The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Plays

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The Merchant of Venice (Cottesloe, National, London)

Trevor Nunn's 1920s-style production finds a rich complexity in a play too often simplified. In rep to 11 Sept

Look Back in Anger (Lyttelton, National, London)

Five tremendous performances make this revival of Osborne's iconic play (right) riveting. In rep to 11 Sept

Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (Old Vic, London)

Peter O'Toole re-creates his incomparably funny, melancholic portrait of the legendary boozer. To 25 Sept

A Warwickshire Testimony (The Other Place, Stratford)

Funny, compassionate piece on feelings about community. Based on interviews with local groups, spanning the century. To 23 Sept

The Family Reunion (Swan Theatre, Stratford)

A masterclass in electrically incisive verse-speaking from Greg Hicks, who gives credibility to the Furies-haunted Harry in Adrian Noble's skilful revival of this TS Eliot play. In rep to 7 Oct