Macbeth, Summer and Smoke and The Cherry Orchard make our top openings of the week
We pick our top openings from across the UK
5. The Best Man
Playhouse Theatre, until 12 May
After a UK tour last year, Simon Evans' production of Gore Vidal's '60s political drama comes to the West End, touting a cast including The Professionals' Martin Shaw, Maureen Lipman and Honeysuckle Weeks. Set during backdoor political talks between two candidates vying to be their party's presidental candidate, the piece was nominated for six Tony Awards back when it first opened. Given the current political climate on both sides of the Atlantic, the show feels as pertinent as ever.
4. Paint Your Wagon
Everyman Liverpool, until 14 June
The Liverpool Everyman had a huge critical success with their rep company last year, picking up the Peter Brook/Equity Ensemble Award for their work in fostering an environment as a company. This week the company returns with the premiere of the first show in its 2018 season – a revival of 1951 musical Paint Your Wagon, directed by the venue's artistic director Gemma Bodinetz. The show is about a gold prospector (Marc Elliott) and sees Bodinetz return to musicals after Fiddler on the Roof, which was well received last year.
3. The Cherry Orchard
Bristol Old Vic, until 7 April then Royal Exchange Manchester from 19 April
For someone who studied Russian literature as a student and trained in Moscow, it's a bit of a shock that it took Michael Boyd this long to direct a play by Anton Chekhov. But now the former RSC artistic director will present The Cherry Orchard, in a new translation by Rory Mullarkey. A collaboration between the Old Vic in Bristol and the Royal Exchange in Manchester, Kirsty Bushell and Jude Owusu lead as the owners of a household in a dire financial position.
2. Summer and Smoke
Almeida Theatre, until 7 April
The last time Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke ran in London almost 12 years ago, it starred Rosamund Pike and Chris Carmack playing the two leads. Now revived at the north London venue and marking its 70th birthday, Patsy Ferran takes on Pike's role as Alma, an unmarried minister's daughter infatuated with the boy next door. A tight and frantic love affair from one of the 20th century's greatest playwrights, the show is directed by Rebecca Frecknall, who was the runner-up in the RTST Director Award back in 2016.
National Theatre, until 23 June and then UK tour
With a set that looks more like Mad Max than a traditional Macbeth, Rufus Norris directs his first Shakespearean production as artistic director at the National Theatre. Touting Rory Kinnear as the power-hungry Scottish nobleman alongside Anne Marie-Duff as his ill-fated wife, this post-apocalyptic version of the Bard's classic looks intriguingly bloody, muddy and garish. It will also embark on a UK tour in September, so this is one hotly tipped opening for the National.