THE FIVE BEST PLAYS IN LONDON

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The Independent Culture
This play proves that Sarah Kane can write subtly as well as shockingly. But if the style has matured, the subject (a man's obsession with an abused young woman) has not gone soft.

Crave, Royal Court

Oklahoma, Olivier

The Nunn era notches up its answer to Guys and Dolls with this exhilaratingly staged show. The corn is as high as an elephant's eye and so was the stack of critical superlatives.

Love Upon the Throne, Bush

The Charles and Di Story (well, up to the divorce) as performed by just two bickering men in suits. Patrick Barlow and John Ram manage to be extremely funny and strangely touching.

Phedre, Albery

A mouth-watering proposition. Diana Rigg and director Jonathan Kent have a formidable track record together. Now they re-team for this new Ted Hughes version of Racine's tragedy.

Loot, Vaudeville

Joe Orton's farce involving a coffin, a corpse, stolen money and a bent copper is spirited in David Grindley's entertaining revival. Tracy- Ann Oberman is hilarious as the Catholic nurse.

... AND BEYOND

Mr Puntilla and His Man, Everyman, Liverpool

Hamish McColl and Sean Foley are ideally cast in Kathryn Hunter's vigorous, very funny account of the Brecht play about a multi-faced landowner.

The Cherry Orchard, Everyman, Cheltenham

After their acclaimed tour with Demons and Dybbuks, Mike Alfred's crack ensemble add Chekhov's masterpiece to their repertoire.

As You Like It/Antony and Cleopatra, Salisbury Playhouse

An intriguing pairing about love at different stages of life, using the same cast headed by Cathy Tyson and Tim Woodward.

The Rink, Leicester Haymarket

This Kandar and Ebb show is about the demolition of an ice rink and a troubled mother-daughter relationship.

Dead Funny, Palace Theatre, Watford

Caroline Quentin was in hilarious form in a recent staging of London Cuckolds. Now she directs this revival of Johnson's hit play about schoolboy British humour and its discontents.

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