The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Donmar Warehouse, London WC2

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This is a new adaptation of Muriel Spark’s novel. David Harrower has changed the telling of the story, in some ways it is closer to the book than any of the previous adaptations have been. It is told in flashback rather than the flashforward of the book, but the main roles from the book are all here and their character foibles are more to the fore than in the 1969 film starring Maggie Smith.

The Jean Brodie of this play is more obviously manipulative, but still charismatic. She is a talented teacher, hugely influential, on the children she teaches. However, with great power comes great responsibility and the story is really about whether her personality allows her to use her talent to its best effect. There is no doubt that Jean Brodie is a fantastic role, although Maggie Smith – with her best actress Oscar for the part, makes it a brave soul who would be prepared to take it on. Lia Williams is amazing in the role, she really makes it her own. She shows us why the girls are so in her thrall, and she gives us an insight into why this is not necessarily always in their best interests.

The cast is small and all are good. Angus Wright is excellent, as usual, as Gordon Lowther, the music teacher whose love for Jean Brodie is not returned. His part, in particular, is more compassionately written here than in other versions, this works well as a contrast to the more dissolute role of Teddy Lloyd.   I really enjoyed seeing the role of Joyce Emily brought forward in this adaptation. Nicola Coughlan is really good in the part, I think we will be hearing that name much more in the future.

The set is simple with clean lines and cool colours, reminiscent of Rennie Mackintosh. There is also a kind of Japanese Shinto influence with different bells arranged around the set, ringing intermittently before the start and during the interval, ensuring that we are all in a state of relaxation before the action begins.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a great book and this is a lovely new adaptation of it. The dialogue is crisp and clear, the characters are sympathetically written, and the acting is top class. It is playing until the end of July, I know the Donmar has a tendency to sell out very quickly, but if you can get your hands on a ticket, then I would recommend that you do.

T2: Trainspotting (dir. Danny Boyle) 2016

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Trainspotting was one of the best, if not the best, films of the 1990s. In an era of remakes, follow-ups and spin-offs, waiting 20 years to do the sequel was remarkably restrained. Getting the original leads and director back together led to huge anticipation.

It is great to see the four protagonists again, and all four are on top form here. Danny Boyle’s direction is great, playing homage to the original but making it modern and keeping it relevant to the 2010s. Edinburgh looks great in its extremes; futuristic and rich, old fashioned and poor. If anything might be a bit weak, it could be the story. However although all the individual parts are good, it never reaches the highs of the original.

It is a bit like meeting a wild old friend after many years; you look forward to it, you have a good night out, you have changed a little, they have changed a little, it is nice to see them, but ultimately you don’t have much in common any more.