Arts features

He's quite a Downton character - and now he's taking them to the West End

By Brigit Grant, January 16, 2014

It is hard to imagine anyone looking less like Cora the Countess of Grantham than Luke Kempner. Tall, dark and ruggedly handsome, the 26-year-old, who hails from Horley in Surrey, is anything but Lady of the Manor material — least of all a Crawley.


Where are they now? Bickering like it was 1998

By Simon Round, January 9, 2014

Birds of a Feather (ITV)

Some 15 years have passed since the last episode of this hugely popular ’90s sitcom and there has been a major change — the BBC turned down the opportunity of a new series and so Sharon, Tracey and Dorien have decamped to ITV.


Happy days after hard knocks

By John Nathan, January 9, 2014

Many over-40s will recall that their teenage Saturday evenings could only begin in earnest when the peppy theme tune to American sitcom Happy Days started up. The plots never mattered much. It was the characters that counted. Most of them belonged to the square Cunningham family with their cuddly patriarch Howard and their improbably well-behaved teenage son Richie.


Director Teplitzky gives Kidman and Firth a traumatic experience

By Simon Round, December 23, 2013

If your filmic preference is a storyline about a man struggling to recover from trauma, look no further than Jonathan Teplitzky.

Two years ago, the Australian director released Burning Man — a powerful drama about a chef whose life disintegrates following the death of his partner from cancer. It stemmed from Teplitzky’s own experience of bereavement and bringing up his son alone.


Review of Bernstein's Candide

By John Nathan, December 20, 2013

Maestro Leonard Bernstein’s musical version of Voltaire’s 18th-century novel was repeatedly worked on by a procession of other great talents .Lillian Hellman brought the idea to Bernstein and Dorothy Parker, Stephen Sondheim and Bernstein himself all had a hand in the lyrics, although the main lyric-writing credit goes to the poet, Richard Wilbur.


American Psycho Review - A sophisticated production

By John Nathan, December 20, 2013

Matt Smith packs more defined pecs than you might expect of a former Doctor Who. The ripped torso rises out of the Almeida’s stage as smoothly as a cassette ejecting from a high-end, late-20th-century tape deck. Smith is the latest incarnation of Patrick Bateman, who lives in the raging materialism of late-20th-century New York and whose favourite objects include his Sony Walkman and his body.


To tree or not to tree? That is the question

By Charlotte Oliver, December 19, 2013

Doing anything special on December 25? Christmas is a polarising time for UK Jews. Some enter enthusiastically into a secular celebration, sitting down with family and friends to a (kosher) turkey dinner, handing out presents and pulling crackers. Others get into the spirit of the season of goodwill by volunteering at a variety of charities.


Making Horrible Histories into comedy gold

By Simon Rocker, December 13, 2013

Dave Cohen has been in the comedy business for 30 years, writing for such shows as Spitting Image and Have I Got News for You. But lampooning politicians or celebrities is not his greatest claim to fame.


Leonard Bernstein's daughter recalls a man of letters

By Jenni Frazer, December 5, 2013

It’s 13 years since the death of the multi-talented composer and conductor, Leonard Bernstein. But recent events have kept Bernstein’s prodigious talents in the public eye.


Saul Milton is keen to remain in the background as Chase and Status hit the big time

By Paul Lester, December 5, 2013

Chase and Status are the most successful electronic music duo in Britain, having assumed that mantle from The Chemical Brothers. Their albums and singles regularly reach the higher echelons of the charts, they have remixed the great and good of UK dance from Plan B to Tinie Tempah and they are the British collaborators of choice for international music royalty including Rihanna and Jay-Z.