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.

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.

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.

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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War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot