Theatre: Curtain calls

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UNLUCKY FOR SOME

Last night for Paul Tucker's surprisingly tender tragicomedy, written and performed with real compassion. From a middle-aged woman dancing to "Pretty Woman" to a 54-year-old male virgin, via an inflatable doll, everyone dreams of escaping difficult lives with a win on the bingo.

Southwark Playhouse, London SE1 (0171-620 3494)

THE SLOW DRAG

The theatre is transformed into a jazz club for Carson Kreitzer's intimate show about a real-life musician who passed as a man but was anything but. A hot band and a trio of excellent performances.

Whitehall Theatre, London SW1 (0171-369 1735)

CHICAGO

OK, it's not as smart as it thinks it is, but the terrific score, thrilling choreography, Ruthie Henshall, Henry Goodman, Gareth Valentine's band (bravo to the brass section) are all tremendous. That's a helluva lot more than can be said for every other West End show.

Adelphi Theatre, London W1 (0171-344 0055)

DAVID COPPERFIELD

Artistic director Matthew Francis leaves on what looks likely to be a high. His previous adaptations (Dickens, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, etc) have been crowded with theatrical life. Beats cheesy pantos hands down.

Greenwich Theatre, London SE8 (0181-858 7755)

CYRANO DE BERGERAC

Antony Sher swings from the chandelier and buckles his swashes with abandon as Edmond de Rostand's big-nosed poet. Greg Doran's feisty RSC production is big on Les Mis- style action but less good at relaxing to show the play's heart, but Alexandra Gilbreath's gloriously commanding Roxane more than makes up for it.

Lyric Theatre, London W1 (0171-494 5045)

CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING

The silent coal-stealing scene is nothing short of stunning, just one reason for seeing Wesker's famous RAF play which closes next Saturday. Rick Fisher's superbly atmospheric lighting of Rob Howell's design does wonders for Howard Davies's crisp, convincing production. Also, the acting is terrific throughout, especially Julian Kerridge and Eddie Marsan, who is a star in the making.

National Theatre, London SE1 (0171-928 2252)

David Benedict

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