Theatre: The Five Best Plays In London

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The Independent Culture

The Real Thing Donmar Warehouse

Tom Stoppard's witty, thoughtful disquisition on love looks even better now than it did in 982. To 7 Aug


Hay Fever Savoy Theatre

Collectors of scandalously enjoyable camp should rush to see Geraldine McEwan, who is sublime as the not-so-retired actress heroine in Declan Donnellan's wittily over-the-top Coward revival. To 4 Aug


Candide Olivier Theatre, National

Exhilarating staging by John Caird of the wittiest and trickiest of all possible musicals. Alex Kelly is a delectably funny Cunegonde, and Simon Russell Beale turns in a trenchant tour de force doubling as Pangloss and Voltaire. Booking to Oct


Three Sisters Whitehall Theatre

Remarkably fresh (if unevenly cast) production by Dominic Dromgoole with a deeply touching performance from Tom Smith as the unloved Baron Tuzenbakh. To 3 July


Holy Mothers Ambassadors Theatre

Blocked lavatories, visions of the Blessed Virgin and a last-minute beheading all feature in this hilarious extravaganza of epic bad taste by Werner Schwab. To 3 July


Enjoy West Yorkshire PLayhouse, Leeds

Thelma Barlow's wonderfully sunny and touching performance underlines how close Alan Bennett's characters often come to those of Beckett. A first-rate revival of his prescient, blackly hilarious 980 play about the humbug of the heritage industry. From Mon to Sat 26 June


Tales from Ovid Swan Theatre, Stratford

Ted Hughes's brilliant adaptation of the Metamorphoses gets the Tim Supple treatment, vividly demonstrating the inherent theatricality of these myths. To 7 Oct


Oroonoko The Other Place, Stratford

There's political indignation but a refreshing lack of political correctness in Biyi Bandele's powerful and witty dramatisation of the novel by the 7th-century writer Aphra Behn, which takes a humane look at the slave trade. To 6 Oct


Volpone Swan Theatre, Stratford

Comedies don't come funnier or more astringent than Ben Jonson's brilliant dissection of avaricious, over-reaching egotism. To 9 Oct


Don Juan Playhouse, Oxford

Stephen Unwin and English Touring Theatre tackle Moliere's mordant take on the libertine from hell. From Tue to Sat 26 Jun