Theatre: Curtain Calls

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As Bruce Forsyth used to say, didn't they do well? I refer to the cast of the BBC Pride and Prejudice. Alison Steadman - who shone as Mrs Bennett, mother of the five worrisome sisters - is currently bringing the house down with a stunningly funny display of drunk acting in Shelagh Stephenson's The Memory of Water, which is at the Vaudeville Theatre.

This tale of three sisters also stars P&P graduate Julia Sawalha, who played Steadman's daughter Lydia. She was the one who ran off with handsome, wicked Wickham (Adrian Lukis) who can currently be seen in the new Hanif Kureishi play at the National, Sleep With Me (a line one suspects that Wickham resorted to with silly, noodle-headed Lydia).

Aside from a starring role in the fevered imaginings of Bridget Jones, Colin Firth recently gave a compelling portrait of gauche young love in Three Days of Rain at the Donmar.

And what of Lizzie, his love? Well, Jennifer Ehle (above) will be appearing at the same address in the first London revival of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing. Her co-star? He's Stephen Dillane. For some unimaginable reason, he had nothing to do with Pride and Prejudice. I demand a public enquiry. It doesn't open for weeks but you'd better book now.

Donmar WC2 (0171-369 1732); Vaudeville Theatre WC2 (0171-836 9987); National Theatre SE1 (0171-452 3000)

David Benedict

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