ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS at the BT Studio, Oxford

★★★★★ Sometimes you see a play and you feel bad for the cast because the audience is so small. This is one of those nights; when you wish you could grab people off the street and cram them into this little performance space because this is a story that deserves to be told. This is perfect modern theatre, unafraid to shy away from difficult conversations about dreadful things going on in the real world.

Welsh National Opera’s LA BOHÈME at Bristol Hippodrome

★★★★★ As well as sweeping us up with Puccini’s glorious melodies throughout this performance, the singers’ understated body language always gave their performances plausibility. This was a memorable night at the Hippodrome – there were cries and roars of approval, and no doubt a few tears, at the final curtain.

PYGMALION at the Everyman in Cheltenham

★★★☆☆ Director Sam Pritchard projects Shaw’s play into what he calls Pygmalion-land, a floating time zone swinging between Edwardian manners, video inserts, voice sampling and hip-hop. But traditionalists: please continue reading. The play is full of current relevance . . . So it’s two cheers for innovative effort, amidst regrets about the missing period elegance.

Bristol Wardrobe Theatre’s IMPROV MARATHON

★★★★☆ Friday night, 8pm, and the third Bristol Improv Marathon begins. A collection of over 30 performers (assisted by theatre technicians, musicians and theatre staff) create an entirely improvised, unscripted play using nothing but their skill and imagination.

OYSTER BOY at the Redgrave Theatre, Bristol

★★★☆☆ Like many a folk tale the story reeks of allegory. An immigrant Italian ice cream seller, Jim (Valeria Compagnoni) meets a beautiful American girl, Alice (Lexie McDougall) whom he rescues from drowning and the unkind attentions of a shark, off the beach of 1950’s Coney Island.

ESCAPED ALONE at Bristol Old Vic

★★★★★ The very wonderful Linda Bassett, Deborah Findlay, Kika Markham and June Watson play Mrs Jarrett, Sally, Lena and Vi. Directed by James Macdonald this quartet come to life as an ensemble, hilariously so when singing their version of The Crystals’ De Doo Ron Ron, and with depth and sensitivity when exploring the shadowy side of these characters’ lives.

FUNNY GIRL at Bristol Hippodrome

★★★★★ I realised last night that I was privileged to be at a very special theatrical event when at the end, the audience rose as one to give the cast a standing ovation. The spontaneity of this response was amazing and even produced some tears on stage. Whether this was some catharsis due to past difficulties, I don’t know, but Sheridan Smith was fantastic as Fanny Brice.