The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Plays

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Hindle Wakes Royal Exchange, Manchester

Spectacularly refurbished after the 1996 bombing, this theatre bounces back in fine resilient form with the excellent production which had to be aborted then. To 9 Jan

Martin Guerre West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

It's third time lucky for this much-rewritten Boublil/Schonberg musical. In Conall Morrison's starkly involving production, it finally emerges as a tighter, magnificent show. To 13 Feb

The Invention of Love

Theatre Royal, Haymarket

Witty fantasia (right) by Tom Stoppard on the twin passions of AE Housman: scholarship and an unavailable heterosexual friend. To 4 Apr

Copenhagen Cottesloe, National Theatre

Michael Frayn's profound and haunting meditation on science, morality and the mysteries of human motivation. To 27 Jan

The Boy Who Fell Into a Book Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Typically witty and ingenious concept from Alan Ayckbourn - here wearing his children's dramatist hat. To 9 Jan