Arts and Entertainment

X-Files star Gillian Anderson is returning to the London stage to play Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Vivien Leigh

Gone with the wind? No, it haunted her for life

Vivien Leigh was a fragile superstar who always struggled with her most famous role, says Geoffrey Macnab

Review: The Trip to Echo Spring - Why Writer's Drink, By Olivia Laing

Let's drink to inspiration in the bottom of a glass

On the jetty: Diana Quick, centre, stars in Greenberg’s The American Plan

Theatre review: The American Plan - A streetcar named mood-swing

Mental instability colours Richard Greenberg's early play – but it wears its debts too obviously

Orpheus Descending, Royal Exchange, Manchester

Imogen Stubbs looked bashful at the curtain call, as if embarrassed by all the fuss. This may have been because one of her defining moments in a theatre audience was watching Vanessa Redgrave playing the same role of Lady, the lonely, broken, middle-aged immigrant Italian woman for whom life’s possibilities in America’s South are suddenly reawakened. Stubbs tells how the image of Redgrave at the end – sitting like a broken doll – was so devastating that it felt inappropriate to clap at the curtain call.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

The ceiling fan stirs the thick, hot soup of the delta night air in the bedroom of the colonial mansion house where the bourbon flows as plentifully as the deep waters of the Mississippi.

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Bread and circuses.

Volcano, Vaudeville Theatre, London

The eponymous volcano rumbles ominously in the distance and the skies darken. It’s the Pathetic Fallacy in full throttle as extramarital desire correspondingly seethes and churns amongst the cocktail-swiggers gathered on the verandah of Adela, a widowed forty-something plantation owner.

Gore Vidal (above) has yet to respond to the latest volley from Christopher Hitchens in their increasingly vitriolic feud

Author Gore Vidal dies at 86

Celebrated author, playwright and commentator Gore Vidal has died at the age of 86, his nephew said today.

Eve Mutso as Blanche DuBois finds comfort with Erik Cavallari in <i>A Streetcar Named Desire</i>

A Streetcar Named Desire, Sadler's Wells, London

Tennessee Williams as dance? I do declare! But Scottish Ballet triumphs with a perfectly told tale

The Cherry Orchard, National Theatre: Olivier, London

Despair and laughter in equal doses

Kingdom of Earth, Print Room, London

"Baby, you got a mother complex and I'm gonna make you forget it," the vivacious Myrtle, with a can-do waggle of her lime-green thighs, informs her droopy husband of two days in Lucy Bailey's brilliant, blackly wacky and sometimes tenderly hilarious revival of this Tennessee Williams rarity from 1967. Alas, Myrtle would have about as much luck weaning Norman Bates off his mother as reorient the ailing, secretly TB-ridden and maternally fixated Lot who has inherited the piss-elegant, antique-filled home where mummy and he used to preen preciously as a two-person-band against the rednecks endemic in this district of the Mississippi Delta.

Paul Taylor: A cock-up at the Cock, but a first night not to miss

"Infinitely worth seeing" was The Independent's verdict on the unholy hilarity and aching beauty of Gene David Kirk's superlative production of A Cavalier for Milady. But now this world premiere of a late Tennessee Williams play has become the production it is absolutely impossible to see.

Dangerous stairs bring the curtain down on theatre at cutting edge

The Victorian era is not generally regarded as one that greatly contributed to the progress of British theatre – and now the architecture of the age has scuppered a modern production.

A Cavalier for Milady, Cock Tavern, London

The new Cock's old cock Tennessee Williams season has comprised two short world premieres: one early, and now one late; A Cavalier for Milady, thought to have been written around 1979, is the only published Williams play remaining hitherto unperformed, a real collector's item, and infinitely worth seeing.

New Orleans: Decadence and drama in the Delta

Tennessee Williams, who was born 100 years ago today, drew inspiration from the characters who lived in America's Deep South. Chris Coplans follows in the playwright's footsteps
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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
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment