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What to watch: best shows to see this week

Find out what we're eagerly anticipating this week

The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Calendar Girls
© RSC, Manuel Harlan and Matt Crockett

It's a busy week up and down the country as a variety of shows have their opening nights or kickstart their tours – we pick some key highlights.

Hayley Tamaddon and Lloyd Daniels

5. Closets

Hope Mill Theatre, until 23 August

A brand new musical about a time-travelling closet starring Lloyd Daniels and Hayley Tamaddon? The Hope Mill are staging Lloyd Eyre-Morgan's fantastic concept, and the show looks set to be a veritable crowd-pleaser for the Manchester theatre scene. Bouncing between the '80s and the present day, this should be a cockle-warming treat as the summer slips away.

Have a first listen to Closets

The Merry Wives of Windsor
© RSC, photographer Manuel Harlan

4. The Merry Wives of Windsor

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, until 22 September

John Falstaff, known as Hal's comedy foil in Henry IV, reappears in this comedy caper about two wealthy women. Directed by Fiona Laird with Charlotte Josephine and David Troughton in the cast, expect non-stop hijinks and bawdy humour. And for anyone not going to Stratford to see it, the piece is reappearing in London for a winter run at the Barbican later this year.

See the full production image gallery for The Merry Wives of Windsor

Brendan Coyle and David Suchet
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

3. The Price

Theatre Royal Bath, until 25 August

Jonathan Church directs Arthur Miller's family drama based around two brothers. Fifty years on from its first debut, The Price returns with David Suchet and Brendan Coyle in the lead roles, alongside Adrian Lukis and Sara Stewart. Nominated for two Tony Awards when it first opened, expect Miller at his best here.

Read the full season announcement for Theatre Royal Bath

LtoR: Anna-Jane Casey, Ruth Madoc, Tim Firth, Denise Welch, Gary Barlow, Fern Britton and Rebecca Storm
© Matt Crockett

2. Calendar Girls

Leeds Grand Theatre, then UK and Ireland tour until 20 April 2019

Calendar Girls, formerly known more simply as The Girls, returns for a UK tour after its West End run at the Phoenix Theatre in 2017. Opening at the same venue where The Girls first premiered in 2015, this new version will star Fern Britton, Denise Welch and Ruth Madoc, and is based on the film of the same name. Gary Barlow and Tim Firth (who also enjoyed major success with The Band) provide the book and music.

Find out more about the UK tour cast

Vinette Robinson, Charity Wakefield and Clare Perkins
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

1. Emilia

Shakespeare's Globe, until 1 September

Shakespeare's fabled dark lady, who features in a number of his sonnets, comes to the stage in this brand new play created by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. Featuring an all-female cast including Vinette Robinson and Charity Wakefield, expect a historical drama with a twist as Michelle Terry unveils the first piece of new writing in her inaugural season.

See the full casting for Emilia

Last chance to see: Lies (Almeida), It Happened in Key West (Charing Cross Theatre), Killer Joe (Trafalgar Studios)