4 MARCH 1972, Page 20

The Week in the Arts


New in London: Well, not quite new — The Caretaker was the play that really put Harold Pinter on the map back in 1960. The revival at the Mermaid, opening March 2, has Leonard Rossiter in the old Donald Pleasance part, with John Hurt and Jeremy Kemp as the other two characters. Current and Commended: The Eugene O'Neill blockbuster, Long Day's Journey Into Night, which put the National Theatre back in business, is on till March 11 (New Theatre); Richard Briers — less pugnacious than Alan Bates was in the role — is now playing the homosexual don in Simon Gray's Butley (Criterion); Alan Bennett's Getting On has Kenneth More as a Labour MP with career and domestic problems (Queen's); Alec Guinness is worth seeing as the unseeing barrister, playwright John Mortimer's father in his memoir play, A Voyage Round My Father (Haymarket); Sleuth is a thriller that sends up thrillers (St Martin's); Move Over Mrs Markham is an extraordinarily funny farce (Vaudeville); and, among musicals, Show Boat offers spectacular nostalgia (Adelphi) and Company a tart view of urban American marriage and the acidulous Elaine Stritch (Her Majesty's). The Fringe: A 'talk-out' on The Writer's Lot by a group of playwrights who work mostly on the theatre's fringe, including Trevor Griffiths, David Hare, John McGrath and David Helliwell, who talk about aspects of their plight, under the chairmanship of the Guardian's fringe critic, Nicholas de Jongh, at the Open Space, March 6 at 8 p.m.


It was hardly kind of Sadler's Wells Opera to open the latest stage of their Ring cycle, The Rhinegold, on March 1, at the Coliseum, and thus draw the reviewers away from their old home, the Sadler's Wells Theatre, where the New Opera Company premieres a double-bill on the same night: Anthony Gilbert's The Scene Machine and Elizabeth Lutyens's Time Off? Not a Ghost of a Chance! There are only two other performances of the latter (March 3 and 4); The Rhinegold's subsequent performances this month March 4, 14, 18, 21 and 25. At the Royal Opera House, the Royal Opera-Royal Ballet season is interrupted by four guest performances by the Bavarian State Opera from Munich (March 7, 8, 9 and 10).


Worth seeing in London: You can hardly go wrong at the Cinecenta, a four-cinema complex in Panton Street (off Leicester Square), which offers Klute with Jane Fonda's award-winning performance, Gumshoe with Albert Finney having Bogart fantasies, A New Leaf with (and by) Mike Nichols's old partner Elaine May, and — this is the doubtful one — Straw Dogs, on which opinions widely differ. The violence of Kubrick's Clockwork Orange (Warner West End) struck critics, including ours, as more acceptably horrifying. Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times is revived (Paramount) and they don't make them like that any more. The French Connection is fast-paced documentary-style cops-and-robbers based on fact (Astoria and Carlton). Sean Connery plays 007 in Diamonds Are Forever (Odeon, Leicester Square, and New Victoria) and in a season of oldies (London Pavilion).


Don't miss the triple-bill at the Hayward, especially the Mark Rothko paintings (two dozen big ones) which share the space with Miro sculptures (just for fun) and the variable furniture, and architectural designs of Rietveld (on until March 12); British Sculptors '72 is big-scale stuff and some of it is worth the space it takes up at the Royal Academy (until March 5); an impressive show of seventeenth-century Flemish Drawings from the Lugt Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum (until March 26); and if you are pondering whether Titian's Death of Actaeon is worth a contribution to save it for the nation, you can have a look at it at the National Gallery.


Coinciding with the London premiere of the film, Antony and Cleopatra, its star, Charlton Heston is featured in Cinema (ITV, March 2). Heston also directs the picture and explains: " Neither Laurence Olivier nor Orson Welles available ... " See the story of Sotheby's in An Empire in Art (BBC2, \March 4).