Five of the best

The Guardian - The Guide - - Theatre - Lyn Gard­ner

1Liv­ing With the Lights On Ear­lier this year, Mark Lock­yer was a su­perb and plau­si­bly evil Iago in Othello at Bris­tol’s To­bacco Fac­tory. It was good to see him in such fine form be­cause, just over 20 years ago, when he was play­ing Mer­cu­tio for the RSC in Strat­ford, he had an en­counter with the devil on the banks of the Avon. He was sub­se­quently di­ag­nosed with bipo­lar dis­or­der and has been liv­ing with the con­di­tion ever since which, on oc­ca­sion, makes him go way off script with dis­com­fit­ing re­sults. In this 75-minute one-man show, he spares him­self noth­ing. It’s a story that is not just about tri­umph over ad­ver­sity but also what it means to be in char­ac­ter. To­bacco Fac­tory, Bris­tol, Mon to Fri; tour­ing to 11 Nov

2Jane Eyre The days when adap­ta­tions of clas­sic nov­els made for dull the­atre are long past. Sally Cook­son has been lead­ing the charge and her ver­sion of Char­lotte Brontë’s novel is a plea­sure: witty, the­atri­cally in­ven­tive yet also faith­ful to the spirit of the orig­i­nal novel and its psy­cho­log­i­cal un­der­pin­nings, as Jane’s con­flicted thoughts and in­ner con­fu­sions are given voice by the ensem­ble.

Hull New The­atre, Mon to 23 Sep; tour­ing to 21 Oct

3Cock and Bull Nic Green’s show – made and per­formed with Laura Brad­shaw and Rosana Cade – was in­spired by the empty prom­ises of the Tory party, which made it all the more de­li­cious when it was re­vived ear­lier this year, just in time for the election. Now, as the Con­ser­va­tives cling to power, it gets another out­ing. Women turn the words used by largely male politi­cians against them with scorn in an evening that uses rep­e­ti­tion to such clever ef­fect that it feels like an ex­or­cism. West York­shire Play­house, Leeds, Wed

4Half Breed What does it re­ally mean to be a fe­male best friend? It’s a sub­ject un­der scru­tiny in writer Natasha Mar­shall’s de­but show. Mar­shall stars as Jazz, a young mixed-race woman raised in a Som­er­set vil­lage where ca­sual racism is com­mon. For­tu­nately, Jazz has a best friend, Bro­gan, but when Bro­gan gets a new boyfriend, Jazz knows she has to widen her hori­zons. Fast.

Soho Up­stairs, W1, to 30 Sep

5Knives in Hens David Har­rower’s three han­der, re­vived by South African di­rec­tor Yaël Far­ber, boasts a love tri­an­gle in which a name­less young woman, trapped in a love­less mar­riage, be­gins a re­la­tion­ship with the lo­cal miller. Far­ber does brood­ing and po­etic very well and this re­vival re­minds of the power of lan­guage as it ex­plores free­dom.

Don­mar Ware­house, WC2, to 7 Oct

The man in the mir­ror Mark Lock­yer in Liv­ing With the Lights On

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