A modern classic or a modish crowdpleaser? That’s the question Guardian critic Michael Billington recently asked of Yasmina Reza’s stylish 1994 hit play. It’s a study of male bonding and honesty that pivots on the relationship between three old friends – played here by Tim Key, Paul Ritter and Rufus Sewell – which is challenged when one of them buys an expensive all-white painting. Billington is not alone in suggesting that, judging by Matthew Warchus’s finely nuanced revival, it’s the former.
Old Vic, SE1, to Saturday 18 Feb
2 Mamma Mia!
If the middle of January feels a bit bleak, inject a little silliness and Abba into your life with one of the West End’s longest runners. There is a reason why it has survived so long; not just the catchiness of those familiar songs, but the way that Catherine Johnson’s storytelling makes this a jukebox musical with heart. Phyllida Lloyd’s production ensures that the staging hits all the right emotional notes.
Novello Theatre, WC2, to Saturday 14 Oct
3 In a Pickle
Another little cracker from Oily Cart, the wonderful company for children that is the envy of many organisations making theatre exclusively for grownups. Commissioned by the RSC, where it played in 2012 to great acclaim, this reworked version of a show aimed at three- to five-year-olds takes its inspiration from The Winter’s Tale, particularly the Bohemia sheep-shearing festival. Follow a shepherd as she prepares for the celebration and help her trace the true parents of the lost baby she discovers.
Theatr Clwyd, Mold, to Saturday 21 Jan; touring to Sunday 12 Feb
4 Much Ado About Nothing
Playing alongside Love’s Labour’s Lost, Christopher Luscombe’s production is set at the end of the first world war among officers billeted in a Warwickshire country house. But it’s not the downer you might expect. Instead, Lisa Dillon’s Beatrice and Edward Bennett’s Benedick make hostilities seem decidedly merry. They circle around each other in a witty war of words in which marriage and happiness don’t seem inevitable but genuinely hard won.
Theatre Royal Haymarket, SW1, to Saturday 18 Mar
“Lush” is the only word for Michael Longhurst’s revival of Peter Shaffer’s 1979 hit, about the rivalry between court composer Salieri and young upstart Mozart. There are fine performances from Adam Gillen as the precociously talented but charmless Mozart and Lucian Msamati as the eclipsed composer who may have had a hand in the prodigy’s death.
National Theatre: Olivier, SE1, to Wednesday 1 Feb
Davies’s recent embrace of interdisciplinary art is celebrated in an installation that explores the interface of dance performance, sculpture and film.
Barbican Centre: The Curve, EC2, Friday 20 Jan to Saturday 28 Jan
2 Russian State Ballet Of Siberia
Alexander Gorsky’s version of the comedy ballet La Fille Mal Gardée shows off the versatile personality of this hard-working company.
Bristol Hippodrome, Thursday 19 Jan; touring to Thursday 23 Feb
3 Boy Blue Entertainment: Blak Whyte Gray
Hip-hop showmen Kenrick Sandy and Michael Asante move away from their former story-driven creations and use pure dance and music to portray a turbulent world.
Barbican Theatre, EC2, to Saturday 21 Jan