Out, damn pool of blood!: This autumn's theatrical offerings

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The Independent Culture

As the autumn season gets rolling, one unmissable West End show is Rupert Goold's inspired

Macbeth, transferring from Chichester to the Gielgud, London. Patrick Stewart looks alarmingly like Stalin, as the rising dictator, and Kate Fleetwood is a fierce Lady Macbeth (pictured) down in the nightmarish kitchens of Glamis Castle where taps gush blood (0870 950 0915, from Fri).

Based on Edgar Allan Poe's tales, The Masque of the Red Death is a keenly awaited promenade show by Punchdrunk (who installed pine forests in a derelict warehouse for their last one, Faustus). Now they've teamed up with architect Steve Tompkins, to transform BAC's Victorian edifice in Battersea, London into a vast spooky maze (020 7223 2223, from Mon).

Fans of Peter Brook will want to see Fragments, his staging of Samuel Beckett shorts. Now playing at the Young Vic, London (020 7922 2922) and then the Lowry, Salford (0870 787 5780, from 16 Oct), this production reunites physical-theatre stars Kathryn Hunter and Jozef Houben. Emma Rice of Kneehigh gets physical too, adapting Noel Coward's film Brief Encounter for Birmingham Rep (0121 236 4455, from 29 Sep; and Leeds' West Yorkshire Playhouse, 0113 213 7700, from 24 Oct). At the National Theatre, London, Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris stage Michael Morpurgo's novel War Horse, with giant puppets (for 12 years and over, 020 7452 3000, from 9 Oct).

Back in the commercial West End, Phelim McDermott (of Shockheaded Peter fame) plans to bring the cartoon businessman Alex to life, with Richard Bathurst and animated projections at the Arts Theatre (0870 060 1742, from 11 Oct). Over at the Apollo, Jonathan Pryce and Aidan Gillen star in Mamet's modern classic about dodgy salesmen, Glengarry Glen Ross (0870 8300200, from 27 Sep) and director Jonathan Kent has landed a prestigious season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. The kick-off there is Wycherley's Restoration comedy, The Country Wife, with David Haig and Patricia Hodge (0870 400 0626, from 27 Sep).