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The Independent Culture
The plays of Sharman Macdonald are gradually colonising the British coastline. At the Almeida, The Winter Guest deposits us on an ice-bound shore in western Scotland for a death-haunted "ages of man" mood piece. In The Borders of Paradise at the Palace, Watford, we join a party of adolescent surfers on a summer beach in Devon for a play about growing up. Both productions (by Alan Rickman and Lou Stein respectively) find a beautiful balance between the quirky earthiness and poetic delicacy that characterise Macdonald's work.

At the Nottingham Playhouse, Gogol's surreal short-story The Nose (above) takes to the boards with a witty, macabre flair in an incisive adaptation by Alistair Beaton that is definitely not to be sneezed at.