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The Herbal Bed

A smartly recast transfer for Peter Whelan's award-winning blend of a thriller and a real-life, 17th-century sex scandal involving Shakespeare's daughter. Stephen Boxer is outstanding as a cleric with a powerful lust for truth.

Duchess Theatre, London WC2 (0171-494 5075)


Bored senseless by the election campaign? Escape to Andy de la Tour's vengeful, disgracefully enjoyable vision of New Labour in power, cunningly disguised as an old-fashioned drawing-room drama. Christopher Ravenscroft is a marvellously serpentine Tory and Deborah Norton steals the show as his nostril-flaring wife.

Birmingham Rep (0121-236 4455)

The Amen Corner

James Baldwin's tragedy of a woman who applies the varnish of the Lord to cover the wounds of her past is part of this theatre's ongoing commitment to black theatre, an excellent opportunity to see this rarely staged play, and a chance to see fine performers demonstrating (again) that there is more to black British acting than bit-parts in The Bill.

Bristol Old Vic (0117-987 7877)

Cloud Nine

Tim "Blackadder" McInnerney plays a colonial husband whose upper lip could not be stiffer and then scrambles around as Cathy, a loudmouthed five- year old, in Caryl Churchill's hilarious and ultimately moving comedy of sexual politics. Playing in repertory with Hurlyburly, David Rabe's savage portrait of Hollywood at its worst, dramatising the mutual mistrust and competitiveness underlying macho camaraderie. Rupert Graves and an excellent cast blast the brilliant drug-driven dialogue.

The Old Vic, London SE1 (0171-928 7616)


Murdering twosome Patrick O'Kane and Dena Davis make Bonnie and Clyde seem like a Scottish holiday resort in Ben Elton's punchy, passionate satire on Hollywood movie violence. Fast, funny and furious with more to chew on than the title.

Apollo Theatre, London W1 (0171-494 5070)

David Benedict