Theatre: The Five Best plays in London

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The Independent Culture
1

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.

2

Copenhagen, Cottesloe

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

3

Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Cottesloe

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

4

Phedre, Albery

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

5

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.

... AND BEYOND

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

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