Amongst the major London openings – three of them at the Royal Court - taking place this week are:

OPENING MONDAY, 9 February 2004 (previews from 5 February), at the Royal Court is Almost Nothing, which is billed as a thriller about moral corruption. It’s written by Brazilian Marcos Barbosa, who took part in a writers’ group run by the Royal Court in Sao Paolo in 2001 and attended the theatre’s International Residency in 2002. The play is presented as part of a double bill with Barbosa’s family tragedy At the Table (opening 10 February), both of which are directed by Roxana Silbert and continue in repertory at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs until 28 February.

OPENING TUESDAY, 10 February 2004 (previews from 4 February), Birmingham Stage Company’s production of Paul Lucas' The Dice House transfers to the West End’s Arts Theatre for a limited season. Inspired by Luke Rhinehart’s cult 1971 novel The Dice Man, the play unfolds in a commune run by maverick psychiatrist Dr Ratner, who encourages the patients to surrender all their decisions to the roll of the dice. It premiered at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre in June 2001, and was revived in 2002 at London's fringe Old Red Lion theatre and at the Edinburgh Fringe. Graeme Messer directs.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 11 February 2004, A Doll's House - Nora, German director Thomas Ostermeier’s updating of Ibsen’s classic text, comes to the Barbican Theatre for five days only as part of BITE:04. Nora Helmer has secretly raised the money necessary for the journey south that will save her husband’s life, unaware that her husband is about to sack the man who lent it to her. The production draws parallels between the 19th-century bourgeoisie and today. It’s performed in German with English surtitles.

OPENING THURSDAY, 12 February 2004 (preview 11 February), back at the Royal Court, is Ayub Khan-Din’s Notes on Falling Leaves, which plays a limited season to 20 February in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. As his mother fades away, a grown son returns home. It’s empty but full of reminders about how she once was, while she has her own foggy memories about why they try, but just can’t, communicate. The cast are Pam Ferris and Ralf Little.

- by Terri Paddock