There is more raw talent on display in this musical than in the rest of the West End put together. No, it doesn't quite come off, and the book and direction are often too superficial, but the rock-ish score has real drive, and the lyrics and singing are a complete knockout.
Donmar Warehouse, London WC2 (0171-369 1732)
Dona Rosita - the Spinster
Celia Imrie is a magnificent squally housekeeper holding everything together in Lorca's play about a woman holding on to hope. Kathryn Hunter is hysterical as a ravenous aunt and Phyllida Lloyd's exquisitely designed production spans a huge range of styles.
Almeida Theatre, London N1 (0171-359 4404)
The Cherry Orchard
Chekhov's play about the decline of the old order and the rise of the new is one of the unquestionable masterpieces of the 20th century. Janet Suzman reapplies the metaphor in a co-production with the Market Theatre Johannesburg.
From Tue, Birmingham Rep (0121-236 4455)
Henry V/The Winter's Tale
"May we cram/Within this wooden O the very casques/That did affright the air at Agincourt?" The opening chorus of Henry V will seldom have sounded so apt as in the Globe's wooden O. Artistic director Mark Rylance plays Henry in tandem with David Freeman's production of The Winter's Tale.
Globe Theatre, London SE1 (0171-401 9919)
The Herbal Bed
From love story to knife-edge courtroom drama in Peter Whelan's RSC hit based on the 17th-century sex scandal involving Shakespeare's daughter. Stephen Boxer is outstanding as a cleric with a dangerous lust for truth.
Duchess Theatre, London WC2 (0171-494 5075)
One last performance of the funniest and most thought-provoking play in town. Caryl Churchill's tremendous comedy has a cracking cast including Tim McInnerny and Janine Duvitski.
Wed, Old Vic, London SE1 (0171-928 7616)Reuse content