Bottom's heirs go Global

Tales with a modern twist still keep audiences enthralled, while others swoon over Will and Gareth. Heather Neill reports

* Donkey days

A would-be lover transformed into an ass - ring any bells? Shakespeare's Bottom may have been inspired by Lucius, hero of Apuleius's The Golden Ass. This sprawling, picaresque novel was written in the second century AD. Elizabethans read it in translation and Peter Oswald has done his best to discipline the story in a new play for Shakespeare's Globe. Full of incident, rudery, wild humour and cross-dressing, Tim Carroll's colourful production mixes music hall, circus and pantomime with a beautifully sung mini-opera in the middle. Mark Rylance is hilarious and touching as Lucius. But be sure to read the synopsis first. Tickets: 020 7902 1400.

* Prom specials

On September 8, Blue Peter Prom - Fiesta! will feature presenters Matt Baker and Liz Barker with 14-year-old international violinist Chloe Hanslip and guitarist Paco Pe$a in a Spanish-themed event at the Royal Albert Hall. Extracts from Carmen, works by Spanish composers and a new piece, Carnival of Rhythms, make up the programme. Tickets: 020 7589 8212.

On September 15, pop idols Will Young and Gareth Gates perform with an all-star line-up at CBBC Prom in the Park. Tickets: 0870 899 8001. The concert will be broadcast live on CBBC Digital. Prom information and booking:

* Architects' delight

An exhibition of newly commissioned art about architecture, Fabrications: New Art amp; Urban Memory in Manchester, will open at the Cube in the city on September 11. The exhibition and its education programme accompanies a three-year research project at the school of art history, University of Manchester. The education programme, Frozen Memory: Layers and Locations, will investigate old maps, photographs, drawings, paintings and written text to discover individual and communal memories. There will be a public forum on September 25, an Inset day on October 30 and a scholarly symposium on October 11. Information: 0161 237 5525;

* Frogs at the Fringe

Until August 26, the 78th Street Theatre Lab from New York will be at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms performing their unusual take on the old story about the prince who was turned into a frog and could only return to his proper state when kissed by a beautiful woman. The distinguished American playwright David Mamet has written a dark and insistently moral tale in which the vocabulary makes no concession to the very young. The prince (Toby Wherry) does not win a princess and live happily ever after. Instead, he learns a lesson about the arrogance of the privileged. Tickets: 0131 226 00002428. Information on the company:

* Runaway tales

Ubersausage Productions's Fairly Tales was one of the most enjoyable shows I saw in Edinburgh last week. Four people in a pub basement make up stories for audiences of all ages. Sheer inventiveness is the secret and the company respond swiftly to each other's flights of fancy. The audience provides words and each of these becomes the basis for a tale. Someone designing four-legged trousers, someone else surfing with mermaids and a convoluted tale of a manic banker were on the menu the day I attended. Every session is unique. Until August 25, C Venue 202. Tickets: 0131 226 0000. Information and future bookings:

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