REVIEW: “Albert Nobbs” and the mystery of identity

Unlike The Crying Game, where the sex of a character is a major twist about halfway through, the genders of the characters in Albert Nobbs is not much in doubt: Glenn Close is a big star with above-the-title billing — her butched-up face is the ad campaign. And yet there is just as much mystery here, albeit of a different kind. This is a story of identity that’s almost impenetrable.

Albert (Close) is a gentlemanly servant at a high-end boutique hotel in Ireland. Everyone admires Albert: The women appreciate his respectful demeanor, his male co-workers his work ethic, the boss, Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins), his reliability. But no one really knows Albert, who lives in a small room in the attic and squirrels away his money and dreams of something else.

But really, Albert doesn’t even know himself. He has been living as a man for decades — who knows how long? — and cannot even remember a time when he (or she) was not Albert. He has become so repressed, he almost doesn’t have a personality anymore.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Attention, design stars and master chefs: Get ready for your reality TV close-up this weekend

Gordon Ramsay

Dallas and reality TV have a big time date this weekend. Two shows are coming to town in search of their next big stars.

First, interior designers and decorators take note. HGTV’s Design Star is having an open casting call on Sunday. They are looking for “someone with a creative point of view, the ability to execute under pressure and a sparkling personality. All level of expertise are welcome — from professional designers and architects to at home ‘do-it yourselfers.’” If you have a portfolio,they recommend bringing it. Plus, a couple of photos of yourself. And if you do really well, then go on to win, be sure and grant us the first interview. The casting call will be held at Westin Park Central, 12720 Merit Dr. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, go here.

Second, for the non-chef chef, Fox brings its nationwide search “for the best home cooks in America” to Dallas casting for the next season of Master Chef. If you make a mean mac-and-cheese from scratch, you have two options: call me for dinner or head to the casting all weekend. If you make the show, Gordon Ramsay, above, might make you cry, but if you win, then it’s all worth it. Just be prepared going in. The casting website says the following is required for open calls:

    • Your completed application• A current photo of yourself

    • A photo of your plated dish

    • Your one plated dish to impress us!

    • Please plan to be at the auditions all day. We suggest bringing snacks and water. Be comfortable and be yourself!

Got it? Good. The casting call happens at Le Cordon Bleu, 11830 Webb Chapel Road. Saturday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

And if you make both casting calls, then we just don’t like you for being so talented. But good luck anyway.

—  Rich Lopez