DON'T MISS: Uzo Aduba Leads This Week's Top 10 New London Shows, February 15 2016

1. The Maids, Trafalgar Studios

Jamie Lloyd has enlisted a cracking trio of actresses to take on this contemporary adaptation of Jean Genet's psychological thriller. Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black), Zawe Ashton (Fresh Meat) and Laura Carmichael (Dowton Abbey) join forces to explore sex, murder and class.

Until May 21

2. Mrs Henderson Presents, Noel Coward Theatre

The musical version of the 2005 film, which starred Dame Judi Dench, transfers from Bath. Tracie Bennett plays eccentric theatre-owner Laura Henderson in 1940s London, who gets around restrictions by providing a show of nude women posing as statues. Book and direction by Terry Johnson (La Cage Aux Folles).

Until June 18

3. The Encounter, Barbican

Simon McBurney and Complicite provided the big talking point of last year's Edinburgh Festival with this extraordinary piece. It uses ground-breaking sound design to tell the tale of a National Geographic photographer lost in a Brazilian rainforest, as well as questioning our perceptions of time and consciousness.

Until March 6

4. Cleansed, National Theatre

Katie Mitchell and Sarah Kane: it's promises to be an explosive combination. Astonishingly, this is the National debut for the late great in-yer-face writer, whose third play is a feast of horror. But beyond the graphic content (this isn't one for the squeamish) is a piece of psychological and social significance.

Until May 5

5. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, Young Vic

Another Edinburgh hit, this time a spellbinding Annie Ryan adaptation of Eimear McBride's bestselling novel. In a tour de force performance, Aoife Duffin offers an unflinching portrait of girlhood, from fraught family relationships to violent sexual encounters. Courageous and deeply felt.

Until March 26

6. Road Show, Union Theatre

Phil Willmott directors the UK production of Sondheim's latest hit, in which an ill-matched pair of brothers travel across an America in transition at the turn of the last century. It features haunting love songs and Sondheim's first openly gay characters. Howard Jenkins and Andre Refig star.

Until March 5

7. Battlefield, Young Vic

Legendary director Peter Brook, together with Marie-Hélène Estienne and Jean-Claude Carrière, offers an Indian epic in miniature as he revisits The Mahabharata - nine hours distilled into 65 minutes. A surprisingly resonant fable that asks how we can find inner peace in a time of terrible conflict.

Until March 5

8. Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds, Dominion Theatre

Joining Jeff Wayne in the spectacular live musical version of HG Wells's sci-fi novel are: Jimmy Nail, Heidi Range, Daniel Bedingfield, Michael Praed (The Sound of Music), Madalena Alberto (Evita), David Essex, Liam Neeson in hologram form, and - last but not least -the iconic Martian Fighting Machine.

Until April 30

9. A Steady Rain, Arcola Theatre

This gritty drama from Keith Huff (House of Cards, Mad Men), which starred Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig in its Broadway incarnation, focuses on two Chicago cops whose catastrophic misjudgement costs a life. The Arcola's version of this gripping noir features Vincent Regan and David Schaal.

Until March 5

10. Motown: The Musical, Shaftesbury Theatre

Berry Gordy, founder of the Motown record company, launched the careers of some of the great soul sensations, from Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson to Smokey Robinson Marvin Gaye and The Temptations. This biographical Broadway transfer is light on story, but jam-packed with hits.

Until October 22



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From This Author Marianka Swain

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