CURTAIN CALLS

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The Independent Culture
Amy's View

Does theatre matter? Is love enough? David Hare's new play is flooded with ideas but is slightly less than the sum of its heartfelt yet powerful parts. All the textual problems fall away in the incandescent light of Judi Dench's heartbreaking, astonishingly sincere performance as the actress mother. You must not miss it.

In rep, National Theatre, London SE1 (0171-928 2252)

Shopping and Fucking

The return of Mark Ravenhill's runaway success, a disturbing urban fairy- tale about the chemical generation. Max Stafford-Clark's production has been recast for this run which proves, along with Ben Elton's vibrant Popcorn playing next door, that there's life in the West End yet.

Gielgud Theatre, London W1 (0171-494 5065)

The Illusion

An evening of high drama and big laughs as Tony "Angels in America" Kushner attaches jump leads to Corneille's magical comedy. A crack cast, including Julia Sawalha, Helen Schlesinger and Ian Bartholomew, delivers the goods.

Mobile Theatre, Manchester (0161-833 9833)

Damn Yankees

An old-fashioned, sock it to 'em show which has the goods, and boy, does it deliver. Jerry Lewis is having a ball as a wittily urbane devil. When the team launch into "(You Gotta Have) Heart", who are we to disagree?

Adelphi Theatre, London WC2 (0171-344 0055)

Don Juan

More Moliere from translator Edward Kemp and director Toby Jones who spirited up the splendidly funny production of The Hypochondriac last year.

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds (0113-244 2111)

The Winter's Tale & Ghosts

The excellent Method and Madness are back with two plays emphasising the sins of the father. Mike Alfreds's scrupulous direction uncovers details to relish, and his marvellous actors give beautifully relaxed, trenchant performances.

Lyric Hammersmith, London W6 (0181-743 2311)

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