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A Doll's House

Anthony Page's sensational production feels like a time-bomb waiting to go off. Janet McTeer is simply mesmerising as the young wife, and she is partnered by Owen Teale who gives a tremendous slow burn of a performance. A staggeringly emotional finale awaits you. Compulsive, compulsory viewing.

Playhouse Theatre, London W1 (0171-638 8892)

Shopping and F****ing

Mark Ravenhill's first full-length play is a dangerous, powerful piece of writing with a genuinely theatrical grip. Max Stafford-Clark's cast all give excellent performances in an unsettling evening which is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Sat, Warwick Arts Centre (01203 524524); Mon & Tue, Nuffield Lancaster (01524 594151); Thur & Fri, Harlequin Redhill (01737 765547)

Swan Lake

Currently the most passionate, powerful and purely theatrical night out in London. Whether you love or hate ballet, you will find that Matthew Bourne's extraordinarily imaginative reworking of this classic provides a thrilling feast for the senses.

Piccadilly Theatre, London W1 (0171-369 1734)

The Cherry Orchard

One of the greatest plays of the 20th century in Adrian Noble's highly praised production. Designed by Richard Hudson, it stars Penelope Wilton, an actress of rare stillness and power, as Madame Ranyevskaya, and Alec McCowen as Gaev.

RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford (01789 295623)

The Herbal Bed

A marvellous mix of medicine and mendacity in this absorbing, beautifully acted play, based on the story of Shakespeare's eldest daughter who sued for slander over accusations about an affair with a married neighbour. The neighbour is played by rising star, Joseph Fiennes.

In rep, The Pit, Barbican London EC2 (0171-638 8892)


The most intriguing in the current wave of Edward Albee revivals. After being denied the Pulitzer Prize for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? because of that play's bad language, Albee bagged one with A Delicate Balance and then another with this piece about two couples musing on marriage.

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow (0141-429 0022)