Our ex­perts round up the best plays and mu­si­cals

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Film Theatre -

CRITIC’S CHOICE How To Hold Your Breath Just a few months af­ter play­ing Ham­let at the Royal Ex­change Manch­ester, Max­ine Peake has headed down south, ex­chang­ing Shake­speare for a new play, al­beit one with more than a touch of Mar­lowe about it. The shadow of Doc­tor Faus­tus looms over How To Hold Your Breath, which cen­tres on a stylish “cus­tomer re­la­tions” ex­pert who’s seized by a wak­ing BEST OF THE REST 84 Char­ing Cross Road It’s a risk to re­visit a past suc­cess, but that’s what di­rec­tor James RooseE­vans has done. In 1981, he adapted a vol­ume of post-war let­ters be­tween He­lene Hanff, a bib­lio­phile in New York, and Frank Doel, the oblig­ing man­ager of an olde-worlde Lon­don book­shop. In this mistyeyed re­vival, Roose-Evans and de­signer Nor­man Coates beau­ti­fully evoke two worlds di­vided by the At­lantic but united by a pas­sion for the lit­er­ary. DC Sal­is­bury Play­house, un­til Feb 28; 01722 320 333, sal­is­bury­play­house.com Taken at Mid­night Mark Hay­hurst’s fine de­but play is about Hans Lit­ten, nightmare that be­gins with a fling with a de­mon. Said de­mon seem­ingly or­ches­trates the so­cial and eco­nomic col­lapse of Europe to bring about her ruin. Does this sound lu­di­crous? The in­ge­nu­ity of Zin­nie Har­ris’s play is that it works on mul­ti­ple lev­els – in­clud­ing, at a time of Grexit talk and eu­ro­zone ills, a highly top­i­cal one. Do­minic Cavendish Royal Court, Lon­don SW1, un­til Mar 21; 020 7565 5000, roy­al­courtthe­atre.com the Ger­man lawyer who sub­poe­naed and cros­sex­am­ined Adolf Hitler in 1931 only to pay a full price later in life, once the lat­ter had be­come Führer. Martin Hut­son shows quiet dig­nity in the lead role, but it’s Pene­lope Wil­ton, as his mother Ir­m­gard, who steals the show, striv­ing to gain jus­tice for Lit­ten in the face of pro­lif­er­at­ing dan­ger. DC The­atre Royal Hay­mar­ket, Lon­don SW1, un­til March 14; 020 7930 8800, trh.co.uk BOOK AHEAD Death of a Sales­man In Gre­gory Do­ran’s re­vival of Arthur Miller’s gem, Antony Sher plays dis­il­lu­sioned Willy Lo­man and Har­riet Wal­ter his hard-pressed wife. RSC, Strat­ford upon Avon, Mar 26 un­til May 2; 0844 800 1110, rsc.org.uk

Fling: Max­ine Peake with a de­monic Michael Sha­ef­fer

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