Salisbury THE RIVALS by Richard Brinsley Sheridan Salisbury Playhouse To 29 September 2001 Runs 2hr 45min One interval TICKETS 01722 320333 Review Timothy Ramsden 27 September No rivalry here: visuals win hands down in Tim Luscombe's production over indifferent handling of Sheridan's language
Touring THE SEAGULL by Anton Chekhov English version by Tom Stoppard Dundee Rep Theatre To 27 October 2001, then tour in 2002. Runs 3hr 10min One interval TICKETS 01382 223530 Review Thelma Good 13 October A physical, wild Chekhov delights.
Salisbury RUTHERFORD AND SON By Githa Sowerby Salisbury Playhouse To 27 October 2001 Runs 2hr 35min One interval TICKETS 01722 320333 Review Timothy Ramsden 18 October Nearly 90 years on, Sowerby's 1912 drama of family oppression stands triumphant.
Tour MESSIAH: SCENES FROM A CRUCIFIXION by Steven Berkoff Touring to 24 November 2001 Runs 2hr 25min One interval Review Hazel Brown 16 October at Poole Arts Centre Superb ensemble playing combined with a powerful contemporary score make Berkoff's reworking of the story of Christ a theatrical feast.
Basingstoke ROMEO AND JULIET by William Shakespeare Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke To 27 October 2001 Runs 2hr 50min One interval. TICKETS 01256 465566 Review Timothy Ramsden 15 October Shakespeare Shanghaied – plenty of colour and light but seriously disappointing verse-speaking.
London LIFE WITH AN IDIOT from the short story by Victor Erofeyev, developed at the Royal National Theatre Studio Gate Theatre To 3 November 2001 Runs 1hr 20min No interval TICKETS 020 7229 0706 Review Vera Lustig 12 October Part of the Gate's 'Madness' season, this adaptation is presented with great panache, but its political edge is blunted.
Oxford COMEDIANS by Trevor Griffiths Oxford Stage Company, Oxford Playhouse To 20 October 2001 Runs 2hr 45min Two intervals TICKETS 01865 798600 Review Timothy Ramsden 16 October A good revival shows that Griffiths' play has the stature to withstand shifts in humour over the last quarter-century.
Birmingham TENDER: Abi Morgan Birmingham Rep: Tkts 0121 236 4455 Runs: 2h 20m, One interval Review: Rod Dungate, 15th October 2001 A bleak 21st Century message, sharp dialogue but the play lacks flair
London LA VENEXIANA Translated by Stephen Hancocks and Marco Ghelardi Etcetera Theatre To 28 October 2001 Runs 1hr 10min No interval TICKETS 020 7482 4857 Review Timothy Ramsden 14 October Venetian scandals of 1536: adultery by gondola and sex at midnight - an anonymous playwright reveals all.
London MISTER PAUL by Tankred Dorst with Ursula Ehler, translated Steve Gooch Old Red Lion To 3 November 2001 Runs 2hr 5min One interval TICKETS 020 7837 7816 Review Timothy Ramsden 14 October Feathers fly and blood flows as laughter turns to screams in a play of the new Germany.
Tour TITHE WAR! by Ivan Cutting. Music by Pat Whymark Eastern Angles tour to 17 November 2001 Tour info 01473 211498 Runs 2hr 45min One interval Review Timothy Ramsden 12 October at Saffron Walden County High School A musical about taxation seems unlikely but despite some sprawling storytelling the fascinating tale of an unlikely protest wins through.
Colchester THE RECRUITING OFFICER by George Farquhar Mercury Theatre To 27 October 2001 Runs 2hr 45min One interval TICKETS 01206 573948 Review Timothy Ramsden 13 October Colour and light give a fine setting for a rare revival of mixed quality acting.
BLOOD AND ROSES: Trestle Theatre Touring till 16th October Runs: 2h 5m, one interval Review: Rod Dungate, mac, 12th October 2001 Toby Wilsher is a master of his craft: BLOOD AND ROSES marks a shift in direction, the company's mask work is as miraculous as ever and the production a delight.
Leicester DEATH OF A SALESMAN: Arthur Miller Haymarket: Tkts 0116 253 9797 Runs: 3h, one interval, till 27th October Review: Rod Dungate, 11th October 2001 The emotional dynamics are orchestrated with confidence, Joseph Marcell carries Willy Loman superbly.
Edinburgh/ Tour THE BALLAD OF CRAZY PAOLA by Arne Sierens, in a version by Stephen Greenhorn Traverse Theatre to 20 October 2001, then touring Scotland to 10 November Runs 55min No interval TICKETS 0131 228 1404 Review Thelma Good 9 October A lover, a brother, a drummer – but no overall driving beat.
Glasgow JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK by Sean O' Casey Arches Theatre Company at Glasgow Citizens' To 29 September 2001 Runs 2hr 20min One interval Review Timothy Ramsden 29 September Anniversary celebrations create limited impact with O' Casey's richly orchestrated tenement symphony.
Oxford ANGELA CARTER'S THE MAGIC TOYSHOP by Bryony Lavery Shared Experience Theatre Company at Oxford Playhouse To 13 October 2001 Runs 2hr 10min One interval Review Timothy Ramsden 11 October Once again, Shared Experience demonstrates how a good novel can take new life as an integral theatre piece.
Chichester STAIRS TO THE ROOF by Tennessee Williams Minerva Theatre To 27 October 2001 Runs 2hr 20min One interval TICKETS 01243 781312 Review Timothy Ramsden 10 October Raw play, good performances, brilliant direction in one of England's finest theatre spaces.
London ANTARCTICA by David Young Savoy Theatre Runs 2hr 35min One interval TICKETS 020 7836 8888 Review Timothy Ramsden 10 October 2001 World's end whiz of ideas tumble out of the ice-cave where fictional explorers shelter.
Coventry A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM: William Shakespeare Belgrade Theatre: Tkts 024 7655 3055 Runs: 3 hours, one interval, till 20th October Review: Rod Dungate, 9th October 2001 Something special – a bleak world full of life, love, innocence and great humour: stunning designs from Patrick Connellan