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
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee