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Film: Byzantium

Director Neil Jordan (Interview With The Vampire) looks to reclaim the genre from the Twi-hard geeks and the vid-game hordes here with his latest, an excellent gothic yet contemporary bloodsucker reinvention.

Gemma Arterton, a world away from her harmless tease in last outing Tamara Drewe, is Clara, a 200-year-old vampire and whore. Teenaged Saoirse Ronan, who turned down Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit for Jordan’s movie, excels too as her daughter Eleanor (their vampiric pasts explain away this minimal age difference), both hiding out in a British seaside town from mysterious vampires who won’t let them enjoy their eternal life. But is immortality really to be relished? 

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan | 15 | 118mins 

 

Film: The Purge

Unemployment is at one per cent, crime an all-time low: it’s a new USA. The catch? For one night a year crime is legal and anything goes. This home invasion horror thriller, from the guys behind Sinister, has a simple premise and, done right, could be a nasty shocker. Ethan Hawke’s the dad out to protect his family from the murderous masked viligantes outside. 

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey | 15 | 85mins | On general release May 31

 

Film: The Big Wedding

Robert De Niro and Susan Sarandon head the all-star cast (Robin Williams, Diane Keating, Amanda Seyfried) as the long-separated parents of Ben Barnes’ to-be married son who must play Catholic for his loved one’s devoutly religious mother. An ensemble family comedy that sits alongside Bob’s Meet The Fockers roles rather than the mean and moody parts that made him.   

On general release May 29

Theatre: The Hothouse

After scaring everyone to death with his Macbeth reinvention, director Jamie Lloyd goes for laughs in his snappy Harold Pinter revival. Simon Russell Beale and John Simm star in this prescient black comedy about insubordination in an unspecified institution – but he ensures the reality of torture and misplaced authority isn’t lost. LK

Trafalgar Studios Whitehall, SW1A 2DY.
Until Aug 3. £10+ 
Tube | Charing Cross  
thehothousewestend.com

 

Theatre: Public Enemy

This 1882 drama is updated to the Seventies, as Nick Fletcher’s small Norwegian town medical officer threatens to reveal a secret about the contaminated public baths to the detriment of everyone else. Richard Jones’ interval-free production doesn’t always hit the mark but makes it very clear that self-interest rules. LK

The Young Vic Theatre The Cut, SE1 8LZ. 
Until June 8. £10+ 
Tube | Southwark  
youngvic.org

Comedy: Peacock & Gamble....

...Don’t Even Want To Be On Television Anyways. Known as the two nicest boys in comedy, Ray and Ed, as their mothers know them, bring their much lauded, totally loved, utterly ace, charmingly idiotic tour to the ol’ Big Smoke. Make sure this three-night residency is on this week’s to-do list. 

Soho Theatre 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE. 
May 30-Jun 1. £10+ 
Tube |  Tott Crt Rd  
sohotheatre.com 

 

Exhibition: Sensational Butterflies

Each year this hot and humid tent on the lawn of the Natural History Museum becomes home to hundreds of tropical crysali that arrive from around the world. You can step inside, marvel at the birthed beauties, and maybe catch one as it makes the journey from inside its hairy home to the outside world. Exceptional. 

Natural History Museum East Lawn, 
Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD. 
Until Sep 15. £3.60+  
Tube | South Kensington  
nhm.org

 

Photos: Johan Persson 


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