Arts and Entertainment

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

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Novello Theatre, London

To see a black cat cross your path is a proverbial sign of good luck. The all-black production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the 1955 Tennessee Williams's classic, certainly had good luck in spades on Broadway. It was a box-office smash, grossing more than $14m (£8.4m) in its limited 20-week run and its audiences included many African-Americans who were going to the theatre for the first time.

First Night: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Novello Theatre, London

All-black cast turn the tables with powerful performance

Opening Doors And Windows, By James Roose-Evans

The theatre world is littered with self-styled gurus and shamans, but it is rare to find a director who is also an Anglican priest. In this charming and insightful memoir, 82-year-old James Roose-Evans takes us on a spiritual and creative journey from his literally tortured adolescence (he was prone to self-flagellation) to the twin heights of ordination in Hereford cathedral and Broadway success.

Spring Storm, Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton

It's a troubling April down on the Delta, where the river is rising, and the blood too. "The crape myrtle's been out a week," says the genteel Mrs. Critchfeld. "I always start to wear white when the crape myrtle's out." Her daughter, however, worries she may never wear get to wear white and toss a bouquet. One of Tennessee Williams's high-strung beauties who are half spinster, half sexpot, Heavenly Critchfield is sleeping with the virile, shiftless Dick but tempted by the rich, repressed Arthur (a nice reversal of the traditional dilemma). The quartet of restive youth is completed by the librarian Hertha Neilson, "the most sensitive and intelligent person in Port Arthur, Mississippi", where teenagers she catches necking in the stacks laugh at her and call her an old maid.

City Slicker: Tangiers

Money is pouring into this gateway to Africa, helping the city to shake off its seedy past. Ian McCurrach offers a guide for new and returning visitors

A Streetcar Named Desire, Donmar Warehouse, London

I don't want realism, I want magic," cries Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's 1947 New Orleans masterpiece of broken dreams and tragic collapse, and she speaks for anyone who ever entered a theatre.

First Night: A Streetcar Named Desire, Donmar Warehouse, London

Weisz struggles to reveal the magic in Williams classic

Sample old-world charm in Florida. It's a cracker

Practical homes built for simple folks during the Great Depression have inspired a new wave of cool holiday architecture in resorts across the Sunshine State. Adrian Mourby reports

Rachel Weisz: A great Blanche DuBois?

She will play the lead in the Donmar's A Streetcar Named Desire this summer. But isn't she a little too fresh-faced? The best Blanches have lived a little, says Alice Jones

First Night: Three Days Of Rain, Apollo Theatre, London

Soap studs in the rain fail to enliven this house of mystery

20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, By Xiaolu Guo

"If you think 21 sounds a bit late for youth to start, just think about the average dumb Chinese peasant, two leaps straight from childhood to middle age with nothing in between." So begins Xiaolu Guo's heady debut, published several years before her much-fêted English language novel A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. Leaving behind the sweet-potato fields of her youth, Fenfang, Guo's spirited heroine, travels 1,800 miles to work as a film extra, only the "6787th person in Beijing" wanting the job.

Well, Apollo Shaftesbury, London

On Broadway, where it was much praised, Lisa Kron's autobiographical play about her resentment of her mother could count on respect from the arbiters of its self-infatuated and emotionally confused culture.

Forgotten authors No 18: Oscar Wilde

Hang on. Hang on. Dear Oscar? Never off the London stage, Dame Judi, a handbag, that Oscar? There's another type of forgetfulness that occurs when we choose to remember authors by their most famous books or plays. Their lesser works get lost or sidelined. Few readers of Oliver Twist recall Dickens' round-robin collections such as The Haunted House. Tennessee Williams is treasured for A Streetcar Named Desire but not for "The Mysteries of the Joy Rio", one of around 50 exquisite short stories he penned. The collected fairy tales of Oscar Wilde are almost unknown. Although still available, they are rarely bought and read aloud any more, as they were designed to be.

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