Must see: Democracy, Old Vic, London SE1

Frayn's political and personal classic still gets the vote

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The Independent Culture

In Michael Frayn's brilliant play, first seen in 2003, the politics of the divided Germany of the 1970s becomes a metaphor for the divisions within the human soul.

Ending with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it suggests that Western democracy triumphed over the Soviet Bloc because of its responsiveness to man's contradictory nature.

With nimble wit, Frayn dramatises this by homing in on the richly symbolic, odd-couple relationship between Willy Brandt – the West German Chancellor whose Ostpolitik won him the Nobel Prize – and Günter Guillaume, the aide who was unmasked as a Stasi spy.

Aidan McArdle's splendid Guillaume is a Pooter-esque Sancho Panza to Patrick Drury's magnetically enigmatic Brandt, while Paul Miller's superlative production is alive to the play's non-naturalistic story-telling and fluctuating moods. Newly topical in the light of our coalition governance and the eurozone crisis, this is essential viewing.

(0844 871 7628; to 28 Jul