Theatre: The Five Best plays in London

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The Independent Culture

The Weir, Royal Court, Duke of York's

Ghost stories recounted in a rural Irish bar give way to genuine horror in Conor McPherson's humane masterpiece, beautifully directed by Ian Rickson.


Copenhagen, Cottesloe

Profound and fascinating Michael Frayn play about science and morality and the mysteries of human motivation.


Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Cottesloe

Tim Supple's joyously inventive staging of Salman Rushdie's fatwa- influenced fable.


Phedre, Albery

Diana Rigg and Jonathan Kent continue their formidable partnership in this powerful new Ted Hughes version of Racine's incomparable tragedy.


Mr Puntila and his Man, Matti, Almeida

Comedy duo The Right Size are perfect casting in this very funny revival of Brecht's play about a schizophrenic landowner and his chauffeur.


The Inventor of Love, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

Tom Stoppard's superb fantasia on the two lifelong passions of AE Housman: scholarship and an unavailable heterosexual friend.


School for Scandal, Royal Shakespeare, Stratford

The award-winning combo of director Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod make their RSC debut with Sheridan's classic bitchfest.


Guiding Star, Everyman, Liverpool

New play by Jonathan Harvey explores the survivor's guilt still haunting the hero and destroying his family nine years after Hillsborough.


The Talented Mr Ripley, Palace, Watford

It's not just Mr Ripley who's talented. Playwright Phyllis Nagy adapts the novel by Patricia Highsmith. A fascinating conjunction of sensibilities.


A Midsummer Night's Dream, Harrogate Theatre

Swan-song for John Retallack as director of Oxford Stage Company which, under him, has produced some of the freshest touring Shakespeare around.