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

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

Edinburgh Festival Day 3: A keen nose for a good story: Gerry Mulgrew specialises in 'casualty theatre'. It's his prescription against becoming a victim of his own success. Sarah Hemming reports

The critics were agreed; the audiences were agreed. No matter which way you stacked your list of favourite shows on last year's Fringe, Communicado's Cyrano de Bergerac always won by a nose and then some. Vigorous, witty and superbly athletic, the production burst across the stage, driven by Edwin Morgan's mischievous Glaswegian translation of Rostand's romantic tale and by the company's swashbuckling grab- 'em-by-the-lapels style. So what next? How do you follow a success like that?

THEATRE / Dangerous Liaisons

WYCHERLEY'S The Country Wife ends in a stalemate. The virtuous Alithea has got rid of her foppish suitor and paired up with a rake instead. Otherwise nothing has changed. Horner, the mock- eunuch, has made two hasty off-stage scores, but paired off with nobody. Sir Jasper still occupies his fool's paradise with the insatiable Lady Fidget. And poor Margery Pinchwife is stuck with her dreadful old husband. All the play does is to lift the lid, and then replace it. An experiment has taken place under controlled conditions; and you can envisage a final scene with Horner in horn- rims delivering his findings on attitudes to drink and sex among London's female gentry of the mid-1670s to a meeting of the Royal Society.

THEATRE / First Nights

The Matchmaker

THEATRE / A close eye on the company they keep: The last thing David Thacker wants is a lot of bums on seats. Sarah Hemming joins the crowd at rehearsals for the RSC's promenade Julius Caesar

THE FIRST thing you notice in the RSC rehearsal room in Clapham, south London is the noise. Rehearsals are usually accompanied by a quiet hum; this one sounds more like an indoor swimming pool at peak time. While there are often a few extra people hanging around, here there is a crowd of at least 150. And most of the denim and leather- clad bodies belong not to actors, but to an invited audience.

Health Update: Rabies jabs 'unnecessary for most travellers'

ANYONE planning a visit to areas where rabies is endemic, such as South-East Asia and South America, may be considering vaccination before going, especially since the recent death of a Briton in Indonesia.

THEATRE / When duty fires the blood: Paul Taylor on Ghosts at Stratford and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg at the King's Head

The town happened to be situated by a fjord, but that shouldn't blind an English audience to the fact that Ibsen's Ghosts takes place in an environment that's meant to be as prosaic and provincial as, say, East Molesey.

Between the lines: Michael Feast recalls a music-hall catchphrase

'Play the music. Open the Cage. Mum, they're laughing at me.' (The band plays 'Powder Your Face With Sunshine')

Sports Letters: Selection quandary

Sir: In utter disappointment I read the line-up for the Lions tour of New Zealand. It is lamentable that the decision to exclude so many Irish players from the party was taken without due regard to recent performances and the undoubted impact it will have across the water. At the heart of the Lions' being lies a cohesion that joins four forces which all too often in reality seek to drive further apart. If this is too whimsical, old-fashioned or romantic a notion for maintaining balance in the selection then let the facts speak for themselves. In Dublin 15 men wearing green outran, out-tackled, and outwitted 15 men wearing white. They were younger, fitter and showed a fresh enthusiasm for the game. What Geoff Cooke et al have achieved is to pick a side whose core may be experience but which is also old and tired. If we are to have any chance of winning the Tests in New Zealand the pride, passion and commitment witnessed at Lansdowne Road could have been a decisive ingredient in this cocktail of rugby talent from the British Isles. I fear we will regret abandoning the talent and, dare I say it, the luck of the Irish.

Student travel-writing competition: Buttman meets Scooby Doo

The blurb on the machine said: 'There's a gallon of deliciousness in every drop. Dyodo is your ticket to drink paradise.'

Law Report: Employee not guilty of misleading price offence: Regina v Warwickshire County Council, Ex parte Johnson - House of Lords (Lord Griffiths, Lord Emslie, Lord Roskill, Lord Ackner and Lord Lowry), 10 December 1992

A person employed as a branch manager who gave a misleading price indication was not acting 'in the course of any business of his' and was therefore not guilty of an offence under section 20(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

My publisher doth magnify the Lord

IN THE wake of the absorbing new biography of Jesus Christ by A N Wilson, several readers have written to ask me if there are any alternative life stories of him by other fine writers. Yes, indeed - there are lots more coming out in the autumn publishers' lists, and here is a brief selection.

Letter: Colour-coded

Sir: So brown and yellow cars are involved in fewer accidents than black and white ones (12 September). Does this reflect the safety of the respective colours or of the people who choose to drive them?

Letter: A little learning

SO WILLIAM LEITH studied literature at university for nearly seven years] Yet he still appears unable to follow a story line which any reasonably intelligent 11-year- old could understand (Sunday Review, 12 July). Orlando is neither a Duke's son - nor the 'lead'. Rosalind does not have a row with her father. If we must have facetious articles about the teaching of Shakespeare, let us at least get the facts right.

THEATRE / Subterranean homesick blues: The Odyssey - The Other Place, Stratford- upon-Avon; The Winter's Tale - Royal Shakespeare Theatre; All's Well that Ends Well - Swan

WITH THE opening of two Shakespearean comedies of reconciliation and the return to Stratford of Peter Hall and John Nettles after their exiled wanderings among the sirens and one-eyed monsters of the West End and television, the RSC has just completed a week of reunions: capped with the archetype of all homecoming stories in Derek Walcott's version of Homer's Odyssey.

THEATRE / The man who missed his connection: Paul Taylor reviews Greg Doran's production of Derek Walcott's splendid retelling of The Odyssey

'SORRY I'm late,' says Ron Cook's pocket-sized Odysseus as he scrambles in to join the other Greeks for Achille's funeral, near the start of Derek Walcott's splendid new re-telling of The Odyssey at The Other Place. It's a nice impish joke that our first glimpse of the hero shows him a touch tardy with appointments, since the famous, much-delayed homecoming the piece goes on to dramatise could be said to take unpunctuality to epic lengths.
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