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Bananaman, De Profundis and Hanna are among our top shows to see this week

2018 gets under way with a raft of new shows to see

Into the Numbers
© Arsalan Sattari Productions

5. Into the Numbers

Finborough Theatre, until 27 January

The Finborough kicks off its new year with the European premiere of Christopher Shen's pressing and harrowing Into the Numbers. The show is likely to be an intense one, given it commemorates the Nanking Massacre (which occurred 80 years ago) and is described as a 'surreal nightmare' of a production. The piece stars Elizabeth Chan, Timothy Knightley, Jennifer Lim, Amy Molloy and Mark Ota. Director Georgie Staight returns to the venue after her Dubailand, which ran at the venue last year.

See the Finborough's full season here.

Sophie Khan Levy rehearsing for Hanna
© Papatango Theatre

4. Hanna

Arcola, until 20 January, then UK tour

Papatango had a hit with their award-winning Trestle last year at the Southwark Playhouse, and it'll be exciting to see what the theatre company's next production, Sam Potter's new play Hanna, has in store. Starring RSC veteran Sophie Khan Levy and directed by the company's AD George Turvey, the play sees a mother having to grapple with a family mix up that leads to a staggering revelation.

Read our review of Khan Levy's recent appearance in Night at the Bombay Roxy.

Simon Callow
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

3. De Profundis

Vaudeville Theatre, until 6 January

Oscar Wilde's long letter De Profundis, written over the space of two months during his incarceration in Reading Gaol, is a fantastic insight into the mind of one of Britain's most famous writers. Here it is adapted into an abridged version by writer Frank McGuiness and delivered by veteran actor Simon Callow as part of Dominic Dromgoole's year of Wilde pieces at the Vaudeville Theatre (to be continued by Lady Windermere's Fan later in the month, with Jennifer Saunders attached), but catch it quick – it's only here for a week.

Find out more about the cast of Lady Windermere's Fan.

Matthew McKenna (Bananaman)
© Pamela Raith

2. Bananaman The Musical

Southwark Playhouse, until 20 January

Southwark Playhouse hosts a new quirky comic book musical in the form of Bananaman, based on the cult classic character whose consumption of yellow fruit turns him into a muscled vigilante. Matthew McKenna stars as the potassium-fuelled hero, alongside a cast including Marc Pickering as Bananaman's arch nemesis Doctor Gloom and Jodie Jacobs as his trusty sidekick Crow.

Listen to an exclusive track from the show here.

Ceri Dupree and David Dale
© Paul Coltas

1. Panto Season continues

Is there still time for some festive fun? Oh yes there is! Christmas may be over, but that doesn't mean we can call time on panto just yet. There're a number of shows occurring across the country, including the Birmingham Hippodrome's Cinderella starring Beverley Knight, or Dick Whittington at the London Palladium. Unsure about which panto to treat yourself to? Check out our review round-up here.