Theatre: Hamlet

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The Independent Culture
The sheer invention and imagination of Yukio Ninagawa's East-meets- West theatrical images leave most other directors standing. Even his near misses like the recent Shintoku-Maru can leave you slack-jawed in amazement. His samurai-style Macbeth had choirboys singing the Faure Requiem as cherry blossom fell like snow while the visual splendours of Medea were heightened by a Handel funeral march at aurally and emotionally shattering volume. He's always best when tethered to a classic narrative so his fiercely loyal fans will already have booked for his Hamlet (right). Now is the perfect time for newcomers to discover him.

Barbican Theatre, Silk Street, London EC2 (0171-938 8891) from 27 Aug