The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Plays

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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

Holy Mothers (Ambassadors Theatre, London)

Blocked lavatories and a last-minute beheading are on the menu in this extravaganza of bad taste by Werner Schwab, Austria's answer to Joe Orton. To 3 Jul

Three Sisters (Whitehall Theatre, London)

Remarkably fresh (if unevenly cast) production by Dominic Dromgoole, with a deeply touching performance from Tom Smith as the unloved Baron Tuzenbakh. To 3 Jul

Tales from Ovid (Swan Theatre, Stratford)

Ted Hughes's brilliant adaptation of Metamorphoses gets the Tim Supple treatment (right), vividly demonstrating the inherent theatricality of these myths. To 7 Oct

Oroonoko (The Other Place, Stratford)

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