Arts and Entertainment From left to right, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett and Rick Wright

You only needed to watch the animated trailer for Darkside – that's right, a trailer, with images, for radio. What madness is this? – to know it was going to be totally off its box. A toy farmer stood staring at the skies; giant angle grinders sliced up the earth; a figure sat on a hospital bed with a massive propeller where his head should be.

THEATRE / A little place in the country: There's more to Tom Stoppard's Arcadia than meets the eye, but then Arcadias have always been tricky places. Kevin Jackson offers a guided tour, complete with nymphs, shepherds and skulls

TOM STOPPARD'S Arcadia, few theatre-goers will have been surprised to learn, browses freely in many and various fields: algorithms, the laws of thermodynamics, biography, literary sleuthing and Romanticism. It has curiously little to say, however, on the topic of Arcadias, save at one point in its first act where Lady Croom - a product of the same gene pool that spawned Lady Bracknell - is rebuking the landscape gardener who wishes to convert her estate to the fashionable (we are in the early 19th century) picturesque Gothic style.

Coales' Notes: Not the real thing: Gordon Coales fills in for a leading playwright

TUESDAY This week's main panic is the Unton Festival of Literature. As Di said, perhaps the smallest, but easily the first literary festival of 1993. 'And the wonderful thing is, we've got Tom Stoppard to do the opening on Friday.' General disbelief. 'Well it's practically definite. Hebe knows someone who knows Fizz.' She asked me if I'd come down and do the warm-up. I hesitated. Rory said (without looking up): 'Oh come on Gordon, it's perfectly simple. Dazzlingly complex comedy of ideas. Verbal acrobatics. He makes words dance. Or see the play.'

THEATRE / More than the sum of its parts: Paul Taylor on Tom Stoppard's Arcadia at the National

A COUPLE of years back, Louise Page wrote a play called Adam Was A Gardener, that shuttled back and forth between the present and the early-19th century. It used changing fashions in landscape gardening - from the modified classical vistas of Capability Brown to the new picturesque Gothic style, replete with false ruins and optional live-in hermit - as a metaphor for broader emotional and cultural divisions. In Arcadia (his first full-length stage play for five years), Tom Stoppard gets up to strikingly similar tricks, only - as you might imagine - things don't remain anything like as simple.

THEATRE / The way he tells them: Tom Stoppard's first stage play for five years opens next week. The story so far is one of unusual success, unmatched wit and underrated wisdom. But what of the uncertainty that really makes him tick?

ONE EARLY trademark in the career of Tom Stoppard was the presence of two characters - Boot, who gets things done, and Moon, to whom things happen - who recur from play to play like a comic double-act. It is a relationship Kenneth Tynan might have drawn on in 1977, when he set about composing a New Yorker profile of the author of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and found himself interweaving it with a profile of Vaclav Havel.


WAR CHILD is a new charity set up by two BBC film-makers who returned from war-torn Croatia determined to take action. The organisation is hosting three days of music at the Royal Festival Hall to raise funds for child victims of war, and most urgently of a war that is no further from London than Rome. At 7.30 tonight John Thaw will introduce a concert of classical music with artists including Peter Donohoe, Steven Kovacevic, Margaret Marshall, Julian Lloyd Webber, Tatjana and Natasha Lipovsek. This will be followed by an all-night candlelit vigil at Gabriel's Wharf (begins 10pm) and at dawn a convoy of trucks will leave for Bosnia. On Sunday (7.30) an evening of contemporary music (introduced by Tom Stoppard and Susannah York) will include performances by John Bingham, Steven Isserlis, Joanna MacGregor, and the Smith Quartet. Jonathan Ross, Jo Brand and Rowland Rivron are a few of the celebrated personalities to appear on Monday (7.30) for an evening of Comedy. If only it was a laughing matter.
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