Choice: David Benedict

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The Independent Culture
Hansel and Gretel at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham is, like all the best children's stories, as rich and dark as gingerbread. Sheila Goff has adapted the traditional tale and Mark Ravenhill's production does everyone a favour by not patr onisingits audience, no matter how old they are.

Alan Bennett's The Wind in the Willows is in a class of its own. Nicholas Hytner's magnificent production ensures that although children are not essential accessories for a visit, any niece or nephew will emerge into the daylight in love with theatre (and you) for ever more.

In a year of over-hyped blockbusters, She Loves Me is unquestionably the best musical in town, with delicious performances, a terrific score, showstoppers galore and boundless charm. Spoil yourself.