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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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

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Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

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