Richard Eyre returns to the National Theatre to direct Matt Charman's new play The Observer, about the impact of an official observation team on the outcome of the first ever democratic elections in an unspecified West African country. Anna Chancellor stars and Robin Denselow reviews.

In 2008, Sarah Palin adopted the chart-topping country music song Independance Day as part of her campaign in the American presidential election. The author of that song was Gretchen Peters, who responded to the unauthorised use of her ballad about spousal abuse by donating royalties to the pro-choice organisation Planned Parenthood. Now, with the release a new CD, Circus Girl, she is on the 11-night Wine, Women and Song tour of the UK along with fellow country artists Suzy Boggus and Matraca Berg. Gretchen talks to Kirsty Lang about Sarah Palin, her passion for storytelling and the importance of a good bottle of wine on stage.

The Tate Modern in London is staging The Long Weekend, a four-day Bank Holiday festival of performances, films, music and exhibitions. The main event is the re-exhibition of Robert Morris's installation Bodyspacemotionthings, a series of sculptural and architectural exhibits for visitors to clamber over. The exhibition caused a sensation when it was first staged in 1971 because it was the first time people were actively encouraged to climb on works of art. The art critic Richard Cork reviewed it then and takes a fresh look at it now.

As the opening of Michael Jackson's 50-date residency at the 02 Arena in London is postponed to allow for more rehearsal, music columnist Dave Hepworth reflects on the tendancy to value choregraphy over song.

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Thu 21 May 2009 19:15

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