The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Plays

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The Independent Culture
Candide (Olivier, National, London)

Exhilarating staging by John Caird of the wittiest and trickiest of all possible musicals. Alex Kelly is a delectably funny Cunegonde and Simon Russell Beale turns in a trenchant tour de force doubling as Pangloss and Voltaire. In rep; booking to end Sept

The Weir (Duke of York's, London)

Ghost stories recounted in a remote Irish pub shade into genuine anguish and horror in Conor McPherson's humane masterpiece (right), beautifully staged by Ian Rickson. To 25 Sept

Mamma Mia (Prince Edward Theatre, London)

Designed to bring out the "Dancing Queen" in the straightest soul, this enjoyable musical finds flagrant plot excuses for 27 Abba golden oldies. To 11 Sept

Don Juan (Arts Theatre, Cambridge)

Stephen Unwin and English Touring Theatre tackle Moliere's mordant take on the libertine from hell. To 5 Jun

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