THEATRE: THE FIVE BEST PLAYS IN LONDON

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The Independent Culture
Michael Frayn's profound and haunting meditation on science, morality and the mysteries of human motivation. To 7 Aug

Widely regarded as the best ever, Trevor Nunn's glorious production of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic fully deserves its West End transfer. To 26 Jun

Shifting between a Teesside council estate and a French chateau, Robert Holman's play is a subtle, absorbing study of the pains of emotional displacement. To Sat

Scabrously comic monologues written by Mark O'Rowe, the twentysomething Damon Runyon of Dublin lowlife. Superb performances. To Sat

Alison Steadman pulls off one of the funniest, truest drunk scenes ever in Shelagh Stephenson's fine play about sisters brought back together for their mother's funeral. To 22 May

... AND BEYOND

The Dispute The Other Place, Stratford

Marivaux's mordant 18th-century play about a sexual experiment is brought to life in this RSC/ Lyric, Hammersmith co-production. To 20 Mar

The Weir Theatre Royal, Brighton

Ghost stories, recounted in an Irish pub, give way to genuine horror in Conor McPherson's humane masterpiece. A subtle, loving production by Ian Rackson. Mon-Sat

Hushabye Mountain Gardner Arts Centre, Brighton

Dying of Aids and living with Aids: Jonathan Harvey's witty, sad and uneven new play looks at the disease in two eras. Tonight

The Birthday Party Richmond Theatre

The husband-and-wife partnership of Prunella Scales and Timothy West tackle Pinter's tingling classic, though not - oddly enough - as husband and wife. Mon-Sat

A Passionate Woman Leicester Haymarket

Genuinely funny and moving, Kay Mellor's play is much more than a Shirley Valentine re-run as penned by some cut-price Alan Bennett. To 20 Mar

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