The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Plays

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The Merchant of Venice (Cottesloe, National, London)

With the magnificent Henry Goodman as Shylock, Trevor Nunn's 1920s-style production finds a rich complexity in a play too often simplified on the stage. In rep to 11 Sept

The Real Thing (Donmar Warehouse, London)

Tom Stoppard's witty, thoughtful disquisition on love looks even better now than it did in 1982. To Sat

Look Back in Anger (Lyttelton, National, London)

Five tremendously alert performances make this revival of Osborne's iconic play completely riveting. A production of enormous subtlety and power. In rep to 11 Sept

The Family Reunion (Swan Theatre, Stratford)

A masterclass in electrically incisive verse-speaking (right) from Greg Hicks, who gives utter credibility to the Furies-haunted Harry in a skilful revival of this rarely performed TS Eliot play. To 7 Oct

Oroonoko (The Other Place, Stratford)

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