Mother Courage, Contact Theatre, Manchester (0161-274 4400)

Today's the day. Bertolt Brecht was born exactly 100 years ago. Even writers who proclaim to hate Brecht (by which they usually mean badly directed Brecht... and there's a lot of that about) cannot deny his seismic influence on theatre. In the wake of his centenary, books will be published, his works reprinted, rarities unearthed (check out the poems, they're very impressive) and productions mounted. Contact Theatre are quicker off the mark than most with this revival of arguably his greatest play, Mother Courage. Set during the Thirty Years War, the play is one of the most successful embodiments of his theory of simultaneous dramatic involvement and detachment. Carole Nimmons plays the fiercely "apolitical" mother who struggles to make a living for her children. All of which is brought to you courtesy of David Hare's meaty translation which first saw the light of day in Jonathan Kent's National Theatre production.

David Benedict

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