AND watch these faces . . .

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The Independent Culture
Actors Alexandra Gilbreath, arrestingly sexy, bold and compelling in the tiny parts she played for the RSC last year; Emma Chambers (Martin Chuz, Vicar of Dibley, pictured right), too good to be cast as the gormless giggler for ever; Joseph Fiennes (second right), a divinely handsome hunk with something of the look of a young Alan Bates; Diane Parish, twig-legged, gorgeous and singing up a storm in Beautiful Thing; Michael Sheen, a dark, curly-haired Welshman, who was superb in the lead role of Ninagawa's Peer Gynt and is Konstantin in Robert Sturua's The Seagull for Thelma Holt; Jude Law (Live Like Pigs, Ion, Les Parents Terribles), who is puppishly sexy and talented.

WRITERS Joe Penhall's stunning first play, Some Voices, was a painful, truthful and moving piece about madness which brought the late David Mercer to the mind of one critic; Kevin Elyot (My Night with Reg) is currently writing the screenplay for Alan Hollinghurst's The Swimming Pool Library; Judy Upton, winner of the George Devine award for Ashes and Sand, has a strikingly original tone - fast and disturbing; Nick Grosso, whose Peaches was pure fluff and had audiences drooling in the Theatre Upstairs; the comedian Patrick Marber (right), who is directing his first full-length play, Dealers Choice; Rona Munro, whose The Maiden Stone won the first Peggy Ramsay award, and will be staged at Hampstead in March.

DIRECTORS Ian Rickson, who found clarity and focus in Some Voices and Ashes and Sand; Abigail Morris (whose Kindertransport is tipped for West End transfer).

DESIGNERS Angela Davies: For The Boat Plays at the Gate she created a spectacle in a dreary room (the audience sat in a huge boat); Jeremy Herbert (for Ashes and Sand he placed mirrors centre stage, allowing the audience to see behind closed doors in theTheatre Upstairs).

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