Hold on to your heads

13th December 2002 at 00:00
A madman in a labcoat wants your brain, as magic and science collide in the first of this week's arts highlights from Heather Neill

School play extraordinaire

Jeremy Payne's Lord of the Things isn't quite as spectacular as its cinematic near-namesake, but the head of drama at West Moors middle school, Dorset, is aiming high, nevertheless. There are 180 children in the piece (written by him), which is about a mad science teacher who dreams of becoming the first truly Super Teacher by abducting other teachers and extracting their brains before taking over the world. This dastardly plot is foiled by the children, who dress as Ofsted inspectors (knowing these are the only people teachers really fear) and storm the lab in SAS style.

There are dance numbers for 60 performers, a couple of firemen's poles, pyrotechnic explosions and a show-stopping number set to Robbie Williams's "Let Me Entertain You", during which two children perform one of Houdini's most famous illusions. One, incarcerated in a padlocked box, changes places with another in less than a second. How on earth can they do that?Well, Mr Payne is a magician, and knows an extra-curricular trick or two.

Tickets have sold so fast that an extra performance is scheduled for tomorrow at 4.30pm. Tel: 01202 872474.

Duerer

An extensive exhibition at the British Museum, Albrecht Duerer and his Legacy: the graphic work of a Renaissance artist, is a stunning prelude to the museum's 250th-anniversary celebrations in 2003. Duerer (1471-1528), described as the first truly international artist, is most famous as a master of printing and drawing, and the museum has an impressive collection of these, starting with an accomplished self-portrait done at the age of 13.

Familiar images, including "Study for Praying Hands", are put in context (this was one of 18 studies for a complicated altarpiece, "The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin", for the Dominican church in Frankfurt), and the legacy of others, such as the much-loved woodcut print, "The Rhinoceros", explored. Duerer made this before he had seen a rhino, but the print appeared as an accurate representation in German textbooks until the 20th century.

This is an exciting introduction to the work of a brilliant and influential artist. Details: www. thebritish-museum.ac.uk durer.

Young artists

Future Worlds, the Unilever international schools art project, reached its final stage this week, when some of the 15,000 entries went on show at Tate Modern, and at www.unileverseries.com.

Seven to 17-year-olds from 15 countries including China, Ghana and Sweden, as well as the UK, were encouraged to explore their cultural identity and imagine technological and environmental changes.

Two pieces represent the UK - "Nature World" by Pebbles Kemi Oladipo, who has created "a room in which wildlife creatures in the future can stay", from St Jude and St Paul's CE primary, London borough of Islington, and "Global Village", in which mobile phones become buildings, by 11-year-olds from College Park special school, London borough of Westminster.

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