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11:00am Tuesday 25th September 2012
As the curtain fell on The Mousetrap at Milton Keynes on Monday, the unmasked murderer stepped forward to tell the audience we were now all partners in crime. “We ask you to keep the secret of who dunnit closely in your hearts.”
3:23pm Thursday 20th September 2012
11:00am Thursday 30th August 2012
10:00am Thursday 30th August 2012
10:00am Thursday 30th August 2012
1:57pm Wednesday 29th August 2012
1:51pm Wednesday 29th August 2012
Famous as a radio presenter, comedian and novelist, Sandi Toksvig possesses yet another side to her exuberant talents, as a writer for the stage. After supplying the book for the musical Big Night Out and co-authoring the comedy Pocket Dreams, she next turned her attention to serious drama. Bully Boy, which studies the effect of wars on those we send to fight them, opened to critical acclaim in Southampton last year. With the same two-strong cast — the hugely respected Anthony Andrews and charismatic newcomer Joshua Miles — it is at Northampton’s Royal&Derngate before moving to London where it will open the new St James Theatre, Victoria, on September 18.
1:38pm Wednesday 29th August 2012
Though Terry Johnson’s Hysteria was named Best Comedy in the 1994 Olivier Awards, the play is not exactly, well, hysterical. Unlike Johnson’s next success Dead Funny, which supplies what the title appears to promise, Hysteria — skilfully revived under the direction of its author — is only fitfully amusing. I laughed about as often as its protagonist Sigmund Freud tells us he did on a visit to Ben Travers’s Rookery Nook: four times, he says, with characteristic precision.
10:24am Thursday 23rd August 2012
2:43pm Wednesday 22nd August 2012
As part of the £12m revamp of Kensington Palace recently unveiled, a new permanent exhibition explores the life and reign of one of the palace’s most famous residents, Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Victoria. There are four new visitor routes inside the palace. Victoria Revealed is one. Showing more than 300 items, it tells the story of Victoria as princess, queen, wife, mother and widow. By and large, it does so in her own words, quoting from her diaries — an assiduous diary writer, she began a journal aged 12 — her letters to Prince Albert, to ministers and so on. In the room where Victoria is thought to have been born, we see childhood clothes, dolls and toys, among them her black silk baby shoes, a toy carriage, and a collection of dolls modelled on court ladies and stage idols. Victoria is mostly remembered as a matronly figure, in mourning for much of her reign. But the first dress she wore as a monarch and her ivory silk wedding dress (on show for the first time in a decade) reveal a diminutive figure with a tiny waistline. The restored Red Saloon displays the plain (originally) black dress with white muslin collar that the 18-year-old Victoria wore when she attended her first official Privy Council meeting on June 20, 1837, the first document she approved as monarch, signed ‘Victoria R’, and a cabinet of her jewellery. A soundscape tells us that Victoria “went through the whole ceremony . . . with perfect calmness . . . and graceful modesty.” Paintings include the ‘secret’ portrait Victoria had made for her beloved Albert as a birthday present: German artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s (1845) portrayal shows an alluring young woman, bare shouldered and hair down. In a later Winterhalter portrait (1856) she wears a bright red dress and magnificent brooch in which is set the 1,000-year-old Koh-i-noor diamond. Wearing red was unusual for Victoria, for she favoured black even before Prince Albert’s death in 1861.