Environment Nadhim Zahawi (right) is an adviser to the Prime Minister

Nadhim Zahawi says 'massive, irreversible damage' is being caused

THEATRE / Macbeth, RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon

Macbeth shall sleep no more. But, for the audience, the difficulty lies in keeping their eyes open during Tim Albery's sedentary new production.

Theatre / Three Hours After Marriage RSC, Stratford

As you enter Stratford's Swan Theatre, you may feel you've blundered into some kinky outpost of the Pitt Rivers Museum. The stage is piled high with cabinets of curiosities (prehistoric skeletons; human hands hatching from eggs etc) and the cranky decor is a collector's item in that it is entirely composed of collector's items, such as the table with elephant trunk legs and the stove in the shape of a smoke-belching dragon.

NEC clears Howarth to stand for Labour

Labour's ruling National Executive Committee yesterday cleared the way for Alan Howarth, the MP who defected from the Tories last October, to seek a seat for the next election.

LEADING ARTICLE : Democracy is gagged by the language of party unity

Elections everywhere. Tomorrow, the first round of the parliamentary contest in Italy. In a month, Israel votes, which helps to explain the intensity of Operation Grapes of Wrath. In June, Russia elects a new president, quite possibly a Communist. Later in the year, the American public chooses between Bill and Bob - as well as taking part in the biannual returns to Congress. Here, Tory mortality and Northern Irish events permitting, there could be a general election within months.

Obituary: Jacquetta Hawkes

It was at the age of nine, and while still at her dame school, that Jacquetta Hawkes wrote an essay announcing her intention to become an archaeologist.

Heseltine calls on reluctant Tories to comply with vote

PATRICIA WYNN DAVIES

ROBERTO ALAGNA COMPETITION WINNERS

IN THE Review of 22 Oct, we ran a competition to win 20 CD copies of Roberto Alagna's new record, Popular Tenor Arias, and asked in what role he made his debut at Covent Garden. The answer was Rudolfo, in Puccini's La Boheme, and the first 20 correct entries out of the bag were sent by:

Faust, furious and surprisingly funny

For many, Goethe's 'Faust' is about as 'high' as high art gets. But Howard Brenton, with a new translation for the RSC, celebrates its wicked sense of humour

Theatre; RICHARD III; Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon

Richard III contains a wonderful example of political stage-management in the scene in which Richard, as prearranged with Buckingham, makes a big public relations spectacle of piously refusing the crown. In Steven Pimlott's arresting new production at Stratford, the blatant fraudulence of this exercise is comically heightened by presenting it to us (though not to the audience on stage) as a piece of naked theatre. The bishops who flank Richard, those "Two props of virtue for a Christian prince", are quite clearly the same youths who played the hired assassins of Clarence, and they can be seen pulling their episcopal clobber out of a theatrical wicker skip and making up in hand mirrors. This is in-yer-face bogusness, and it's characteristic of an interpretation that often achieves its bracing impact by pushing ideas to a self-conscious extreme.

theatre Lord of the Flies, RSC The Other Place Paul Taylor says the boys are great, but what might Britten have made of it?

Paul Taylor says the boys are great, but what might Britten have made of it?

No flies on the RSC

CHOICE

Theatre: JULIUS CAESAR RSC Stratford upon Avon

The temptation to ditch the scarlet togas and buy in a job lot of grey suits must have been fairly formidable when John Major let loose the dogs of the leadership war. Bar the installation of phone lines in case of a second ballot, much of what we've had to endure these last weeks is there, brilliantly, in Julius Caesar, albeit in a society where they knifed you in the back with a knife: resentful envy and stark ambition out to dress up political assassination as high-minded concern for the health of the state; the strategic posing as the natural air of former, tragically discarded greatness...

Police to question coach-crash driver faces police questioned

The driver of the coach involved in the crash on Wednesday in which eight people died will be interviewed today by police over possible driving offences related to the accident.

Theatre: THE CHERRY ORCHARD RSC Stratford upon Avon

Adrian Noble's glorious production of The Cherry Orchard lets you see the wood for the trees - indeed, the wood and the trees - though there isn't a branch of cherry blossom (or a samovar) in sight. At first glance, it looks as though Richard Hudson's set, with the boards of the Swan's largely bare thrust-stage and a number of the female costumes rendered in the same pallid shade of eau de nil, might be too chicly minimalist for the play's good. Not much here, you felt, to exert the removal men in the last act. Quickly, though, as Madame Ranyevskaya's entourage takes pre-dawn repossession of the house and bustles up to the theatre's various vertically-stacked balconies, it becomes apparent that this clear, uncluttered look will beautifully serve the production's rich imaginative lucidity.
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