Serenading Louie, Donmar Warehouse, London

Reminiscence, said a wise woman, is masochistic: if you remember happiness, you're sad that it's gone, and, if you remember unhappiness, you feel bad all over again. The two couples in Serenading Louie haven't learned this yet. In their early thirties, feeling that the best of life is over, they retreat into memory, pawing through scraps of broken mirror from their bright college years. When you do this too long, and you do it in company, it's inevitable that a slip will bring blood.

How We Met: Nica Burns & Thelma Holt

'I was climbing a pyramid when she rang: "Darling, it's Thelma, we have to help David Suchet"'

First Night: Red, Donmar Warehouse, London

Dostoyevsky thought that if Christ were ever to return to Earth, we would crucify him all over again. Perhaps so, but it's a safe bet that, before we got round to that, hot fashion designers would be competing to recruit him as poster boy for some major new underwear campaign. High spirituality and low commerce are easy bedfellows these days. This was not the case, though in 1959, which is the date-line for Red, John Logan's new play set in the Manhattan studio of the great Abstract Expressionist artist, Mark Rothko.

Endgame, Duchess Theatre, London<br/>Life is a Dream, Donmar Warehouse, London<br/>Terror 2009, Southwark Playhouse, London

Superlative substitutes Rylance and McBurney get &lsquo;Endgame&rsquo; off to a very good start

Life is a Dream, Donmar Warehouse, London

Have you heard the Chinese sage's story about the man who dreamt he was a butterfly and then woke up to wonder if he was, in fact, a butterfly dreaming he was a man? A compelling variation on this theme of the confusion between illusion and reality is dramatised in Life Is a Dream, the 1635 play by the great golden age Spanish dramatist, Calderó*de la Barca. Set in Poland, the play focuses on Segismundo, the young heir to the throne who has spent his life imprisoned in a tower because omens foretold that he would one day overthrow his father, the king. As in Oedipus Rex, this paternal insurance policy backfires. The monarch's neurotic desire to outwit fate is itself outsmarted by circumstance, although here a very qualified happy ending is reached.

A Streetcar Named Desire, Donmar Warehouse, London<br></br>Ghosts, Arcola, London<br></br>Sixteen, Kensal House Estate, London

The Hollywood star makes an impressive West End return, despite a staging laden with stylistic tics

A Streetcar Named Desire, Donmar Warehouse, London

I don't want realism, I want magic," cries Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's 1947 New Orleans masterpiece of broken dreams and tragic collapse, and she speaks for anyone who ever entered a theatre.

First Night: A Streetcar Named Desire, Donmar Warehouse, London

Weisz struggles to reveal the magic in Williams classic

A Doll's House, Donmar Warehouse, London

This powerful revival by the young film-maker Kfir Yefet of Ibsen's breakthrough play about a doomed marriage, starring the luminescent Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame, has Ffion Hague, wife of the former Conservative Party leader, as its historical adviser. Does that explain why Zinnie Harris has translated her new version from late 19th-century Norway to Edwardian London and shifted the tale of intrigue, fraud and betrayal from the world of finance to that of politics?

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Palace Theatre, London<br>Dimetos, Donmar Warehouse, London<br>Dido, Queen of Carthage, NT Cottesloe, London

It takes more than classic pop songs and gaudy costumes to make up for a thin script and some tired acting

Close-up: Holliday Grainger

She's battled vampires; now the young actor is fighting off her uncle...

Tom Sutcliffe: In acting, size isn't everything

The Week In Culture

Be Near Me, Donmar Warehouse, London

A forbidden love fails to smoulder

A Little Night Music, Menier Chocolate Factory, London<br>The Family Reunion, Donmar Warehouse, London<br>In a Dark Dark House, Almeida, London

Sondheim's sex comedy with songs falls flat, and T S Eliot's verse play is bizarre. But Neil LaBute's study of child abuse hits home
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border