Arts and Entertainment

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

The waves crashed down and I pretended I was Deborah Kerr in 'From Here to Eternity'

I met some very rude people during my five days on the Caribbean beach and two days travelling the airports of the world. First, there's the housekeeper who scolds me for getting sand in my room. Now, I'm not going to ask her to call me "Madam" and I feel bad that she has to clean my room, but if I want to get sand on the floor, I bloody will. I'm staying in a hut on a beach, for Lord's sake.

Obituary:John Abbott

With his wide, slightly bulging eyes, drooping lower lip and clipped diction, John Abbott was one of the screen's most distinctive character actors and one of its finest.

MARGARITA CULTURE

STATES OF MIND

Marina Carr's new play was delivered in a Dublin maternity ward. Georgina Brown talks to the author about her heroine's mixed parentage - part Beckett, part Bog of Allen

Chronologically confused, determinedly non-narrative, written in dialect, Marina Carr's latest play does not sound like everyone's idea of a grand night out, but it has proved precisely that in Dublin. "Breathtaking", "stunning", wrote the critics, exhilarated by its audacity and intensity. Following its Londo run at the Royal Court, Garry Hynes's production of Portia Coughlan will return to the Abbey Theatre for an extended season.

THEATRE BOOKS: Rambling woes

FREE ASSOCIATION: An Autobiography by Steven Berkoff, Faber pounds 15.99

Plagued by the nightingale

BOOKS: BIOGRAPHY: THE UNKNOWN TENNESSEE WILLIAMS by Lyle Leverich, Hodder pounds 25

Fiends in high places

A narcissist? Me? On the publication of his modest memoirs, Gore Vidal (70) gossips with Tim Haigh

LETTER: West End is alive and well

THE West End theatre is always having a thin time of it ("A theatrical misrepresentation", 22 October). I have just been reading some reviews of the 1920s and 1930s. Practically every year is described as thin. I have no doubt critics sitting watching Euripides's Medea at Epidauros in 431BC were complaining that it was a thin decade and things were better in Aeschylus's day.

Under the spotlight

Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams by Lyle Leverich Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 25; Demythologising Tennessee Williams. By Peter Parker

CINEMA /THEATRE : John Lyttle on film

There are those IQ-free critics who condemn Terence Davies for being high-flown and painfully poetic. Actually, if the director of Distant Voices, Still Lives were any of the above, the Tennessee Williams/ Truman Capote-ish The Neon Bible would be a better film: Davies's perceived sensibility would perfectly mesh with the script's buckle of the Bible Belt Gothic (get this: Gena Rowlands, right, is a brave, brittle bar-room vocalist who can't vocalise). But, actually, he's the most practical of talents; a poet, yes, but a poet of the everyday. He sees magic in the mundane, the extra in the ordinary.

Lumley heads East of Edina

THE CRITICS THEATRE

Underrated: The case for Rodney Ackland

"Underrated" doesn't quite describe Rodney Ackland: try "utterly unknown". Between 1929 and the mid-Sixties, with a brief Indian summer in the 1980s, he wrote something like 40 plays and films. The films include the odd minor classic (he worked, for instance, on Emeric Pressburger's 49th Parallel); and while he enjoyed more than his share of failures, his plays regularly reached the West End, attracting stars like Paul Scofield and Peggy Ashcroft.

The curse of being twice chosen

THEATRE; Call in the Night / West Yorkshire Playhouse The Rose Tattoo Theatre Clywd

Carte Blanche

I'M NOT sure what "roach bombs" are exactly, but they sound as though they demand respect. When Cheron Brylski set off six of them in her 10ft by 8ft kitchen in New Orleans last week, they exploded and destroyed the apartment, where Tennessee Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire.

AND what's more

After the death of Maria St Juste, Tennessee Williams' literary executor, Lyle Leverich's biography of the writer can now be published. St Juste had repeatedly blocked publication of the work, authorised by Williams and 17 years in the writing .
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