THE ICEMAN COMETH

Beg for returns or queue very early for day seats for Howard Davies's superlative production of Eugene O'Neill's bar-room drama. The 19-strong cast is virtually flawless, notably Clarke Peters, Mark Strong and Nicholas Day, while buoyant Kevin Spacey is simply electrifying. There are 101 reasons - from laboured symbolism to lumbering philosophising - why this shouldn't work, but Davies's cunningly non-naturalistic and frequently comic production is a theatrical wonder. After four-and- a-quarter hours both you and the cast emerge exhausted and utterly exhilarated.

Almeida, N1 (0171-359 4404)

FLIGHT

Another terrific Howard Davies production, this time Bulgakov's tragi- comic portrait of Russia in the grip of post-Revolutionary mayhem. Alan Howard is on splendidly lugubrious comic form, there's a gambling scene as good as Dealer's Choice and the design will take your breath away - awards judges take note. It also features the best cockroach-racing on the London stage.

National Theatre, SE1 (0171-452 3000)

SHOW BOAT

The mother of the American musical steams into town with great director Hal Prince at the helm. The score is crammed with goodies and Susan Stroman proves yet again that she is a choreographer of genius: her company numbers put heat into the second half of a show that usually collapses after the interval. In New York it looked worthy and dead. Here it positively glows.

Prince Edward Theatre, W1 (0171-4547 5400)

THREE BY PINTER

It's still only previewing but you'd better grab tickets now for Penelope Wilton in A Kind of Alaska, Douglas Hodge and Lia Williams in The Lover and Harold himself in The Collection. Opens Wed.

Donmar Warehouse, WC2 (0171-369 1732)

UNCLE VANYA

Katie Mitchell's RSC/Young Vic production abandons comedy for the engrossing accumulation of truthful detail. Stephen Dillane and Anastasia Hille lead an A-list cast, with Malcolm Sinclair as the professor whose performance provides a jolt of energy.

Young Vic, SE1 (0171-928 6363)

SHOCK-HEADED PETER

Kill for a ticket for the last night of Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch's gorgeously gory glory based on Hoffman's deliciously bloodthirsty Struwelpeter stories. Hilariously gruesome. Grab a kid and go.

Lyric Hammersmith, W6 (0181-741 2311)

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