5 of the best shows
Leave to Remain Lyric Hammersmith, W6, Fri to 16 Feb
Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke (pictured, with director Robby Graham) is one of the team behind this production involving music and movement. The story – by Matt Jones, who has also written for Mr Selfridge and Doctor Who – is about a gay couple who find their future thrown a curveball when one of their visas comes up for renewal. One way around the problem is marriage, but to do that means facing up to their families and their past.
Violet Charing Cross Theatre, WC2, Mon to 6 Apr
Composer Jeanine Tesori had a good 2018: her Fun Home was staged at the Young Vic and Caroline, Or Change (written with Tony Kushner) has just transferred to the West End with five-star reviews. Tonynominated musical Violet – penned with Brian Crawley – is based on a short story, The Ugliest Pilgrim, by Doris Betts, in which a facially disfigured young woman in 1964 North Carolina embarks on a lifechanging journey across the US.
Stop and Search Arcola Theatre, E8, to 9 Feb
Stop and search has always been a controversial policing tactic, not least for its targeting of certain ethnic groups, but with knife crime and terrorism on the increase it’s back on the political agenda. IrishNigerian poet Gabriel Gbadamosi widens the debate on the issue in his play by focusing on three stories: a young man crossing Europe, two police officers on a surveillance case, and a passenger in a taxi cab.