The tempest

A Blakean heaven or hell: fish with coloured lanterns and teeth like primeval beasts

Sometime in the early 1940s, when he was living in exile in LA, Thomas Mann picked up a copy of the National Geographic. Leafing through it, he found an article whose strapline was a Jules Verne novel in summary: ‘Half a Mile Down: Strange Creatures, Beautiful and Grotesque as Figments of Fancy, Reveal Themselves at Windows of the Bathysphere.’ Next to dark, exotic images of what appeared to be alien life from the abyssal depths of the sea was an account of how the author, a scientist named William Beebe, had become the 20th century’s first aquanaut in exploits so sensational that live radio broadcasts were made of his dives,

The show works a treat: Globe’s The Tempest reviewed

Southwark Playhouse has a reputation for small musicals with big ambitions. Tasting Notes is set in a wine bar run by a reckless entrepreneur, LJ, whose business bears her name. In real life, LJ’s bar would go bust within weeks. It serves vintage wines to a clientele of wealthy tipplers who chug back large tureens of Malbec and claret but who eat no food. The staff help themselves to free champers and Burgundy whenever they choose, and the boss fusses around like a mother hen making sure her brood are safe and content. Bad punctuality is never punished and the staff improvise each shift as they go along. But the

Not even a genius could make Much Ado About Nothing funny

The RSC’s 2014 version of Much Ado is breathtaking to look at. Sets, lighting and costumes are exquisitely done, even if the location is not established with absolute clarity. The date is Christmas 1918 and we’re in a stately home that has been converted into a billet, or a hospital, for returning soldiers. The prickly Beatrice (Michelle Terry) seems to be an unemployed aristocrat working as a volunteer nurse. She fusses around the ward making discreet enquiries about an old flame, Benedick, whose memory she can’t shake off. Enter Benedick played by Edward Bennett and the fun starts. These two absolutely get inside the skins of their characters. Terry’s portrait