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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Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
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Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
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Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
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Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

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Self-preservation society

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Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor