The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
A cherry-pick of some of the best on offer in the weeks to come
The Cunning Little Vixen
Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street
Leos Janacek's opera tells the heartwarming tale of a mischievous fox, with a score containing some of the composer's most enchanting music. Dream sequences, the wedding march of the foxes and a rousing finale paint a glorious picture of the countryside the composer loved so much. Director David Pountney describes the opera as a "joyous cartoon comedy yet one which which celebrates the natural cycle of life and death in a blaze of triumphant optimism." Should be worth a visit, especially for those new to opera.
Impressions Gallery, Centenary Square
March 1-April 5 2013
The Inspiration for Bradford Is... comes from Gillian Wearing who asked strangers to write a message on a card and then be photographed. Each group or individual was asked to give their opinion on what Bradford is to them or what it could be and the result is a show of images created with a cross-section of the community from street portraiture and family events, a youth forum and a pop-up shop in Bradford city centre.
Until March 30
Shakespeare's hatchet job on the reputation of the Duke of Gloucester gets another run-out at the highly regarded Tobacco Factory. It's an opportunity to watch the ruthless duke charm, deceive and murder his way to power in another of Shakespeare's plays which, in the interests of arse-licking the incumbent monarch - Elizabeth I - pays scant attention to historical veracity. But with a luckless brother drowned in a butt of malmsey, two young nephews brutally murdered in the Tower and Richard III offering his kingdom for a horse - what's not to like for those of a republican persuasion?
The Book Of Mormon
Prince Of Wales Theatre Coventry Street, W1
Until July 27
The Book Of Mormon is a musical satire on religion by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, with music by Robert Lopez, which has won all number of gongs since it opened on Broadway two years ago. Lampooning organised religion and traditional musicals, it tells the story of two naive and optimistic young Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in northern Uganda to evangelise. But they have trouble connecting with the locals, who are more worried about war, famine, poverty and Aids than religion. Certainly out of the ordinary as Broadway musicals go and early booking is advised.