THE FIVE BEST PLAYS

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The Independent Culture
Don Carlos

(Gielgud Theatre, London)

Transfer from Sheffield of Friedrich Schiller's epic, maze-like romantic tragedy, with Derek Jacobi relishing his role as Philip II of Spain. (0870 890 1105) to 30 Apr

Going Dutch

(Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe)

John Godber's new play, which examines the disintegration of a marriage, is a smasher. (01274 277733) to 5 Feb

Festen

(Lyric Theatre, London)

Splendid production, by Rufus Norris, of the Dogme drama about an ill-fated family celebration. Paul Nicholls stars. (0870 890 1107) to 9 Apr

ZRelative Values (Salisbury Playhouse)

Rare revival of Noel Coward's comedy about an upper-class heir apparent getting engaged to a Hollywood starlet. (01722 320333) to 26 Feb

Macbeth (Wilton's Music Hall, London)

Max Stafford-Clark's genuinely scary promenade production relocates the tragedy to modern-day Africa. (0870 842 2200) to 5 Feb

AND ONE TO AVOID...

Bites (Bush Theatre, London)

Kay Adshead's latest play about the "war on terror" mostly offers regurgitated pellets of received wisdom.

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