PACIFISTS AND PROTESTORS at the Redgrave Theatre, Bristol

★★★★☆ A Dangerous Woman, one of the show’s elements, is a powerful telling of the story of Alice Wheeldon, a committed socialist, suffragette and peace activist, known to be harbouring conscientious objectors on the run at her home in Derby. She was to become a target of MI5, who sent an agent posing as another ‘conchie’.

SEXY at the Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol

★★★★☆ Sexy is a multi-media show with some well-chosen film clips, screen goddesses in the main, but with some uncomfortable glances back to not so distant past attitudes. Lobbing a small hand grenade about sex or race into the arena, she smiles a knowing smile, which wickedly, morphs into a winning smile.

QUARTET at the Everyman, Cheltenham

★★★★☆ This revival of Sir Ronald Harwood’s comedy about aging and art is very welcome. There was a rather more bloated film adaptation some years ago and thankfully this staging does not export the saccharine cinematic additions to the material retroactively . . . All told, Quartet is a finely executed and well-judged performance.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

★★★★☆ Lucy O’Byrne was outstanding as Maria. Her voice and demeanour were ideal for the role, and she was extremely convincing. She was, for me, the main exception in the production to the notion of comparison with the film. Halfway through the first number I had put Julie Andrews out of my head ad started to revel in this new Maria.

THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE at Bristol Old Vic

★★★★☆ In an Adelaide suburb, a working class couple, Bob and Fran Price, has worked selflessly to give their four kids everything they didn’t have themselves. But the family idyll they like to project is about to be shaken by the life choices taken by their two sons, Mark and Ben, and daughters Pip and Rosie.

SWAN LAKE at Bath Theatre Royal

★★★★☆ The two principals, Mr.Vadim Lolenko and Ms Natalya Romanova have achieved a technical assurance with each other that produces, in their lakeside pas de deux, a filigree delicacy that perfectly matches the melancholic mood of the bewitched princess, Odette, and her cohort of swans.

BRIEF ENCOUNTER at Birmingham Rep

★★★★☆ The story comes from Noël Coward’s 1936 one-act play Still Life, and revolves around an affair between a doctor and a house wife. After meeting by chance as strangers at a train station, their relationship begins to build as their love for one another blossoms into a powerful romance.