What to watch: best shows to see this week

We pick our top openings from across the UK

Clockwise from left: Wise Children, Don Carlos and Company
Clockwise from left: Wise Children, Don Carlos and Company
© Clockwise from left: Steve Tanner, The Other Richard, Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
Cor blimey, there's a lot of great new theatre opening this week! While we can only limit ourselves to five top openings we have a lot of honourable mentions we wanted to flag up: Nina Raine is returning to the National with Stories, which promises to be superb if her previous play Consent is anything to go by, Gregory Doran is helming a new version of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida in Stratford, and Theatre Royal Bath is presenting a new version of Rattigan's In Praise of Love, with Robert Lindsay and Tara Fitzgerald along for the ride. Plus, the Royal Albert Hall's version of Guys and Dolls comes to the stage.

Motown The Musical West End Cast
Motown The Musical West End cast
©Tristram Kenton

5. Motown the Musical

New Alexandra Theatre, then UK tour

We've heard it through the grapevine that this new UK tour is taking Motown to the masses and has its official opening in Birmingham this week. Featuring all manner of classic songs from Berry Gordy's back-catalogue, the show has been wowing audiences in the West End for years and will likely repeat the trick now that it's on the open road. Signed, sealed delivered and coming to a venue near you!

Don Warrington in rehearsals for Death of a Salesman
Don Warrington in rehearsals for Death of a Salesman
© Johan Persson

4. Death of a Salesman

Royal Exchange Theatre, until 17 November

Don Warrington plays the titular tragic salesman Willy Lowman in this new version of Arthur Miller's classic, alongside Maureen Beattie as his long-suffering wife. Directed by Sarah Frankcom (who just bagged a UK Theatre Award), the show is the second Miller classic Warrington has helmed at the Manchester venue after his five-star turn in All My Sons back in 2013.

3. Don Carlos

Exeter Northcott, then UK tour

Musketeers and Strike star Tom Burke plays the politically pragmatic Marquis de Pisa in this new version of Schiller's classic. In his interview with WhatsOnStage Burke describes the show as Schiller's Hamlet, an exploration of the personal and political presented with a compelling and intricate script. We're intrigued to see what the result will be.

Showgirl Dora (Melissa James) and Showgirl Nora (Omari Douglas)
Showgirl Dora (Melissa James) and Showgirl Nora (Omari Douglas)
© Steve Tanner

2. Wise Children

The Old Vic, then UK tour

Welcome back Emma Rice! The former Globe artistic director and Kneehigh connoisseur is returning to UK stages in a big way with the first show for her new company Wise Children, based on the novel Wise Children by Angela Carter. With all manner of hijinks and brilliant source-material, the piece looks set to be a suitable mission statement for the director, with the show heading out on a UK tour after its London premiere.

Rosalie Craig and the cast of Company
Rosalie Craig and the cast of Company
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

1. Company

Gielgud Theatre, booking until 22 December

Sondheim's character of Bobby has been played by some pretty epic performers – Dean Jones, Adrian Lester, John Barrowman, Raúl Esparaza or Neil Patrick Harris for example – but it will be a theatrical first when Rosalie Craig takes on the lead role in Company, this time with a whole host of gender-swapping and a fresh contemporary spin from the Olivier Award-winning director Marianne Elliot. One of the most eagerly anticipated productions of the year, the production also gives West End audiences the chance to see legend Patti LuPone in action. Waiting this long could drive a person crazy but we've just about held it together!

Last chance to see: An Adventure (Bush Theatre), I'm A Phoenix, Bitch (Battersea Arts Centre), Foxfinder (Ambassadors Theatre), Pinter One (Harold Pinter Theatre), The Lehman Trilogy (National Theatre), The Other Place (Park Theatre), Eugenius! (The Other Palace)