Books on films, musicals and ballets

Books on films, musicals and ballets


ULTIMATE STAR WARS (Dorling Kindersley £35.00) is an encyclopaedic guide to the galaxy. I know somebody who has decided that the most important thing this Christmas is to be among the first to see the latest Star Wars film.  No fan could ask for a more stunning book, an epic treasure trove of pictures and information. Ultimate is indeed the word: an amazing entertaining resource for children of all ages. The act work is knock-out.

THE LADY IN THE VAN by Alan Bennett (Faber & Faber (£14.99). If a filthy old lady parked her van outside of your house, would you invite her to park in your driveway and then allow her to stay for fifteen years? I don’t think so. Here then is the original memoir, the film script, Bennett’s diary during the shoot and an introduction by the director of the play and film, Nicholas Hytner. All you have to do now is go and see Maggie Smith’s performance. The most heartfelt statement in the film is a diatribe against caring.

MUSICALS (Dorling and Kindersley £25). This colourful volume concentrates on Broadway and Hollywood rather than the West End. It’s great fun to dip into but may irritate the true musical aficionado. How can a book be described as the definitiveillustrated story when there are no images of Carol Channing inHello, Dolly, no Ethel Merman or Angela Lansbury in Gypsy, no Ron Moody in Oliver!, no Zero Mostel or Frankie Howerd in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and no Judi Dench in A Little Night Music. There is an interesting appendix called Other Musicals but even here you cannot find The Boy Friend or Assassins.

CARLOS ACOSTA at the Royal Ballet (Oberon/ROH £35) is a pictorial celebration of one of the great dancers of our time and a retrospective of his phenomenal success and popularity in a variety of roles. The photographs bring back many happy memories of a great career and the rapturous reception his performances received. He is admired by his peers for his charismatic talent, his dynamic technique, his raw physicality, his warmth and sensitivity, his generosity and humility. He has been an inspiration to many dancers. The book is a lovely souvenir for all dance fans.

ROYAL BALLET 2015/16 (Oberon/ROH £19.99). If you go regularly to the Royal Opera House you will want this attractively produced paperback, which is an admirable picture-led souvenir and record of the season and one which will certainly whet your appetite to see more ballet.

GREAT FILM DIRECTORS by Andy Tuohy with Matt Glaby ( Cassell Illustrated £14.99) This could be a book you could give to a teenager who is just beginning to take a serious interest in cinema and wants a quick  popular non-academic way of finding out who are the great directors and which of their films to see.

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