Saturday 10 January 1998
Whether you have children in tow or not, it's worth queuing round the block for returns for this riotously imaginative theatrical feast. More invention, wit and sheer exuberance than anything for miles around. Forget the term "children's theatre": this is superb theatre, full stop.
Young Vic, SE1 (0171-928 6363)
THE FRONT PAGE
Hecht and MacArthur's zinger of a farce about newspaper hounds is a real cracker. The terrific ensemble company is stuffed with talent and Alun Armstrong is commanding and fabulously funny as the driven editor who will stop at nothing to bag the scoop of the decade.
Donmar Warehouse, WC2 (0171-369 1732)
Ian McKellen's Captain Hook looks like Charles II in a particularly nasty mood, sounds like a cross between George Sanders and Sir John Gielgud, and gloriously steals the show. The design is gorgeous, if over- literal, but the flying against the Olivier's vast night sky steals your heart away. Day seats and returns only.
National Theatre, SE1 (0171-928 2252)
Richard Briers and Geraldine McEwan win double act of the year for their virtuoso comic turns as the wildly inventive 94- and 95-year-olds in Ionesco's absurdist comedy, triumphantly revived by Simon McBurney. Proverbial bouquets all round.
Duke of Yorks, WC2 (0171-565 5000)
Ian Richardson gives a masterly comic performance as the pompous father in Pinero's Victorian farce. John Padden gives him a run for his money as his boisterous stepson who leads him astray in an evening of gathering hilarity.
Savoy Theatre, W1 (0171-836 8888)
Kander and Ebb and Bob Fosse's celebrated, cynical take on sex, celebrity and the American way. The production is not as smart as it thinks it is, but it still dwarfs every other musical in town.
Adelphi, W1 (0171-344 0055)
THE WOMAN IN BLACK
Why has this been been running for eight and a half years? Because everything you've heard about it is true. Susan Hill's creepy ghost story has been turned into a real spinetingler. The suspense builds to horrifying proportions, the audience (myself included) screamed in terror and a damn good time was had by all. Fortune Theatre, WC2 (0171-836 2238)
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