Columbus (Barbican, 071-638 8891, now previewing, opens Weds). Jonathan Hyde stars as the captain who can't read maps, in American writer Richard Nelson's stormy comedy . . .
Christopher Street Columbus (Drill Hall, 071-631 1353, opens Thurs) . . . while New York's Hot Peaches comedy troupe scuppers what remains of the seafarer's good name with a rock'n'roll romp featuring 'the largest false eyelashes this side of Carol Channing'.
Shades (Albery, 071-867 1115, now previewing, opens Thurs). Delayed start for Pauline Collins's first stage role since Shirley Valentine. She plays a Scotswoman torn between her family and a fancy man, in Sharman Macdonald's Fifties tale. Simon Callow directs.
No Remission (Lyric Studio, 081-741 8701, previews Tues, opens Thurs). A bank robber, a murderer and an ex- para are banged up together after a prison riot. Michael Frayn described Rod Williams's award-winning study of three lifers on the verge of a showdown as a 'remarkable first play'.
Double Take (Minerva Studio, Chichester, 0243-781312, now previewing, opens Tues). Novelist and TV writer Deborah Moggach chooses a familiar theme for her stage debut: what would we do if we could live our lives again? Alice, a frustrated housewife, finds out.
The Challenge (Shaw, 071-388 1394, tonight). First show from the Sondheim- backed Mercury Workshop, set up to promote musical theatre. Twenty-seven writers have contributed to an 18- part musical based on Greek yarns.
Phoenix (Bush, 081-743 3388, previews Tues, opens Fri). Before-and-after- the-Wall drama of two Seventies revolutionaries who meet again in Berlin in 1989, written by award-winner Roy MacGregor; shot through with jazz.
Peter O'Toole, Keith Waterhouse and Ned Sherrin, the trio behind Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, reunite for Our Song, from Waterhouse's novel (Theatre Royal, Bath, 0225-448844, from 13 Oct). Yukio Ninagawa's acclaimed Tempest comes briefly to the Barbican (071-638 8891, 2-4 Dec). Jane DuncanReuse content