London Lite Friday, 18 September 2009 this Roman chaRiot classic is as camp as a Row of tents Review Ben Hur HIIII By nick Curtis at The 02 Inbrief third e.coli farm closes its gates A third petting farm has closed amid fears of an E.coli outbreak, the health Protection Agency said today. Nottinghamshires White Post Farm has shut after it was confirmed that a strain of E.coli had infected a second visitor. Godstone Farm in Surrey closed last Saturday, with 45 E.coli cases discovered, and its sister farm, horton Park in Epsom, has closed as a precaution. l elton can look after little lev Sir ELtON JOhN may be allowed to look after the Ukrainian boy he wanted to adopt. the countrys families minister rejected his bid to be the legal guardian of 14-month- old Lev as the singer, 62, is too old and in a same-sex relationship. Yuri Pavlenko said Sir Elton can invite Levs family to visit and help him grow into a good person. l Googles set to sell real books GOOGLE is to sell hard copies of out-of-copyright books for about 5 -- its first foray into print publishing. the internet giant has been scanning books electronically for five years but, in a deal with On demand Books, will now offer two million titles that can be picked up or shipped from locations such as libraries and universities. l Record 85m euro lottery pot A rECOrd UK jackpot of 85m is up for grabs in tonights EuroMillions lottery. if there is one winner, it will eclipse the 35.4m scooped by Scottish postal worker Angela Kelly in 2006. An italian won a record 128m last month. if no one gets all seven numbers, the cash will be rolled over to next week. l cabbie used his car as weapon A MiNiCAB driver who ran over a man in Soho has been jailed for four years. russell Croft, 48, used his S-type Jaguar as a lethal weapon to hit engineer Michael Wiggs, who was out with friends. Mr Wiggs, 32, suffered a fractured skull and other injuries on 14 June last year. Croft was found guilty of dangerous driving and grievous bodily harm at Southwark Crown Court. l Half-horsed effort: campaigners outside The O2 ooh, get hur! CAMPAIGNERS from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals protested outside The O2 arena last night wearing horse suits and masks, but the turnout for the demonstration was so much lower than expected that there werent enough supporters to fill the two pantomime horse costumes they brought with them. The organisers had wanted two horses, but a lack of bodies meant one protester was left wearing only the head. The five activists held signs that read: Ben Hur Live: Hell for Animals. Peta claims the show puts animals and the audience at risk of injury. A spokesman for the protesters said: We are here to try to encourage the public to take a look at the animals and try to experience the show from their point of view. But a spokesman for The O2 denied there is any risk to the animals or the public. Eventheprotesterswereabitpanto Although this cod-biblical sta- dium show has spectacular moments, it is also massively camp and woe- fully ill-conceived. the climactic chariot race that is the main selling point is undeniably impressive, thrilling even. But thats two minutes out of two-plus hours. the rest is a thin parable of faith and forgiveness, fleshed out with mediocre showmanship purely designed to fill the space. Most of it is hilarious, and all of it is as camp as a row of stamping pink centurions. the story may be familiar from William Wylers oscar-winning 1959 film, if not from lew Wallaces 1880 novel. Betrayed by his Roman friend Messala, Jewish prince Judah Ben hur loses his mother, sister and lover but rises from shipboard slavery to high office and beats his old foe on the racetrack. In this version, conceived by concert promoter and producer Franz Abraham, hur and Messala (Sebastian thrun and Michael Knese) are identikit, curly-haired hunks whose arm-clasping horse- play is enlivened by real horses. unfortunately, they and the other major characters are frequently hidden by the scaffolding towers of the set, or swamped by the action around them and the o2s why Stewart Copeland is there as narrator. the white-haired, black- suited former Police drummer wanders through the action, inton- ing platitudes that sound designed to win simple children over to Christianity. Copeland also wrote the score, pulling in all sorts of influences and experts to produce something so utterly bland. What really startles here is the gulf between the clearly earnest intentions and the frankly laugh- able execution. A lot of time, money, expertise, energy and com- mitment -- not to mention seven consultant historians -- have been lavished on something frankly ris- ible. the only person to emerge with any real credit is horse trainer Nicki Pfeifer, and hed be justified in having a long face tomorrow. last nights world premiere was relatively full, but a large number of those present preferred watch- ing this idiotic but grandiose spectacle through the tiny screens of their phones. And some of them had come dressed as Romans, which is a bit like going to the Sound of Music dressed as a Nazi, if you think about it. lUntil Sunday, see benhurlive.com Ben hur in numbers 400 cast and crew 5 chariots 2 galleys 9 pirate ships 46 horses 2 donkeys 5 falcons 2 eagles 100 doves 1,000 costumes and costume parts 620 tonnes of sand 19m is the cost of production and tour video screens, which might have shown more detail, are not used. theres an all-singing, all-danc- ing evocation of olde Jerusalem, full of jugglers and tumblers and a grand scene of galleons under sail which is quite beautiful until pirates on Mad Max quad bikes nonsensically turn up. the sparse dialogue, by the way, is in Aramaic and latin, which is Chariots of dire: scene from The O2 last night and, below left, Sebastian Thrun as Ben Hur H index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html48.html49.html50.html51.html