Brian cox

Player Kings proves that Shakespeare can be funny

Play-goers, beware. Director Robert Icke is back in town, and that means a turgid four-hour revival of a heavyweight classic with every actor screaming, bawling, weeping, howling and generally overdoing it. But here’s a surprise. Player Kings, Icke’s new version of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, is a dazzling piece of entertainment and the only exaggerated performance comes from Sir Ian McKellen who plays Falstaff, quite rightly, as a noisy, swaggering dissembler. Those who imagine ‘Shakespearean comedy’ to be an oxymoron will be pleasantly surprised Small details deliver large dividends. The tavern scenes are set in an east London hipster bar with chipped wooden tables and exposed brickwork. Richard

Sturgeon’s swipe at Scottish voters

There was a lot more rubbish than usual at the Edinburgh festivals this August. With refuse workers out on strike, the debris piled high in the Scottish capital and other cities, much to the dismay of visiting tourists. But one attendee who remains clearly undaunted is Nicola ‘friend of the stars’ Sturgeon, who last night returned to make her fifth appearance at Edinburgh’s festivals to interview pro-independence actor Brian Cox. And it wasn’t just the local bins overflowing with garbage, as Sturgeon and Cox shared in an orgy of congratulatory nationalist self-love. ‘I just don’t give a fuck any more,’ he declared. ‘I can’t wait to reach that stage,’ she replied.

It is time for me to ‘get right with the Lord’

‘But you look so well!’ How many times have I heard that lately. Kindly meant by most, but for a few it’s outrageous, after all they have heard or read about my health, and they feel cheated of the mushrooms growing out of the side of my head that they’d been hoping for. Either way I’m surprised by the compliment. Yes, the tan and this expensive shaving balm Catriona bought me, and now hair again, make me appear unravaged from the neck up. ‘But you should see the rest of it,’ I laugh gaily, detailing the bulge in my neck where the chemotherapy tube remains in place; the young Brigitte

My existential crisis was straight out the terrible twos’ playbook

Early on St Valentines Day I walked down to the car park where the raindrops were knocking off the young almond blossom petals. The slow-dropping rain was refreshing after the January drought. In the car park the red car was shining wet instead of furry with dust. I drove for 20 minutes on a winding road through low hills, intensively cultivated since the days of Roger the Norman, but abandoned since the Grande Guerre. My destination was a commercial laboratory in the nearest town for a pre-scan blood test. On the journey I went over in my mind what Catriona had said to me the night before. I wasn’t yet

A highly polished exercise in treading water: Season 3 of Succession reviewed

At one point in an early Simpsons, Homer comes across an old issue of TV Guide, and finds the listing for the sitcom Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. ‘Gomer upsets Sergeant Carter,’ he reads — adding with a fond chuckle, ‘I’ll never forget that episode.’ Even for British viewers unfamiliar with the show, the joke is clear: that’s what happens in every episode. Sad to say, this popped into my head while watching the first in the new series of Succession. The acting, script and direction are as brilliant as ever. Nonetheless, once Logan Roy began yet again to dangle the possibility of becoming the next CEO of his media empire before