Critics: hunks or halfwits?

Why are critics portrayed as handsome hunks in Hollywood films but seedy creeps on the stage?

Aftermath, Old Vic Tunnels, London

One of the most impressive "verbatim" dramas of the last few years was The Exonerated, which aired the plight of six people wrongfully convicted of murder, and made arguments against the death penalty sound irrefutable.

Sarah Sands: They think it's all over for pubs. It isn't now ...

It was the interval of the distinguished As You Like It at the Old Vic last Wednesday afternoon and the audience was frantic to know the score. I legged it past the cafés and shops to the one place I knew wouldn't let me down.

As You Like It / The Tempest, Old Vic, London <br/>Welcome to Thebes, NT Olivier, London <br/>Sucker Punch, Royal Court Downstairs, London

In Sam Mendes' triumphant double dose of the Bard, the comedy is packed with subtle revelations about human nature

As You Like It/The Tempest, Old Vic, London

In a programme note for this second year of the Bridge Project, the British-American ensemble that tours the world with classical plays, director Sam Mendes reveals why he has paired As You Like It and Twelfth Night. Both plays deal with usurped and banished dukes and the bitterness of exile and he invokes Ted Hughes's suggestion that Prospero's Devil's Island can be seen as the post-tragic remnant of the Forest of Arden. In practice, though, these hit-and-miss productions do little to substantiate Mendes' claim that they form "a single gesture, a single journey". Handsomely designed and engagingly acted, they don't emerge as a joint revelation and fail to add up to more than the sum of their parts.

Alice Jones: Much to see in a bumper theatre week

The big news this week is Sam Mendes’ double bill of The Tempest and As You Like It at the Old Vic.

Ditch, Old Vic Tunnels, London

Two minutes' walk from Waterloo Station and a little, graffiti-covered door in a side wall grants you access to a starkly different world. Cold, smelling of mould, and resounding to the thunder of the trains hurtling overhead, this massive underground labyrinth of high, vaulted brick tunnels forms a magical space that has been commandeered by the Old Vic's artistic director, Kevin Spacey, as a subterranean arena for non-profit theatre pieces and art works.

Yes, Prime Minister, Festival Theatre, Chichester<br/>Ditch, Old Vic Tunnels, London<br/>Peter Pan, Barbican Theatre, London

A staging of 'Yes, Prime Minister' updates Margaret Thatcher's favourite sitcom &ndash; complete with hung parliament, misbehaving foreign politicians and an unhealthy dose of cynicism

The Real Thing, Old Vic, London<br/>Counted?, County Hall, London<br/>Pressure Drop, Wellcome Collection, London

A Stoppard revival and a docu-drama about young voters' disenchantment bump up against the latest in a wave of works to tackle the rise of the BNP

My Secret Life: Naomie Harris, actress, 33

My parents were ... immigrants. My mum's from Jamaica, my dad's from Trinidad; they both moved here when very young. My mum's now a writer and my dad's a fashion designer.

The Real Thing, Old Vic, London

Owing as much, or as little, to Noël Coward's Private Lives and Harold Pinter's Betrayal, as it does to his own deliciously quirky and provisional temperament, Tom Stoppard's marvellous 1982 comedy is, above all, a play about the theatre; or a play about love in the theatre; or a play about expressing love in the theatre, as opposed to love of the theatre.

Posh, Royal Court Downstairs, London<br/>Hair, Gielgud, London<br/>The Empire, Royal Court Upstairs, London

Laura Wade's superbly cast new play is darkly satirical, sharp &ndash; and funny &ndash; but ends with a whiff of demonising melodrama

Keira Knightley: Ruff and ready

The Hollywood star's new film cost just &pound;15,000 and was filmed in one day by her co-star, the painter Stuart Pearson Wright. The actress tells Charlotte Cripps why she did it for free
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