TONGUE OF A BIRD

Cancel all other engagements for Deborah Findlay's outstanding performance as the pilot in Ellen McLaughlin's powerfully moving and uplifting play about a lost child. Peter Gill's beautifully composed production, balanced between the laughter of recognition and a powerful sadness, closes tonight.

The Almeida, London N1 (0171-359 4404)

UNLUCKY FOR SOME

From "Pretty Woman" to a 54-year-old virgin via an inflatable doll, Paul Tucker's characters dream of escaping darkly difficult lives with a win on the bingo. Timothy Hughes's production matches the writing of this tough but surprisingly tender tragicomedy, written and performed with real compassion.

Southwark Playhouse, London SE1 (0171-620 3494)

CHICAGO

OK, it's not as smart as it thinks it is, but the terrific score, the 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)

CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING

The silent coal-stealing scene is nothing short of stunning, just one reason for seeing Wesker's famous RAF play. Rick Fisher's superbly atmospheric lighting of Rob Howell's design does wonders for Howard Davies's crisp, convincing production and 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)

ELECTRA

Zoe Wanamaker tears at the heartstrings in David Leveaux's up-close-and- personal version of Sophocles's tragedy.

Donmar Warehouse, London WC2 (0171-369 1732

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)

AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE

Ian McKellen excels as an innocent tangling with bigotry in Ibsen's compelling drama. Trevor Nunn's bold staging takes a vast cast through a theatrical tour-de-force.

National Theatre, SE1 (0171-928 2252)

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