Electra, Donmar Warehouse, London WC2 (0171-369 1732)

When Zoe Wanamaker starred opposite Ian McKellen's icily manipulative Othello in Trevor Nunn's thrilling production, the astonishing depth of her characterisation made you wonder why Emilia wasn't up there as one of the great Shakespearean roles. Only afterwards did it occur to you that she only has a handful of scenes. Despite that triumph and scores of other impressive performances, it wasn't until she became a TV name, courtesy of Love Hurts, that she finally moved into the big league. Her heartrending performance in the title role in Sophocles' tragedy combines the countenance of a desolate clown and the stubborn, steely, yet somehow vulnerable air of a woman trapped by fate in an eternal, bolshy and dreadfully isolated adolescence. Not to be missed. David Benedict