Arts feature

Playing a public enemy

Toby Jones, Karl Rove in the film W, explains his character’s relationship with President Bush Condoleezza Rice’s teeth lie discarded beside her bottle of water. Colin Powell’s wig needs adjustment. Across the table, Scott Glenn removes Donald Rumsfeld’s steel-rimmed spectacles and continues his description of the seven months he spent in the Philippines shooting Apocalypse

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Portrait of the artists

Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian National Gallery until 18 January 2009 When people think of the Renaissance, it’s to Italy that their thoughts immediately turn. The names of Giotto, Masaccio, Leonardo and Michelangelo spring to mind, although the Renaissance in northern Europe was of equal importance, as a glance at Dürer, van Eyck or

Distinctive vision

Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision Manchester Art Gallery, until 11 January 2009 Needlepoint nose-dived during the 19th century. This came about, like so many errors of taste, through a process of democratisation. The ladylike pursuit of the leisured classes penetrated the parlours of the many. In place of hand-drawn designs devised by the stitcher,

Rossini rarity

Matilde di Shabran Royal Opera House Aida English National Opera Iolanta Royal Festival Hall Matilde di Shabran is one of Rossini’s least performed operas, and having seen the Royal Opera’s production, which derives from the Pesaro festival of 2004, I understand why. Broadly speaking, it is a comedy without jokes or other humour, and in

Lead us not into temptation

Blowing Whistles Leicester Square Theatre Faces in the Crowd Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Oh, what a gay play. The exhibitionist bravado of gay culture, its carnival antics and exuberant self-sufficiency convince us straight folk that we have nothing more to learn about this colourful subterranean neverland. Matthew Todd’s comedy is packed with welcome surprises.

Timely resprouting

No one quite believes it, but the new Guns N’ Roses album is finally coming out. Axl Rose has been working on it for 17 years, demonstrating, as rarely before, the fine line between perfectionism and padded cell. It is a reminder, though, that in these busy times quite a few acts have gone missing

Cold comfort

Quantum of Solace 12A, Nationwide Quantum of Solace is the latest James Bond movie, which I thought I would make clear from the start. These films arrive with such little pre-publicity and hoo-ha they can often slip by quite unnoticed. (As one regular cinema goer told me, ‘I’d have at least liked the chance to

Dickens delivers

About 25 years ago, during a particularly bad acid trip, I had my soul stolen by Mister Migarette, an evil glowing man with a huge hat, like the mad hatter’s, who lived in the ash on the end of my cigarette. It put me off smoking for a while and I considered giving up. But