The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Plays

The Winter's Tale (Lyric Hammersmith, London)

Declan Donnellan directs the Maly Theatre Company of St Petersburg in the first production by a non-Russian ever to win a Golden Mask award at the Moscow Theatre Festival. To 29 May

Copenhagen (Duchess Theatre, London)

Michael Frayn's haunting piece about science, morality and the mysteries of human motivation. To 7 Aug

The Cosmonaut's Last Message... (Lyric Studio, London)

David Greig's dryly comic and beautifully structured meditation (right) on the difficulties of communicating in a world of instant communication. To 29 May

Small Change (Haymarket, Basingstoke)

Beautifully acted revival of Peter Gill's splendid 1976 play, set in post-war Cardiff. Brave programming. To 29 May

Oroonoko (The Other Place, Stratford)

There's political indignation but a refreshing lack of political correctness in Biyi Bandele's powerful and witty dramatisation of 17th-century writer Aphra Behn's humane look at the slave trade. To 6 Oct

Paul Taylor