THREE BY PINTER

Penelope Wilton is simply mesmerising as a woman who wakes up after sleeping for 29 years in Pinter's quiet masterpiece, A Kind of Alaska. Childhood happiness floods across her face and her every thought echoes around the auditorium. There's more superb acting in the double-bill of early plays that follows, with Pinter himself as the possessive lover of excellent Colin McFarlane in The Collection, while Douglas Hodge is outstanding opposite Lia Williams in the erotic double-act, The Lover. Grab tickets quick.

Donmar Warehouse, WC2 (0171-369 1732)

YARD GAL

Boo and Marie unzip their stories of Hackney streetlife in Rebecca Prichard's zinger with a sting in the tale. Director Gemma Bodinetz keeps everything cooking and the beautifully crafted backchat and slungback slang are a treat.

Royal Court at the Ambassadors, WC2 (0171-565 5000)

CLEANSED

Set in a fascist institution designed to rid society of its undesirables, Sarah Kane's already notorious new play examines the resistance of love to extreme violence. James Macdonald's stylised production is a miracle of restraint, but the play is still utterly harrowing. Nevertheless, it resoundingly proves the power of theatre. Not for the nervous.

Royal Court at the Duke of York's, WC2 (0171-565 5000)

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 electrifying. Alternatively, book now for next month's Old Vic transfer.

Almeida, N1 (0171-359 4404)

SHOW BOAT

Stately as a galleon, the mother of the modern American musical steams into town. Jerome Kern's 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.

Prince Edward Theatre, W1 (0171-447 5400)

THE LONDON CUCKOLDS

Ludicrously enjoyable, good old-fashioned filth. Caroline Quentin is the most famous name but the whole cast have a rollicking good time with this bawdy Restoration romp - and so will you. Carry On Cuckolding.

National Theatre, SE1 (0171-452 3000)

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