivier Awards.

Books of the Year: Pop

Robbie Williams offers a glimpse inside his head, while Jay-Z pretends to have been to Morocco

Tomorrow Morning, Landor Theatre, London

The title of Laurence Mark Wythe's musical (first seen at the New End in Hampstead in 2006) will serve as a wish for new musical theatre in Britain. According to Stephen Sondheim's lyric in West Side Story. "Something's coming, something good, if I can wait."

Les Misérables, Barbican Theatre, London

There are ghosts and survivor's guilt in the second act of Les Misérables that sound like a trailer for the upcoming stage adaptation of Birdsong; Victor Hugo's Marius (played by pop idol Gareth Gates) comes through the carnage on the Paris barricades and sings of empty chairs and tables in the ABC café while his friends materialise in a celestial, supportive chorus.

Passion, Donmar Warehouse, London<br/>Krapp's Last Tape, Duchess Theatre, London

Sondheim uncovers the pitfalls of youth and beauty, while Gambon shows age has its perks
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