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Pericles Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2 (0870-8701023) Summer Shakespeare at Lincoln's Inn is one of London's best kept secrets. AandBC Theatre excel at a kind of playfully inventive storytelling and, short of actually propositioning the punters who are seated higgledy-piggledy in the thick of the action, it's impossible to imagine a more directly involving approach. This wildly episodic late romance, teeming with shipwrecks, deaths and rebirths, might have been made for this approach, and for a cast who can switch easily betwen salty humour and a hauntingly spiritual theatricality. Wonderful in every sense. Paul Taylor

Pericles Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2 (0870-8701023) Summer Shakespeare at Lincoln's Inn is one of London's best kept secrets. AandBC Theatre excel at a kind of playfully inventive storytelling and, short of actually propositioning the punters who are seated higgledy-piggledy in the thick of the action, it's impossible to imagine a more directly involving approach. This wildly episodic late romance, teeming with shipwrecks, deaths and rebirths, might have been made for this approach, and for a cast who can switch easily betwen salty humour and a hauntingly spiritual theatricality. Wonderful in every sense. Paul Taylor

Two Noble Kinsmen Shakespeare's Globe, London SE1 (020-7401 9919) Tim Carroll's spirited production of this sardonic, soulful but neglected play of love and friendship opens stunningly with confetti cascading from the galleries as a wedding procession carves its way through the groundlings. This nuptial mirth is spectacularly halted by the shock appearance of three widowed queens in black, demanding justice for their unburied dead husbands. Will Keen and Jasper Britton capture both the intensity and the ludicrousness of their extremist positions, a balancing act representative of the entire impressive production? PT

Pageant Vaudeville Theatre, London WC2 (020-7836 9987) This kitschfest of tears, tantrums and tiaras makes Elton John look inhibited. Shy Miss Great Plains (favourite colour: beige), Puerto Rican Miss Industrial North East, Miss Bible Belt (a piranha in sequins), brassy Miss Texas, Miss West Coast (Karma by name, dumber by nature) and sharp Miss Deep South vie for the title Miss Glamouresse - and they're all in drag. Lionel Blair is on hand to offset the campery (no, really) and Bill Russell's script sends up American beauty pageants with enough hilarious cheesiness to be a winner in the fromage stakes. Mark Cook

The Pirates of Penzance Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (020-7486 2431) Ian Talbot's cracking cast leap upon Gilbert's tricky lyrics with awesome attack. Lucy Quick's gloriously liquid voice justifies her goofy self-absorbtion as Mabel, and Gay Soper is a terrifically Scottish spinster. The most enjoyable work comes from Paul Bradley whose modern major-general looks like an imposing but kindly penguin, welcome ballast for a production whose gaiety can sometimes fly off into silliness. Using the the 1980 Broadway version adds pizzazz, but Talbot fails to let the pathos shine through. Fun, if a little unfeeling. Rhoda Koenig

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