In the Critics this week

Somnambulant theatre critics, Jarvis Cocker's hangovers, and a memoir of Sufism.

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In the critics section of this week's New Statesman, Daisy Donovan, after partaking in a midday "Bacchanalian feast", reviews The Roomate. Aside from praising the film for having a "nicely dour, puritanical atmosphere", she can find nothing "more encouraging to say about it". Rachel Cooke relishes the ability of the television to allow a "decent director" and a "fine bunch of actors can make the ersatz appear magically authentic": this works in favour of The Crimson Petal and the White, which turns out to be a "compelling thing". A A Gill recalls the somnambulance of theatre critics, before turning his attention to Terrence Rattigan's Cause Célèbre at the Old Vic -- the latter being "an evening that grips". In the music section, Jarvis Cocker argues that the "election of New Labour ushered in a long hangover", wondering whether there is "anything on earth more pathetic than a hangover". Mariella Frostrup listens to Liberia Women Democracy Radio: "it's hard to describe what a lifeline this minute station provides".

In books, John Gray reviews Memoirs of a Dervish: Sufis, Mystics and the Sixties by Robert Irwin, concluding that "the core of the book is a sincere spiritual search, recounted with rare candour and arresting insight"; Critic at large Alain de Botton ponders the art of conversation and asks how we can make talking to each other more worthwhile.

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