Forty Years On

Alan Bennett's early play is a gloriously funny public-school satire of British history. Splendid set pieces and a wry pathos typical of the man who has become a well-loved national institution.

Norwich Theatre Royal, (01603 630000) tonight; Blackpool Grand (01253 28372) from Tue

Babycakes

The fourth in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series comes to the stage in a spirited adaptation by John Binnie. The eight-strong Clyde Unity Theatre ups the comedy by switching between playing disco dykes, camping clones and the rest of the book's vast cast.

Drill Hall Arts Centre, London WC1 (0171-637 8270)

Fascinating Aida

Three women, a piano, and lashings of wit. A delightful mix of old favourites and new numbers from the tart trio, blending surprising amounts of pathos with the usual high degree of elegant musical satire.

Vaudeville Theatre, London WC2 (0171-836 9987)

Rope

Gareth Armstrong's very enjoyable production of the thriller which inspired the Hitchcock movie has a barely concealed erotic charge and excellent playing, notably from Jasper Britton.

Salisbury Playhouse (01722 320333)

The Homecoming

Danger: high voltage. Pinter's disturbing discovery of family values has an electrifying charge, thanks to Roger Michell's magnificently disciplined direction of a classy cast.

National Theatre, London SE1 (0171-928 2252)

The Cherry Orchard

Alec McCowen is touching in Adrian Noble's RSC production of Chekhov's masterpiece. But the evening belongs to the mercurial Penelope Wilton, simply astonishing as Madame Ranyevskaya, the woman at the play's emotional heart.

Nottingham Theatre Royal (0115-948 2626) tonight; Newcastle Theatre Royal (0191-232 2061) from Mon

Crazy for You

The plotline is frankly daffy but everything else about this revamped Gershwin musical induces dangerous levels of joy. The stunning Act One finale may make you die of pleasure.

Bristol Hippodrome (0117 987 7877)

David Benedict

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