Arts and Entertainment Brace yourself: Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves in 'House of Fools'

Vic and Bob have done sketch shows (The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer), web series (Vic & Bob’s Afternoon Delights), comedy dramas (Catterick, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)) and the greatest quiz show of all time (Shooting Stars), but until now they’ve never done a sitcom as sit-commy as this. Their new show, House of Fools (BBC2), is filmed in front of a live studio audience, and the duo play Odd Couple-style flatmates in a home filled with bizarre bric-à-brac and beset by unwelcome visitors.

The Weekend's Viewing: Arena: Magical Mystery Tour Revisited, Sat, BBC2
The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, Sat, BBC2

When the British public sat down to watch the latest Beatles film on Boxing Day in 1967, they might have expected similar fare to A Hard Day's Night and Help!, released a few years earlier, or maybe even something a bit more festive.

Hysteria, Richmond Theatre, London

Farce has its affinities with the Freudian psychoanalytic

method. Both are mechanisms for exposing the repressions and the guilty secrets we are desperate to hide – the former for sadistically comic, the latter for therapeutic purposes.

A point to prove: Guston's 'The Line' (1978)

When fingers point

Philip Guston's switch from abstract to figurative left critics and fans irate, but an exhibition of his work proves them wrong, argues Adrian Hamilton

History as a noisy party: Ned Beauman

The Teleportation Accident, By Ned Beauman

In prewar Berlin or madcap California, this mash-up of genres and styles has a serious intent

Album: Richard Rijnvos, Uptown/Downtown (Challenge Classics)

Dutch composer Richard Rijnvos believes that New York epitomises "the precarious equilibrium between chaos and order", a principle borne out in the two triptychs that comprise Uptown/Downtown.

Finnegans Wake By James Joyce

No one said it would be easy ...

DVD/Blu-ray: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (15)

Luis Bunuel's absurdist and beautifully staged satire from 1972 centres on six conceited upper-middle-class pals who singularly fail to arrange a dinner party.

Voyager into uncharted waters: Sjón

The Whispering Muse, By Sjón, trans. Victoria Cribb

Iceland's maverick storyteller returns with a cruise into legend.

Subversive: Luis Buñuel’s film impressed critics and the public alike on its release in 1972

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie - A dinner that charts civilisation's decline

Buñuel's The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie has been newly restored. It's still unsettling, says Geoffrey Macnab

Wagner, The Flying Dutchman, English National Opera

The front curtain at the London Coliseum is a rare sight these days and suggested that we might for once be about to experience Wagner’s celebrated Overture without “illustration”.

Illumination: David Gascoyne

Night Thoughts: The Surreal Life of the Poet David Gascoyne, By Robert Fraser

Many know about the death by drowning of WS Gilbert; others are aware that in 1933 Ernest Hemingway, incensed by a review, trashed the Paris bookshop in which he read it. Few could point to these incidents' one degree of separation. Such surprises regularly punctuate the soberly engrossing chronicle which Robert Fraser has created around the life of a poet whose modest fame has burned steadily, almost brightly, since his Thirties emergence as a teenage prodigy.

DVD: Black Pond

Shot on a shoestring, and barely released at cinemas last year, Black Pond nonetheless earnt its young writer-directors a Bafta nomination – and quite right, too.

Paul Merton: Out of My Head, Richmond Theatre

A leading light in British comedy and one of the most-proven funnymen on the planet, Paul Merton is back with his first UK solo tour since 1999, but Out Of My Head is far from the quality you might expect, being weak virtually from start to finish.

Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S Burroughs 1959-1974, Edited by Bill Morgan

This long-awaited second volume of William Burroughs's letters spans 15 years, from the publication of Naked Lunch in Paris, to his mid-Seventies departure from London for a New York radically different to the one he knew in the 1940s. How strange it must have been to settle into a transformation that you, in part, had affected. For this is really what this volume of letters is about. The first, published in 1993 when Burroughs was still alive, covered 1945-1959. Junky aside, he was a largely unpublished but influential mentor to Kerouac, Ginsberg and co as the Beat generation assumed its shape – an entity as synthetic and modern as Beyer Pharmaceutical's heroin, a longtime companion in Burroughs's life.

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