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Arts

Kelly Macdonald puzzles out her character in ‘Puzzle’

Growing up in Glasgow, Kelly Macdonald discovered a knack for putting together jigsaw puzzles. With no instruction, she figured out to begin working at the edges and keep filling in. Her favorite puzzle depicted a Paddington Bear relaxing by the river. She would fit the pieces together then bust the cuddly creature into smithereens and repeat the procedure. The 42-year-old actress hadn’t thought of her childhood hobby until offered the lead character, Agnes, in the movie “Puzzle.” She is a traditional wife and mother around Macdonald’s age whose nascent talent for constructing puzzles frees her from her confined life. To Macdonald, Agnes herself is a puzzle.

Remembering ‘SNL’ star Gilda Radner at opening night of SF Jewish Film Festival

The Castro’s majestic screen flickered Thursday night with passing images of rock star Candy Slice, variety show host — in her own bedroom — Judy Miller, cockeyed advice specialist Roseanne Roseannadanna, professional nerd Lisa Loopner, Howdy Doody’s widow (complete with strings) and newscaster Baba Wawa — all indelible characters created by Gilda Radner on “Saturday Night Live.” The comedian with many faces was the subject of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s opening night film “Love, Gilda.

‘Fun Home’ Tony Award-winner Lisa Kron talks about the Five Lesbian Brothers

After a quarter-century working as an actress and writer for small cutting-edge theater companies, Lisa Kron hardly considered herself part of the commercial theatrical world. But a funny thing happened on her way to developing the musical “Fun Home” for New York’s nonprofit Public Theater. The show was discovered by critics and audiences alike and, on an accelerated trajectory, wound up a huge hit on Broadway. In 2015, Kron, who had never before written a musical, won Tony Awards for best book and best original score (the latter shared with Jeanine Tesori). “I wasn’t looking for a commercial breakthrough. I wasn’t looking to be on Broadway.

Dennis Potter's Pennies from Heaven reviewed - archive, 1978

8 March 1978: Potter’s enchanting musical is delicious, delightful and de-lovely with a dark undertow

Tunes – or chunes, as Arthur Parker, the song salesman, talking with the perpetual common cold of the Cockney, pronounces it – tunes do help you breathe more easily. During the rainy 30s a succession of songs insisted that sunshine was coming. Soft-centred, sweet-toothed songs that old Black Magic. There wasn’t too much bread about so let them eat chocolates.

Songs that the trade at the time wickedly called womb tremblers because they stirred you up inside like a spoon … moon… June. Ah Bisto.

Related: Under the skin of Dennis Potter

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Televising parliament: Nancy Banks-Smith on MPs’ affair with the TV camera - archive, 26 January 1988

26 January 1988 Nancy Banks-Smith muses on MPs’ affair with the TV camera

It is one of life’s little delights to watch MPs being interviewed in the freezing dusk outside the House of Commons. Sometimes a light but drenching rain is falling. Sometimes a brisk wind picks up a strand of hair, laid tidily across the MP’s pate, and streams it out side-ways. It is, one is cheered to see, an east wind. Sometimes passers-by point at them, hoping perhaps that they are being arrested for importuning. Sometimes, to illustrate a debate in Parliament, a producer hires some artist of marked incompetence or malevolence to draw the speakers.

Related: Bevan makes the case for televising parliament: from the archive, 4 November 1959

Related: From the archive, 10 March 1988: MPs say 'yes' to cameras in the Commons

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