The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Plays

Shockheaded Peter

(Lyric Hammersmith, London)

The deliciously sinister Struwwelpeter stories meet the macabre Tiger Lillies in a glorious, gorgeously gory evening of music theatre. To 10 Apr

Blue Heart

(The Pleasance, London)

Bracing comedy and a dark heart in Max Stafford-Clark's exemplary production of Caryl Churchill's playful double-bill. To 21 Mar


(The Albery, London)

Sheila Hancock, stars as the tight-fisted matriarch and leads a triumphant cast in Gorky's comedy. To 27 Mar

The Dispute (The Other Place, Stratford)

Marivaux's mordant 18th- century play about a sexual experiment is brought to life in this RSC/Lyric Hammersmith co-production (above). To 20 Mar

Buried Alive

(Northcott, Exeter)

Mike Alfreds' crack company, Method and Madness, in a new play by Philip Osment, specialist in matters of the heart. To 27 Mar