The Sunday Preview: The five best plays

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The Independent Culture
Richard III (Riverside, 081-748 3354). Northern Broadsides' fast, muscular, down-to-earth debut is a thrilling departure in classical performance.

Assassins (Donmar Warehouse, 071- 867 1150). Stephen Sondheim makes great cabaret out of assaults on US presidents, from Lincoln to Reagan.

The Rape of Tamar (Lyric Studio, 081- 741 8701). Comedy and revenge cohabit in this splendid translation of Tirso de Molina's Golden Age Biblical.

Travels with my Aunt (Wyndhams, 071-867 1116). Brilliant all-male adaptation, by Giles Havergal, of Graham Greene's funniest novel.

Pygmalion (Olivier, 071-928 2252). Spectacular conflation of Shaw's theatre and film texts, with Alan Howard and Frances Barber.