A meeting of minds

Whether it's a nine-hour epic about Russian thinkers or an Edinburgh Fringe frolic featuring a princess and a wrestler, Heather Neill has found something for everybody

* Epic of ideas

Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia is a three-play, nine-hour epic chronicling the lives and theories of some of the leading 19th-century Russian thinkers. There are so many facts, ideas and significant characters - Marx has scarcely more than a walk-on role - that one emerges reeling after watching the whole sweep in 12 hours. This is an admirable, ambitious enterprise and perhaps only Stoppard would dare to attempt to make drama out of such sprawling material. And yet, there are times when one wishes he had stuck to his original intention and written one play. Apart from the end of the second play (Shipwreck) when the life of Alexander Herzen, the founder of Russian socialism, who emerges as the trilogy's hero, is struck by personal tragedy, there are few opportunities for emotional involvement. Many characters arrive, sparkle for a moment and disappear or die.

The first play, Voyage, which focuses on the family of the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, has the expected Stoppardian wit and brilliance; Chekhov with more explicit jokes and a more complicated structure. This, surely, was going to be the play. Stephen Dillane plays Herzen with a certain detachment; it is left to Will Keen as the critic Vissarion Belinsky, poor and struggling - unlike most of his radical friends - to burn with passion. Trevor Nunn's direction fills the stage with activity, portraying a whole community whether in Russia, Paris, Geneva or London. Tickets: 020 7452 3000.

* Seeing fingers

Tate Online, sponsored by BT, now includes i-Map (www.tate.org.ukimap), a system which enables blind users to download drawings of details from paintings which are then processed to provide raised images accompanied by a voiced text. The first examples are three pairs of paintings from the Tate's popular Matisse-Picasso exhibition. A fourth pair, one by each of these artists, will be added next month and the resource will gradually be developed to include work by other artists.

* Eisteddfod update

Today sees the culminating ceremony of the National Eisteddfod of Wales at St David's in Pembrokeshire. The Chairing of the Bard celebrates the winner of the most difficult of the poetry competitions. Still to come are choir and recitation competitions tomorrow and a concert on Sunday night. Next year, the venue will be Meifod, near Welshpool in Powys. Information: 02920 763777; www.eisteddfod.org.uk.

* Cardiff originals

The Capsule Gallery's inaugural summer exhibition focuses on painting and features up-and-coming artists as well as Eisteddfod gold medal winners Iwan Bala and Phil Nicol. Original work is on sale for as little as pound;100. Until September 14. Information: 02920 376195.

* Edinburgh fairytale

Deanne Berry, mother-of-five and trainee counsellor, was managing a show in Edinburgh last year and thought it would be fun to have a go. The result is a company, Funky Fairytales, made up of Ms Berry and two performers awaiting their GCSE results. They tell the story of Princess Barby and the Wrestler. Music, dance, audience participation and a mixture of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty spiced with an enticing wrestler make up this entertainment for four to 12-year-olds. Ms Berry, who also wrote the script, is registered blind. Hill Street Theatre, 12pm. Until September 26. Tickets: 0131 226 6522.

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