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Cloud Nine

Tom Cairns directs a first-rate revival of Caryl Churchill's hilarious, razor-sharp comedy of sexual politics which leaps from "darkest" colonial Africa to Britain in the late Seventies. The tremendous cast includes a wonderfully moving Janine Duvitski and a gloriously sanctimonious Andrew Woodall, who is also extremely funny in Waste, Harley Granville- Barker's engrossing, 70-year-old tale of political horsetrading, sex and personal hypocrisy. Peter Hall's production is short on zip and zest, but makes up for it with depth, and there's excellent support from David Yelland. A tremendous start to this bold repertory season.

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

The Positive Hour

A surprising, spry wit hovers overs April de Angelis's play interweaving women and their husbands, their hopes and horrors. Patti Love, Robin Soans and Kate Ashfield stand out in Max Stafford-Clark's tight, cunningly designed production.

Hampstead Theatre, London NW3 (0171-722 9301)

The Road to Mecca

The demands of love and friendship acquire an ever-deepening emotional resonance in Athol Fugard's intimate, moving play. Greg Hersov directs the dynamite cast of Ann Mitchell, Helen Schlesinger and William Russell.

Royal Exchange Manchester (0161-244 2111)


A New Labour MP unseats the local Tory as Labour wins the election with a massive majority in Andy de la Tour's hugely agreeable, nostalgic satire. Christopher Ravenscroft is a deliciously reptilian Tory and Deborah Norton is outstanding as his loyal wife.

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds (0113-244 2111)

The Mysteries

Katie Mitchell's stirring, poignant staging of this two-part version of the Creation and the Passion has a lovely, elemental spareness. Performed by a manifestly dedicated company, the two productions move, engross and delight throughout.

In rep, RSC Stratford (01789 295623)

The Homecoming

Lindsay Duncan manages to be both glacial and a powerful sexual presence (how?) in Pinter's deeply disturbing drama of unfriendly relations, in a cracking production by Roger Michell. Happy families, it's not.

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