Most regional theatres put on a seasonal show – and one of the big production decisions is how much local reference to include. Dick Whittington & His Cat at the Oxford Playhouse (until 6 January) feels tailored to the population in an early pun about focaccia and the London dogs and cats reading a newspaper called the “Furnancial Times”.
Frustratingly, Jane Austen completed only seven novels, leaving two unfinished. Sanditon (1817) was stalled by the most common authorial interruption – death – but the other sawn-off story, The Watsons (1805), stopped for unclear reasons after 18,000 words,
The oddity of a Russian espionage operation in English suburbia has been made topical by the Salisbury poisonings. And, with teachers, doctors and even commuters (“See it. Say It. Sorted”) being asked to identify potential terrorists, the morality of civilian surveillance and suspicion is also current.