Arts and Entertainment Shock treatment: Billy Brown, Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott in ‘Hostages’

Just as well that this pilot episode got stuck straight into the action

Lulu, Royal Opera House, London<br>One Evening, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London<br>Mitridate, Sadler's Wells, London

Alban Berg's 'Lulu' was never a date opera, but a new production makes a bleak story even bleaker. The joy comes in the searing music from the pit

Great Works: Evening on Karl Johan (1892), Edvard Munch

Bergen Art Museum, Norway

Dorian Gray, King's Theatre, Edinburgh<br/>Mortal Engine, Playhouse, Edinburgh<br/>Steve Reich Evening, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Matthew Bourne's ballet of Oscar Wilde's novella falls down on too many levels

Film: It was so good, I even forgot to get frightened

The Sixth Sense Director: M Night Shyamalan Starring: Bruce Willis, Olivia Williams, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette (107 mins; 15)

Dando Murder: `Jill was devoted sister to me'

NIGEL DANDO, Jill's brother, said yesterday that when he saw his sister three weeks ago, she could barely contain her excitement over her September wedding. Mr Dando, chief reporter on the Bristol Evening Post, said their Sunday lunch revolved around her marriage to Alan Farthing. Yesterday both men were inconsolable.

Dando Shooting: Brother tells of moment he heard of the murder

JILL DANDO'S brother said yesterday that when he saw his sister three weeks ago, she could barely contain her excitement over her forthcoming wedding. Nigel Dando, the chief reporter on the Bristol Evening Post, said their Sunday lunch revolved around her wedding to Alan Farthing. Yesterday both men were inconsolable.

The Critics: Thank heaven for little girls

Hollywood likes its children to be cunning. It often calls on them to bring lovers back together and outwit the vile. A bargain is struck - life will be innocent and delightful if the child can achieve something monumentally adult first. Nancy Meyers's remake of The Parent Trap (U), the 1961 Disney film, does this. It has twin 11-year-old girls accidentally reunited after years of separation, plotting to bring their divorced parents (Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson) back together.

Racing: Big handicaps lure punters

William Hill reported a busy betting day yesterday on Saturday's Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon with most of the market leaders for the six furlongs race attracting support.

Cabaret Marianne Faithfull: An Evening in the Weimar Republic Almeida, London

The sky outside the Almeida is a luminous backdrop of rococo red and gold, as if something magnificent and ruined smoulders on the horizon, but it can't pacify an audience kept waiting a good half-hour tonight. "Two minutes before she was due on, I saw her go into the bar," someone murmurs, as the punters begin a half-hearted slow hand clap. When Faithfull does appear, it's with a lush, bouncing stagger, only partly due, perhaps, to her towering heels. Girded in principal boy brocades showing a terrifying amount of milky cleavage, she sports the baby-blond hair of her youth (she is 50) and nails tipped with blue varnish, as if she'd caught her fingers in a door. These aren't the only bruises on display. Faithfull flies her past like a skull and crossbones, and those who've not read her full and frank autobiography can still perceive some of it in her mouth, now the fragile smile of an aristocratic ex-convent girl, now the rictus of Mick Jagger's notoriously druggy inamorata, who subsequently survived years of debauchery and sleeping rough. The show she's touring is a tough, anguished streak through Kurt Weill and Bertholt Brecht and, though others have tried to boost their credentials this way, the work fits Faithfull like a glove. Its themes of disillusion and bloody militarism echo both her bitter past and her lineage; father a major in the British Intelligence, mother an Austro-Hungarian Jew active in the Resistance (Bolsheviks and Nazis alike denounced the art of pre-war Weimar as decadent because it was Jewish). Faithfull interprets these squalid, witty laments with a melodrama that shows she's half in love with Berlin, half in love with herself. Her booze-cracked voice blends nuances of Eartha Kitt and Billie Whitelaw with the sensibility of Beckett, and on "Alabama Song" or "Show me the way to the next whisky bar", with Jeffrey Bernard. On excerpts from The Threepenny Opera, she's a buccaneering Pirate Jenny indicting her pimp MacHeath and flying the flag of rebellious tarts everywhere. But the evening's not all Weill. Lighting a cigarette from a silver case, she drags deeply, retches a smoker's cough, then delivers a towering "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", chest heaving like the prow of the Titanic. Faithfull has found her own world and time. On "Falling In Love Again", she is the Blue Angel par excellence, for "Mack the Knife" she revels in brutality. There are times her voice is a buzz-saw drowning Paul Trueblood's syncopated piano, but not many, and no one better annotates triumph over heartbreak and decay. "Jesus Christ!" she hisses, trying to uncork a bottle of Volvic. On her splayed hand, that bluebird of happiness tattoo is fading, but still clear.

STAYING IN : VIDEO: NEW RELEASES

Muriel's Wedding (15). PJ Hogan's film is a comedy of two moods - a sunny farce with a dark side, which comes to overshadow it. It's at its best when it gives the frumpy heroine (the excellent Toni Collette) free rein to play her Abba songs, jive with her attractive soul-mate (Rachel Griffiths) and dream of svelteness. But Hogan makes a misguided bid for seriousness, bringing in a queasily incongruous cancer plot. It's still one of the comedies of the year - Jane Campion meets "Dancing Queen" - with another great grumpy cameo from Bill Hunter, as Muriel's dad, patriarch to the ultimate dysfunctional family.

Married to the blob

Muriel's Wedding tries to poke fun at soap opera. It ends up poking itself in the eye. Adam Mars-Jones prefers its companion short, the Oscar-winning British animation Bob's Birthday. Plus round-up

THEATRE: Between waking and sleeping

Morning and Evening Hampstead Theatre

Bristol Evening Post holds final dividend: Publisher says recovery will be slow

THE Bristol Evening Post, which last month saw off the soft porn publisher David Sullivan, yesterday held the final dividend, warning that recovery would be slow and that advertising revenues were 'erratic'.

BOOK REVIEW / New terms in Texas: The Evening Star - Larry McMurtry: Orion, pounds 14.99

IT'S HARD not to make the obvious comparisons between Larry McMurtry's literary output and his native state of Texas. Both are big. Both sprawl. And both pump out the goods with regularity, like a herd of bobbing oil-rigs.
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