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".

Going Out: Theatre: shadows

For those whose hearts sink at the prospect of the lean dramatic fare on offer this pantotide, the RSC's winter season in London is a godsend, although the acclaimed trilogy of one-act Irish plays presented under the banner Shadows is hardly cheering stuff. John Crowley - who has also directed the psychocandy Sondheim musical Into the Woods at the Donmar - has rustled up an evening themed around the subject of bereavement and informed by the harsher rhythms of rural life. There are two by Synge from 1904. In the Shadow of the Glen, the wry tale of an old farmer who tests the fidelity of his young wife by feigning death, will do something to reinstate laughter lines eradicated by the harrowing Riders to the Sea, in which two Aran Island women lament as the last of their menfolk is claimed by the deep. The evening ends with Yeats's poetic nightmare Purgatory, about a family caught in a cycle of bloodshed. Unmissable stuff.

Christmas books: Classical - They should let the music speak for them

Michael White on divas, diaries and disasters

Theatre: You can't see the wood for the trees

INTO THE WOODS DONMAR WAREHOUSE

Classical: On Air

SETTLING THE Score last Sunday afternoon on Radio 3 surveyed the bewildering world of 20th-century harmony. Harmony, Stephen Sondheim said, is what gives a composer particular character - and went on to challenge that assertion by confessing he took some of his chords from Ravel. The result didn't remind me of Ravel.

Obituary: James Goldman

THE PLAYWRIGHT, novelist and screenwriter James Goldman won the Academy Award for the screen adaptation of his own play The Lion in Winter, his dialogue described by one critic as "witty, intelligent, pithy and often mercurial". His other screenplays included Robin and Marion, and his work for the stage included the book for the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies. Particularly happy with historical subjects, he wrote the screenplay for Nicholas and Alexandra, a novel about King John, and a play about Tolstoy.

Theatre: And now for the drama of the century

The National Theatre is doing its millennial stocktake. What are the most significant plays? And what does significant mean anyway, asks David Benedict

Words: roses, n.

EVERY WRITER seeks to produce, at the very least, a classic phrase. In Gypsy, his musical about the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, Stephen Sondheim did that and more. "One of the problems," he recalls, "was to come up with a phrase that means `things are going to be better than ever' that isn't flat and yet isn't so poetic". So saying, he coined "everything's coming up roses".

Cabaret: A performance of two halves

BERNADETTE PETERS ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL LONDON

Classical: FIRST NIGHT: Flight/Glyndebourne Touring Opera

A few years ago, Jonathan Dove composed a lively, intriguing and memorable one-act chamber opera for the Almeida Festival entitled Siren Song. It concerned a naive sailor duped by a lonely-hearts penfriend who eventually turned out to be far from what she seemed.

Words: doozie, n.

STEPHEN SONDHEIM'S mother was described by one relation, Myra Berzoff, as a "doozie", which the Random House Dictionary of American Slang terms a splendid creature. This was apparently inspired by the actress Eleonora Duse.

Friday Book: The smartest man on Broadway

STEPHEN SONDHEIM: A LIFE

Good Venue Guide

39: BRIDEWELL THEATRE, EC4

Rock opera? Um, no

WHEN Andrew Lloyd Webber (allegedly) asked Alan Jay Lerner why people took an instant dislike to him, Lerner (allegedly) replied, "It saves time." And when, last weekend, I asked a group of music students propping up a seafront bar at the Aldeburgh Festival why they disliked Lloyd Webber, the consensus opinion - "because he's rich and ugly" - was much the same, if more robustly put. Responses to the life and work of music theatre's living peerhead tend to be intuitive rather than analytical. You simply know that what he does is wretched: it's a gut reaction, fuelled by outrage that so small a talent could have made it quite so big.

THEATRE: Eyeing up the talent

How many of you out there know that Stephen Sondheim wrote a Violin Sonata? To both of you I say, have you heard it? Well you can on Sunday 17 May at the Barbican, when it receives its European premiere in a Sondheim Gala Evening in aid of Cancer Research.

Theatre: Carry on cowboy

"WARNING: This show contains material that might cause offense." Thus spake the unusually winning press release for Yee-Haw!!, the self- styled "crazy, camp, cross-dressing cowboy" musical (right). Affixed beneath this fearfully stern warning was a shocking example of this downright degrading material: a piece of purple gingham.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Career Services

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
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
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game