Arts feature

Under the skin

Marianne Gray talks to John Malkovich about his latest film, his vanity and his first love, the stage When I met John Malkovich to talk about Disgrace, the film of J.M. Coetzee’s novel, he hadn’t seen the film yet and was positively tremulous, if a word like ‘tremulous’ can be associated with the forceful Malkovich.

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Behind the lines

The Artist’s Studio Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 13 December Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, 9 February to 16 May 2010 Compton Verney, in the heart of Warwickshire, settles into its Capability Brown landscape like a grand old diva sinking into a sofa. Some surprise then, as this sparkling art museum constantly raises the senses

Feast for the senses

Mixed Up North Wilton’s Music Hall Letting in Air Old Red Lion Do you love theatre and hate musicals? Let me recommend the work of Robin Soans. In the past five years Soans has established himself as the most successful practitioner of verbatim theatre, plays drawn from the testimony of eyewitnesses. Where musicals aim for

Universal truth

Duke Bluebeard’s Castle English National Opera Swanhunter Opera North Bartok’s only opera, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, shouldn’t be a difficult work to stage, to sing and to play, yet most of my worthwhile experiences of it have been listening to recordings — where it has done notably well. Though the plotline is as simple as can

Rare treat

Quantum Leaps Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Despite the clever in-joke/reference, Quantum Leaps is not exactly a crowd-pulling title for a ballet evening. Last week, outside Sadler’s Wells, a couple of passers-by had trouble imagining how someone could turn a television hit into a ballet. And, on the opening night, a lady was heard querying

Mysterious ways

A Serious Man 15, Nationwide Listen, I love a Jewish story as much as anyone, if not more so, and I even loved Neil Diamond in The Jazz Singer — only kidding; it was horrible! — but this? I am just not sure. Or, to put it another way, if I have one serious problem

Warts and all

With hindsight it was probably a mistake to sit down with my daughter to watch Enid (BBC4, Monday). Before it started, Girl was a massive fan, especially of the Naughtiest Girl series and The Magic Faraway Tree. By the end, she pronounced herself so disgusted with the evil hag that she swore never to read

Great escapes

It’s been difficult enough in this age of instant Googlification to wait even 24 hours until the next instalment of Radio Four’s latest Dickens serial, Our Mutual Friend, is given its 15-minute airing. It’s been difficult enough in this age of instant Googlification to wait even 24 hours until the next instalment of Radio Four’s

Spring promise

Last autumn, I issued a self-denying ordinance. I would not allow myself to plant a single solitary tulip in the garden, except in the large terrace pots. This was because the varieties planted in the open ground had become hopelessly muddled over time, so I wanted to clear the borders of them. We are often

Word pictures

Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting Hayward Gallery, until 10 January 2010 Apparently, Ed Ruscha (born 1937 and pronounced Rew-shay) is widely considered one of the world’s most influential living artists. American, he has been based in Los Angeles all his working life, and is much indebted to the strategies and formal devices of film-making.