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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.

Would you trust this man with your crisps?

A bloke writes

Theatre: The eyes don't have it

Copenhagen Cottesloe, National Theatre, London

Not so Wilde about the boys

David Hare has miscast 'The Judas Kiss' and misjudged the passions of Oscar Wilde, writes Paul Taylor

Theatre: Don't shoot the messenger

Theatre is drab, dreary and disgracefully dated. At least that's what David Sexton, literary editor of the Evening Standard and smugly self-confessed theatre-hater - and plenty of others besides - would have you believe.

Theatre: Adolescence - it's a difficult age to stage

TRADITIONALLY, teenagers on-stage are zombies. They slump on sofas, grunt unintelligibly and only listen to what's on their Walkmans. If you want to know what it is like to be 14 - or if you're 14 and want to see life reflected on stage - the Oxford Stage Company's production of Junk is a stark corrective. Melvin Burgess's disarmingly frank novel won two awards, hit the headlines because of its subject-matter, and went straight into schools as a "text" for teachers and a "resource" for Drug Educational Officers. Now it's on tour.

Walks: In search of the modern pastoral

A rural walk, an invigorating intake of fresh air - 'tis the season to be hiking. But, writes Richard D North, what does the countryside amount to today - and how does this resonate with urban life?

New Films: Clerks meet Tom Stoppard in New Jersey

Also showing

Review: Very tragical mirth

THEATRE: The Popular Mechanicals: Arts Theatre, London

Theatre: Review: A patently good invention

The Invention of Love

Wilde: about the man

He, famously, had nothing to declare except his genius. And, to judge by the new crop of plays and films, neither have we. But exactly which Oscar are we going Wilde about: the flamboyant bisexual or the subversive aesthete?

Going out: The Shropshire lad comes to town

Tom Stoppard and AE Housman make an unlikely combination. Housman was a late starter who didn't achieve recognition until his sixties; Stoppard produced his first international hit at 29. And while Stoppard's plays juggle a dizzying array of intellectual and artistic ideas - from Bauhaus to quantum physics - Housman is best known for a naive pastoral poetry that pines for a land of lost content, blue-remembered hills and cuckoos.

Theatre: Mistakes, he's had a few, but then again, too few to mention

Although he abandoned his brief acting career years ago - "I didn't travel far, but at least I learnt from the journey" - last year Richard Eyre had an uncredited cameo role in a National Theatre production. Nobody saw him. In fact, his appearance was entirely fictional. He was conjured up as a character in Violin Time, a deliriously ludicrous comic monologue by Ken Campbell, Britain's comic maestro of theatrical anarchy. Campbell spun a yarn in which Eyre warned him of a dire predicament: "You are the victim of Famation of Character... They've got you on the hamster/ gerbil treadwheel now. It means your next show has got to be better than they said your last one was." Campbell is still spinning, but two weeks from today Eyre will open his production of Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love, his National Theatre swansong, before stepping quietly off the wheel of success.

THEATRE: The Seagull; Donmar Warehouse, London

Actors are supposed to wish each other "Break a leg"; you suspect that Mark Bazeley has heard rather too many jokes on that score just lately, so we'll just take it as read. The reason I mention this is that, as we were informed on the way into the Donmar for the press night of The Seagull last Thursday, Bazeley had injured his leg and would therefore be playing Konstantin, the romantic young writer, with the aid of a crutch: this was not, we were assured, meant to be taken as part of the interpretation. As it turned out, the crutch suited the part rather well, heightening the sense that Konstantin, with his high artistic ideals and his fits of self-loathing and despair, is an outsider; and in Bazeley's fine performance, the intensity of his inner anger seemed to be magnified by the scuttling, awkward gait he was forced to adopt from time to time.

Theatre: Umabatha: the Zulu Macbeth Globe Theatre, London

In Tom Stoppard's Dogg's Hamlet, the audience is confronted with a group of actors apparently speaking English - you see them building a stage, shouting "Plank", "Slab" and "Block" to one another, and it seems obvious that these are just ordinary words to describe the objects they are using. But it turns out that they are speaking an entirely new and foreign language that happens to be composed of English words. In this language "Plank" actually means "Ready", "Slab" means "OK" and "Block" means "Next". Some meanings are inverted entirely: a schoolboy's respectful "Good day, sir" comes out as "Useless git."
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